Because of all the recent winter rains, the ocotillo have filled out with leaves. From a distance they look like bushy green spikes in the desert landscape, very easy to spot from a long distance, at the moment. Ocotillo leaf out whenever there is significant rain, then shed their leaves when it dries out again, up to 5 or 6 times a year. A bit later this spring, most of their tall spikes will be capped with vivd red spear-shaped flowers. They flower only once a year or so, but with all the rains this winter season, spring might come a bit earlier this year.

The ocotillo patch in Joshua Tree National Park is a favorite spot of mine. I haev stopped here to make photos many times. I have also painted here, and listen to the silence. I love the graphic intensity of ocotillo, trees up to 20 feet tall that natively look like they were painted with a calligraphy brush. They hardly seem real sometimes, and when leafed out, as now, they stand like banners in a landscape into which they normally blend, when everything is dry and tan. 

Truly, everything in the southeastern corner of JTNP, which is Colorado desert ecology, has turned briefly green. In the grey cloudy day and rains yesterday, the green was even mroe vivid. I was glad to be in the Park all morning, making photos, and also jsut sitting and thinking and looking out over the vista.

I love how the lines of mountains fade away into the further distance, each line going softer focus and paler as they recede from view. I made some photos of the mountainscapes with the specific intention of later using them as photo reference for painting. 

Photos made on iPhone using 645 PRO camera app in panoramic 6x17 mode. Images collaged in Diptic on iPhone.