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Warm Winter Vibes - Palm Springs, CA

Updated: Apr 13, 2023

A few weeks ago I spent a couple incredible days shooting in Palm Springs with lovely Sofia Forrest-Turner.

We started by exploring a neighborhood that is known for “sidewalk” photography. The homes in this area are true to the Palm Springs vibe, with colorful and vibrant entry doors, 60’s style architecture, and lively desert landscaping.

From there we moved over to Moortens Botanical Gardens, serving as a cactarium, nursery and garden. Moortens is family owned by second generation Clark Moorten. Mr. Moorten grew up helping his mother and father tend to the gardens.

There are a lot of different types of biomes, such as the Baja California Peninsula, the South African-Succulent Karoo, the Mojave Desert and Mexico-Gran Desierto de Altar. The gardens also showcase agave, bombax, and South African aloe plants. There are a myriad of rocks, crystals, fossils, and gold-mining relics to add to the beautiful displays.

Another feature is the small and quaint family home called Cactus Castle. It has a beautiful Tuscany look and feel and makes for a unique backdrop for portrait photography.

The greenhouse, also known as a cactarium, was both mine and Sofia’s favorite spots to shoot while there.

Next stop on our location itinerary were two “drop-in” locations. The first was Saguaro Hotel and another sidewalk stop down in Coachella Valley. What’s a trip to Palm Springs without a few photos of the Saguaro and Coachella.

From Coachella we headed down to Bombay Breach and the Salton Sea. The Salton Sea is as you might imagine a salt-lake. It sits 230 feet below sea level, which is rather significant, and you don’t really want to go for a dip. But, what it lacks in swimming charm, it more than makes up for in photo opportunities.

The small village adjacent to the lake called Bombay Beach is unique in its own right. Both the village and the beach on the lake is an art installation of sorts. …an informal, outdoor art museum if you will. There are all types, and style of eclectic features.

One of the art installations, that was in the village, was an abandoned home with hundreds of old TV’s of different styles, sizes, shapes and eras, all spray painted with different designs.

Then there was the famous swing that sits out about 50 feet from shore. This is an iconic image that floats around on the internet. At certain times during the year, particularly during heavy droughts, you can walk to the swing, but when the lake levels are up, you don’t want to walk out to it due to the quality of the water, which is no bueno!

Another piece of art we spent a little time shooting around was called Bombay Beach Forest, which amounted to a lot of flotsam and large pieces of driftwood partially buried in the sand. While we didn’t have to worry about getting lost in the forest, we did take a stroll.

The last display was perhaps one of the most unique, intricate, and if nothing else, thought provoking. If you were to take a bar top, the front end of a vintage car, a few road signs, hub caps, a roll of barbed wire, and then maybe throw in the head of a unicorn costume, you would just be getting started! What was really special about this particular display though was it had its own lights, which made shooting portraits of Sofia extra special.

These destinations I offer are a great opportunity to get away and create portraits in places and settings that are one of a kind. Be sure and check out my Oregon location coming up in July!

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