Photography On Location: The Pumpkin Patch in Anza-Borrego Desert


In this on-location video I venture to a unique geological formation called The Pumpkin Patch in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park of Southern California. This remote area is dotted with alien-like orbs of sandstone that form underground before being exposed through soil erosion. Once exposed, these concretions are shaped by the wind into the smooth pumpkin-sized “boulders”.

Never having visited this site before, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, so I brought plenty of camera gear just in case. I had a full Mamiya RZ67 set up with 50mm, 110mm, 180mm, and 360mm lenses on board. I ended up using my 6×6 square-format back for the Mamiya RZ67 because I’ve been addicted to shooting square compositions lately.

With me I also had my Shen Hao TFC 617-A 6×17 panoramic camera in hopes that I would find a good panoramic composition. But alas, no inspiration struck in that regard.

I ended up shooting a single roll of Ilford Delta 100 film pushed 1 stop and using a red filter. Pushing the film one stop and using the red filter both increased contrast in the resulting pictures. In hindsight, I think I may have gone overboard on the contrast, but it worked out well for a few of the shots. Pushing film like this results in much darker shadows and brighter highlights, but as you’ll see in some of the photos, the shadows went far too dark.

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is an off-roader’s dream. There are plenty of fun obstacles and moguls to drive your 4×4 over. Thanks to my 2016 Toyota 4Runner, I was able to navigate these obstacles with ease (and fun).

Be sure to check out my blog post for this video ( to see the photo featured in this video at much higher resolution and to read more about the techniques behind this shot.

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