I’ve made a big discovery! In searching through one of George’s many boxes of transparencies and negatives I found two steno pad notebooks. I can finally match the “codes” on the slides with the “codes” in his notebooks! This is going to allow me to determine where and when he shot his images! I knew George had a system as he was pretty meticulous with his work, I just hadn’t been able to figure it our until now. Maybe you can see in the photo that 2-42 indicates “Mojave Thistle Sage” Salvia carduacea, Ridgecrest ’81 – February’s flower! Also note the steno pad cost 81 cents and on the back illustrates shorthand forms.
While Salvia carduacea is refered to as Thistle Sage, it is actually not related to the Thistle family (Asteraceae), but the mint family (Lamiaceae). It can be found in dry areas of Southern California, preferring dry sandy, gravelly ground. It blooms March – June. The Lady Bird Wildflower website shows several nice examples of the entire plant.
George would have frequently passed by Ridgecrest in his meanderings along Hwy 395 to the Owens Valley. Starting out from Santa Barbara in early morning he might have eaten breakfast in Mojave and continued north on Hwy 14 til it meets 395. Springtime would have brought a carpet of desert wildflowers to photograph.
Just south of Ridgecrest on Hwy 14 is Red Rock Canyon State Park – take a look! I think you’ll recognize the incredible rainbow of rock from old Hollywood Westerns! I remember camping there a number of times on our way up to Lone Pine or Bishop. We would usually arrive after dark and quickly prepare for bed. Upon waking we would be treated to the Red Rocks looming over us, blazing with colors. Their formation reminded me of a cathedral, and that is what if felt like, to be in Nature’s Cathedral.