San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature ConnectionSDNHM Exhibits
Desert & Sea: Visions of Baja California -- El Desierto y el Mar -- Imagenes de Baja California
en Español

Curator's Statement

and selected images:

Pablo Cervantes
Fulvio Eccardi
Bill Evarts
Enrique Hambleton
Patricio Robles Gil
John S. Shelton

Curator's Statement

This is an exhibit about diversity, about the richness of life, nature, and cultures of greater Baja California, a region encompassing Earth's second longest peninsula and the adjoining land that forms its connection with North America. Multiple views of this landscape show how variation, change, and differences enrich our lives.

The geologic history of Baja California has created a uniquely varied environment, with dramatically different habitats. The sea engulfs a fascinating peninsula, a sliver of Earth's crust that drifts like a stone raft on the underlying magma. The land embraces one of the richest gulfs in the world, a wedge of sea formed by spreading of the ocean floor. Both the gulf and peninsula harbor wondrous remnants of past climates, a result of geographic isolation.

Applying a different tempo to the slow movement of geologic time, winds and oceanic currents define environmental conditions. Cool ocean upwellings bring fertility to the sea and aridity to the land. Winter rains fall in the north, summer rains in the south, and a random rhythm of rainfall pulsates along the peninsula, creating cycles of feast and famine. Thousands of years of isolation, and the pressures to adapt to these harsh and unpredictable environments, have led to an astounding variety of plants and animals.

Humans have also partaken in the adventure from very early times, painting monumental rock art, building missions, fishing, hunting—sometimes fighting to overcome this harsh and difficult environment—other times adapting to it. The many ambitions of Homo sapiens have left their mark in this hard, untamed territory.

The six photographers contributing to this exhibit have been captivated by the drama of the region. Like the region, their approaches are diverse. The uniqueness of the greater Baja California region lies in its incredible diversity, in its outstanding richness, and in the myriad creative ways we can look at it.

Exequiel Ezcurra, Ph.D.
Director, Biodiversity Research Center of the Californias
San Diego Natural History Museum

Desert & Sea