Tule elk graze Carrizo Plain.
Two photographers perched before one end of Selby Rocks outcrop shooting the moon rising over the broken spine of white sandstone.
We drove past, along the meandering dirt road, through the undulating beige grassland, down into the flat of the vast Carrizo Plain.
We drove Soda Lake Road, toward home by way of Ventucopa, and before us spread an exceptional view matchless in my 20 years of brief and intermittent experiences on the plain.
A full moon shown large and luminous over a pink-tinged Temblor Range lit in warm sunset hues, the low sky beyond shadowed by the mountains was layered in the cool blues and violets of twilight, all brilliant to the human eye and mesmerizing to the mind, but mostly imperceptible to the cell phone camera and unreflected in the drab and puny image it captured in that moment.
And grazing the plain before the moon and mountains stood some 80 elk.
A moment later a San Joaquin kit fox bounded across the road and out into the plain.
I thought of the two photographers.
Their composition looked rather appealing and admirable as we had driven by, with the large white rocks in the grass and the full moon rising beyond.
If only they had known of the show playing just down the road.