No question, Anza-Borrego is glorious in wildflower season, but true desert rats such as Ernie Cowan see the glory of the 600,000-plus-acre state park in all its seasonal moods. Cowan's new book, "Anza-Borrego: A Photographic Journey," celebrates the Southern California desert park in images -- through close-ups of mating beetles, the patterned geologic oddities in Tule Wash and of course blossoms, brittlebush and ocotillo, among others.

The photos are evidence of a labor of love by Cowan, a photojournalist, former mayor of Escondido and a founder of the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Assn. At the end of its 96 pages, I found myself wishing for trail maps to go see for myself. The book, a collaboration of the Anza-Borrego Foundation and Institute, California State Parks and Sunbelt Publications of El Cajon, costs $19.95 and is available from www.sunbeltbooks.com and Amazon.com.