Preferred rambling answer:
Not too often, but then with a few exceptions. This valley is about five miles from my house. It's right on the edge of where the southern California valleys connect with the desert and the weather comes through a pass in the mountains. If it rains down there, this valley gets the edge of the weather.
Since it's in the ecotone between the desert and mountains I don't make it out there too much. Lately I've been researching the 'Entradas of Fr. Garces', a Franciscan Missionary who made the first record crossing of the Mojave Desert in 1776. Following the Mojave River he left the desert and walked through this valley before crossing the mountains on his way to the San Gabriel Mission. The river is just beyond the tree. Considering the terrain, he probably walked through somewhere within the scene. Behind me is a thick juniper forest which would have been too hard for his historic expedition to pass through.
We get some drama up there in June- but it gets hazy. August and September too, but too hot and humid for me. February and March are good, but it gets really cold. I spent about two hours crossing through the river (maybe a foot deep) back and forth. After I was done I ran into some guy and we talked for about an hour. He ended up being a mineral freak and gave me a couple pieces of Brazilian quartz crystal he had laying in the back of his truck. It was a crack up. He had rocks from all over.
What a beautiful image (that first one)! I love the balance of the really dark skies on the far left and the lightening skies on the right, the swooping curve of the tree branches, and the muted colours of the fields.
Abraxas.. Wow I love the coloring in your photos. There is something about a cloudy day and the sun shining through that makes for beautiful, dramatically stunning colors. You captured them very very nicely. I love them! Great job!