In my post last week, I mentioned that I went to Joshua Tree National Park this year with the goal of shooting the Milky Way, and also the rocks that the park is famous for.  In years past I’ve focused on the Joshua Trees themselves, and while I like the trees, I felt like there was much more to the park to be seen.  This quest took me to some out-of-the-way places (as did my search for darker skies) in the park, and what I discovered was the overwhelming majority of visitors to the park stay in the main areas of the park; basically the center and west.  The eastern part of the park gets very little visitation… and has NO services… which makes it fun (I thought anyway).  Anyway, the park just begs to be shot in black and white, in my opinion, and so I thought I’d share a number of pictures I got, instead of just one.  My favorite, of course, is the one above. 🙂

Funny story: the arch below is way out in the middle of nowhere.  A photographer I was chatting with one night while we were both waiting for the clouds to clear showed me a picture of it and was kind enough to share the GPS coordinates to it.  While I was out on the eastern end of the park I decided to look for it… and then I had a good laugh when I actually found it.  Before I got to it though… there was a fair amount of wondering around in the desert in 115 degree heat!  Here was the problem – the only arches I’ve ever seen are at Arches National Park.  They’re huge… and high up.  This little guy was small… and low. LOL  I walked all around it for about an hour, and finally when I was ready to give up, the light happened to be hitting it just right and it caught my eye among the piles of huge boulders.  Cameras have a funny way of lying to the viewer about how big something actually is.  For reference, I could stand beside this one with my arm on top of it!  To get that shot, I had to literally put my camera in the sand and point it up toward the sky.  Lesson learned… always ask how big the object is before you hunting for it in the desert! 🙂

More stars next week, then fall colors in the Smokies!

–Dan Thompson

Joshua Tree

Joshua Tree
Joshua Tree National Park, California, USA
Direction

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