Last spring, things were starting to heat up where we were in southern Arizona, so Ray and I decided to seek refuge in some higher ground.
One of our favourite higher ground locations in the American Southwest is Joshua Tree National Park in California. It is right on the border between Arizona and California, so it wasn’t too far at all.
This would be our third trip to the park, and I knew that it would be a challenge but hopefully it would be rewarding as well.
Revising and reshooting locations is an excellent exercise for photographers because it makes us stretch our wings and find new ways to photograph the same thing. Once all the icons have been done, you need to explore further and see things with fresh eyes and new perspectives.
One of my new finds was Kissing Rock. I just made that name up. But it does look like a kissing rock, doesn’t it? There it was close the same place we always camp, but was yet unfound by me until this visit. Being the middle of the day, I was just scouting around trying to find new things to shoot because the light was harsh, but the light turned out to be perfect for this shot.
After a hike one afternoon, the wind picked up and it got pretty cold up there. But that brought in some dramatic layers of clouds that made an excellent backdrop for the Joshua Trees. I remember standing there with my hair flying everywhere, my fingers frozen, and a big smile on my face.
Here is one that is an iconic location in the park. I wouldn’t normally shoot it mid-day, but since I was trying to do new things, I decided to work with the sun and include it in the frame. I like the shadow of tree in this composition as well.
The next two are different perspectives on some other types of trees found in the park, also shot mid-day.
Some of the best sunsets I’ve ever seen have been in this park. Normally I find a spot where the rocks make interesting shapes and I expose for the sky allowing the rocks to become a silhouette. But this time, I tried to get an exposure that would retain some detail in the rocks while still showing off the beautiful desert sunset colours.
Then this bizarre thing happened! I don’t know what kind of weather phenomenon this is, but it was pretty cool to see.
Still, I couldn’t help myself from doing the silhouette shot 🙂
So this indeed turned out to be a rewarding experience in one of my favourite national parks. I can’t get enough of Joshua Tree.
If you haven’t tried this before, I highly recommend this exercise in reshooting locations are you familiar with. For more ideas, see my post Photography Locations: Revisit and Reshoot.