In January, I was lucky enough to take a trip out to Joshua Tree and Death Valley. The major accomplishment of the trip was managing to get up before sunrise to get some photographs. It’s not easy leaving a warm sleeping bag, but once I did it the first time, I was hooked. Not only is it ridiculously beautiful in the morning but there’s something really magical about being one of the few people awake and seeing this magnificent thing take place in complete silence. And the competitive part of me saw it as a challenge: trying to get the best shot before the light was gone. I screwed most of the pictures up. I forgot to take off my polarizer, which made the colors funky. I was too obsessed with getting HDR’s, and none of them came out. But still what a learning experience.
Joshua Tree (or J-Tree as the cool kids call it) is a weird place, both because of the funky plant life, but also the bizarre rock formations, like those in our campsite.
Here’s what the landscape looks like during the day:
At sunset, it becomes downright spooky.
especially near the aptly named Skull Rock at sunset/moonrise
Sunrise is equally uncanny. Everything looks like a staged set.
And if the Joshua Trees are the weirdest plant life around,
the Mojave Yucca comes in at a close second: