Strange Trees, Stranger Rock Formations and That Beautiful Desert Moon
A few years ago a visit to Joshua Tree National Park was a photographic bust for me. Part of it was timing. We were only there for 2 days, the weather was really hot, blah blah blah. In retrospect, mediocre vision on my part was the real reason my work wasn’t what it should be. As a result I avoided Joshua Tree in favor of the sexier Death Valley landscape for my desert travels and photography.
While Death Valley National Park is a tough desert to beat with its diverse scenery, Joshua Tree National Park has a charm all of its own. The name makes you think that those strange little Joshua Trees, which look like a cactus but act like a tree, are the main feature of the park. The name comes for the early Mormon settlers who thought that the tree looked like Joshua raising his arms to the heavens. Those Mormons may have been a bit dehydrated by the desert environment when they came up with that one. This park has a lot more than Joshua Trees. There are even stranger rock formations that look like they were made by a bizarre abstract sculptor.
Joshua Tree National Park contains two deserts, the Sonoran and Mojave which are very different from each other. We only spent our time in the Mojave which arguably is the more scenic. The Sonoran is quite severe by comparison and we will probably spend time in that part on our next trip out there.
Oh that Light!
Some well-placed clouds made for beautiful mornings and evenings. Add to that the thrill of being out in the desert at these peaceful times of day and the experience becomes much more than an opportunity to make photographs.
Mountain Light by Richard Lewis 2015
Oh those Rocks!
Sometimes the strange rock formations in Joshua Tree National Park look like abstract clay sculptures. Sometimes they look like some giant dumped a rock collection randomly on the landscape. Either way, hiking through them is like being on another planet. You expect to see aliens or even Luke Skywalker around every bend.
Oh That Moon!
We were in Joshua Tree National Park when the full moon was illuminating the sky. What a way to make a great place even greater! The first photograph in this group was a real treat. Being able to watch a moon rise or set is really magical. We see many beautiful sunrises and sunsets in our lives, but the moon rising and setting is much more elusive.
On this trip, my eyes finally opened to the magic of Joshua Tree National Park. The great morning and evening light really helped, along with a full moon hanging around. Also contributing was an open mind and a desire to embrace this unusual little piece of the world.