Joshua Tree National Park is ablaze with wildflowers this spring. After an estimated 8-10 inches of rain during the previous months, the wildflower display is simply amazing. These images were just a few of many captured in just 2 days of shooting. The key, as I was told it to get here 2 weeks after the last rain. I don’t know if this is truly fact or not but it sure worked out this year.
Joshua tree NP is about 200 miles east of Los Angeles on the “10” (as they say here in So-Cal) Freeway. After driving past Palm Springs the southern entrance, in the Cottonwood area was one of the best areas in the park to photograph the spring bloom in. Carpets of Lupine, Desert Dandelion, California Sage, Mexican Poppies, and many more varieties are abundant. Getting there right before sunrise and then capturing the wildflowers against the adjacent mountains right after the sun pops in the east makes for interesting compositions. Sunset is even better!
As you drive north in the park other wildflowers appear. Certain species , it seems are dependent on elevations. For example the verbena becomes plentiful at a higher elevation than Cottonwood. The sweet smells of the verbena was amazing.
Moving farther north in the park the ocotillo is just starting to bloom. There was a few with the classic red flowering tips, but not many. We were a bit early for them
Yes the flowers steal the show this time of year, but shooting the strange rock formations here at Joshua tree is a trip in itself. It seemed like there is one after another. Look at how this round boulder is wedged into the others.
We stopped and shot in the Choilla Garden and as usual got bitten but one of these nasty cactus. Luckily my tweezers were handy.
Even further north the classic Joshua trees cam into view. We shot a nice sunset though quite a hike from our vehicle, was rewarding. This sunset wasn’t spectacular for this area, but was pleasing none the less.
We took a trip north of Twentynine Palms about forty miles to Amboy Crater for sunrise. This small volcano last erupted about 10,000 years ago and spewed lots of dark lava all over the ground that made for great backgrounds to photograph the verbenas and desert marigold. There are fields of these almost as far as the eye can see. Again, this is a good sunrise location.
I was nice to run into some fellow photographers and chat for a while. It seems that when ever I shoot in California these days I run into Michael Gordon. We ran into each other last year over at Mono Lake as well. His work (large format) is really amazing (www.michael-gordon.com ).
This bloom lasts only a few weeks and you have to time it perfectly……………………. We hit it just right!