Every time I visit Joshua Tree National Park, I come away with a rejuvenated appreciation for the grandeur of the California desert.
I’ve probably been to Joshua Tree about five times over the past three years. Each trip is better than the last, and I already can’t wait to return again.
On Saturday, I went with the intent of capturing magic hour and sunset, and came away plenty of high quality shots. Sunset happens quickly in February, and as I moved through the park looking for the perfect trees to frame in the rapidly fading light, the colors changed gracefully, but quickly. A purple-blue gradient quickly dissolved to orange, before giving way to light blue, and finally, the night sky was upon me.
Joshua Trees cut a unique frame across the sky, and the slightest movement of your camera will paint a totally new picture thanks to their meandering branches, limbs that seemingly dance without moving.
To properly capture these shots, you’ll need your tripod handy for long exposures. And to recreate the light your eyes absorbed in real life, you’ll need to adjust your white balance in post production. But of all the National Parks, Joshua Tree may be among the best for shooting at night. Silhouettes of the trees tell a distinct story in the dark.
As I was leaving the park, I made a quick pitstop to capture some tail light trails along the road in the park. These shots came out better than I first imagined that they might.