Posts Tagged ‘joshua tree’

Joshua Tree Photo Workshop

August 13, 2012

Joshua Tree Photo Workshop

Had a chance to look for Joshua Tree’s largest arch in the park, this is not it. I didn’t find yet so I’ll get back there once it’s cooled off a little more.

This is a shot from Saturday’s Meteor Photo Workshop. I didn’t advertise this workshop but just posted a single random post on facebook and picked up 6 students. With the small group it was so much easier to compose around each other. Hit the “Easy Button” !!! Sorry if you missed it, I’ll do another mini workshop somewhere in California and priced affordable for those who’d like an introduction to a unique way of learning creative photography.

Find more info please visit

Finding New Arches in Likely Places

October 20, 2011

Unpopular arch in the Alabama Hills.

Occasionally from time to time I spend a few hours looking for new arches in different places likely to have them. Here in the Alabama Hills I found 2 of them and not sure if anyone has seen them yet or at least the average photographer. The first photo in this series is one of them. The other one is pretty hard to get to and you have to climb a little but it might have some good potential if the roads don’t ruin the view. I’ll have to see next time I’m out there. On a separate trip while zooming into a snapshot of one arch I took from the road I found another on top of the boulder piles, even with it’s location in sight, it is still hard to find because you loose your depth perception as the walls get bigger and your surroundings enclose on you. It’s no doubt it takes time to find these unknown arches.

I’m really curious if anyone ever really spends the time trying to find them or is it just common practice to wait for someone else to direct them to these arches. I’ve driven the roads and spotted some of them from the roadside but now there was about 4 well known arches Mobius, Lathe, Heart and Whitney Portal arch. In recent years Cyclops and Lady Boot arch have become very well known. Cyclops is shown below with the rainbow. Does anyone feel that any of new found arches should be kept hidden or revealed?

I asked David Muench where his famous Kissing Meercats arch in the Alabama Hills was and he politely said it is so fragile that he cares enough not to reveal where it is, before asking him, I kind of thought he better not tell me. I didn’t beg and say, “C’mon, I won’t tell anybody!” I really respect that he didn’t tell me because it just encouraged me even more to do my own explorations. When a place is mysterious and full of unkowns the build up to exploring it is a giant lure for me as a creative photographer. Does anyone have any feelings on what they think the future of the Alabama Hills and it’s many unknown arches? David, wants it to become a protected monument, it’s one of his favorite places. It’s likely in the future there may be a handout with about 25 arches sometime in the near future. Some are fragile and some are not, do you feel this would hurt the environment or not?

Cyclops Arch - Alabama Hills, recently in the last couple of years it's becoming a very popular arch.

The Lobster Claw Arch in Joshua Tree National Park.  It's a boulder hop to get to this one.
Here is an arch off the beaten path at Joshua Tree National Park. I don’t think it’s location will be popularized because of the difficulties getting to it, from certain directions at least.

Website: Portfolio
Workshop info: Scenic Photo Workshops
Private or small group workshop info: Learn.
Steve’s Photo Tips and How To Page
Steve’s Landscape Photographer Tools Page

Light Painting Thoughts

October 6, 2011

One of Ansel Adams iconic images was taken here, intead of trying to duplicate his I did something completely different with the place. Eastern Sierra 2007
One of Ansel Adams iconic images was taken here, intead of trying to duplicate his photograph, I did something completely different with the place. Here are my field notes, this was taken at very end of twilight. The trees were lit with a head lamp during a 30 sec exposure. I left my intervolometer/cable relase at home so 30 secs for every shot with the self timer was getting to me. It’s the moon around 9pm taken over an hour past sunset. The moon isn’t close to setting yet but the peaks around 11,900 ft elevation and the lake is at around 10,900ft so it actually not setting until about midnight. The intervolometer is a just a cable release w/ some timer funtions on it. The device is made by Canon and is no better then a cheap calculator watch. It’s a good tool to have in case your sleepy and forget that you left your DSLR on bulb all night long. After backpacking the 8.5 miles to get here and missing sunset I felt the need create something. I gave it a touch of the orton effect (learned from Marc Muench) to give it just a touch of dreaminess.
Eastern Sierra Nevada Range, CA
Canon 5D 17-40mm at 17mm Iso 200
August 2007

After reading Richard Wong’s In the Field blog last week I thought I would share my thoughts and a few experiences on light painting.

Light painting brings out some of the best traits a photography can carry, creativity, visualization and enjoyment. The easier the idea the easier the execution can be. I’ve been told by other biasd photographers that there are only certain ways of light painting, I find that idea too limiting and it only steals all the fun out of it! I’ve even seen some of these light painting biasd photographer change their mind and now teach it as well. Some of these shared limiting beliefs are only use LED lights, the stars must be a certain way, and you must only use a single exposure. In light painting you become the only source of light besides the stars and moon if it’s out there. When you get an idea and begin to wonder how much “fun” it could be putting the idea together, there shouldn’t be anything that limits you.

Lone Juniper Tree & Balanced Rock in Joshua Tree National Park
Lone Juniper Tree & Balanced Rock in Joshua Tree National Park. With help from a friend I was able to capture this scene in one exposure, otherwise I would of had to of used an intervolumeter(programable cable release).

Shared image location on a google map.

Website: Portfolio
Workshop info: Scenic Photo Workshops
Private or small group workshop info: Learn.
Steve’s Photo Tips and How To Page
Steve’s Landscape Photographer Tools Page

Lobster Claw Arch – Joshua Tree National Park

November 17, 2010

Lobster Claw Arch - Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree is famous for it’s otherworldly trees scattered amongst some very unique boulder formations. These piles and piles of rocks are almost endless it’s not a wonder why people often get lost in the maze of monzogranite. Curiosity makes you wonder what you can find in the sea of rocks. This arch probably doesn’t have an official name but some climber friends call it Lobster Claw Arch and the name is well suited to it’s shape. I spent a little bit of time scrambling through the boulders to find it so it was well worth enjoying in the warm light. Sometimes it’s the little things you can find off the beaten path that keep you searching for more to photograph. We all love the icons but it’s the lure of new things that pushes me to keep searching for something I haven’t seen yet.

Joshua Tree’s Cacti Bloom

April 9, 2010

For a short period of time the harsh extremes of the desert do not and exist and life florishes. If you drive into Joshua Tree’s south entrance you can’t miss the painterly scene along interstate 10. A painter must have painted the desert yellow, the brittle brush line both sides of the highways at points. At a 65 mile per hour glance I could make out beavertails blooming along with ocotillos and some arizona lupine here and there.
You can see all the brittle brush here in the background behind me here . I just met Jon Cornforth the current Outdoor Photography Magazine cover shot photographer earlier this week. Pretty hospitable guy, he was nice enough to share his I-phone shot. Hopefully I can meet up with him again after I get back from Northwestern Nevada. The photo shown was taken just outside the park’s south entrance.

Here are a few of the blooming cacti and yucca from the past couple of visits to Joshua Tree. They are all blooming now so it would a great time to stop by, especially if you’re conveniently located on the east side of Los Angeles. If you happen to smell a skunk while you’re out there it might just possibly be the breeze and the smell of an abundance of wildflowers.

Blooming hedge hog cacti
I found these in both the Mojave and Sonoran sections of the park.

Mojave Mound Cacti
I found these mojave mounds at the foot of boulder piles in the main northern section of the park.

The beginning stage of a joshua tree blooming
The joshua trees are in full bloom right now. This one is just at it’s beginning stage but you’ll find many in full bloom.

Beavertail Cacti
The beavertail cacti can grow to the size of a large ice chest with mutliple flowers on them.

Mojave Yucca
The mojave yucca, whew! In my own opinion these can be some of the most beautiful yucca blooms around.

This should give a photographer plenty to capture in Joshua Tree besides just boulders and joshua trees. If you still need more just remember the park is made of mountains, washes, tanks and palm oasis. Get creative and come up with something you didn’t think you would leave with.


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