This past week was the Birthday of one of my closest friends, Andy. Usually would have been spent on the green, trying our best to not be the worst golfers on the course. I wanted to switch things up, being that andy got some new photography equipment, I knew he would enjoy testing it out in a new environment. So I called him a few days before the weekend and asked if he wanted to take a day trip to Joshua Tree.
Joshua Tree is one of Americas newest national parks. The park is located in southern California about 150 miles east of Los Angeles and north of Palm Springs, preserves sections of two of North America's great deserts and several mountain ranges in its 793,000 acres. Despite its desert location, the park features a wide variety of plants and animals, not the least of which is the famous plant for which the park is named, the Joshua tree. Not actually a tree, the Joshua tree is a giant yucca plant--Yucca Brevifolia--the short leaved yucca. The plant was supposedly named by the Mormons who thought it resembled the biblical Joshua welcoming them with upturned arms. These plants, along with the rocky hills, create an other-worldly appearance unlike anything else that can be found in the national park system.
After arriving at sunset, we went for a hike and just admired the parks beauty at a site called "Hall of Horrors" which my brother had recommended. The colors and stars that appeared in the sky was breathtaking. Joshua Tree is well known for its dark skies, which are largely free from southern California's extreme light pollution. Our minds were blown. Once the moon started to rise we got our photo gear out and put Andys lights to the test with some killer portraits. We also did some light painting and one of my favs, long exposures. It was a rough drive home at 2am from Joshua Tree, but completely worth it.