A Starry Night in Joshua Tree

10-10-19

Visiting nearby Palm Springs, I planned a trip out to Joshua Tree National Park to explore the expansive desert. As I began to read more about the park, I discovered that many photographers venture there for stargazing and night photography. I was sold! So I quickly began planning my evening and night excursion.

I enjoyed the park in the light of day for several hours while I also scouted out a great spot for night photos. I made a stop at the the popular Skull Rock. Joshua Trees are an incredible sight to behold in the desert. The create almost an eerie view.

At night, the desert was a fairly cold 52 degrees. Packing layers and a chair to wait out the night sky, I also stopped to grab some hand and toe warmers. I was glad that I did! The park allows photographers to park at any designated pull-off and then venture approximately 20-feet or so off the road to take photos. I did just that. Finding a great spot in the middle of the park, I set up shop around dusk and waited for the stars to appear. It was a lovely clear and crisp night. Listening to the desert come alive at night as the stars slowly popped out is an experience I will remember for a lifetime.

Although my timing wasn’t ideal, nearing a full moon. I would love to visit again when my night sky isn’t so outshined by the moon. One photo below shows my moon shadow! At times, I kept checking around to see what light was shining at me, only to realize it was the moon.

Night photography is a constant experiment with settings, focus, and timing. It is incredibly addictive and fun. I can easily shoot away hours. It always feels like the next photo will be “the one”.  If it hadn’t been so cold, I probably would have stayed all night! None of the photos are perfect but they are all an incredible memory.

*Disclaimer: I minimally edit my photos. I do a quick contrast and basic color adjustment. These photos have had no extreme photoshop or other extreme edits. In the age when it’s hard to believe what we see, I just wanted to let you know that I don’t typically do crazy things to my photos. I didn’t digitally add stars or spot brighten. I’m sure you can make out real constellations in the pics!

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Windmills just outside Palm Springs along the route to Joshua Tree National Park.

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We have seen many miles of the country together!

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Skull Rock

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As the sun began to set, the temperature dropped to a crips mid 50’s.

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It was kind of fun when cars passed by my shot.

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Playing with my red flashlight.

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Playing with my red flashlight.

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My moon shadow! (Taken only with natural light.)

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