A Starry Night in Joshua Tree


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!


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



We have seen many miles of the country together!



Skull Rock


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



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


Playing with my red flashlight.


Playing with my red flashlight.



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


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