Joshua Tree 2

January 13, 2009 ·

Michael Reichmann

A Graphical Look

In January, 2000 I returned to shoot at Joshua Tree for the fifth time. Every visit has produced somewhat different images. This time I found that I was seeing the trees and rocks with a very graphical eye‚ creating photographs with bold negative spaces. This wasn’t premeditated‚ it just evolved from what I was seeing and feeling that day.

Burnt Cactus, January 2000

Sometime during 1999 there was a brush fire which burned a large number of Joshua Tree cactuses. What a tragedy considering how many years it takes them to grow. They did create a very stark appearance as the rising sun cast its long shadows and warm light.

Photographed with a Canon EOS3, 17~35mm f/2.8L zoom lens at about 20mm on Provia 100F.

Rocks & Shadows, January 2000

Joshua Tree National Park is a place of stark contrasts. Early morning’s sometimes harsh light helps to create abstract compositions of rock and shadow.

Photographed with a Canon EOS3, 70~200mm f/2.8L lens @ 200mm on Provia 100F.

 Boulders & Palm Shadows #2, January 2000

The standard advise to shoot landscapes early or late in the day isn’t for nothing. Without the strong directional morning light combined with the clear desert air this would have been a mundane scene at best.

Photographed with a Canon EOS3, 70~200mm f/2.8L zoom lens @ 200mm on Provia 100F.

Day 2‚ The Cholla Garden

Cholla Cactus at Dawn, January 2000

The second morning in the park found me at theCholla Gardenarea at dawn. This view is unlike most of the other photographs that I’ve taken there and gives a feeling of more extensive vegetation than actually exists.

Photographed with a Canon EOS3, 17~35mm f/2.8L zoom lens @ 35mm on Provia 100F.

Tall Cholla, January 2000

I usually don’t care for the perspective distortion caused by the use of an ultra-wide angle lens when used close-up. But in this case the combined cliché of the distortion plus the backlighting combine to create quite a strong image.

Photographed with a Canon EOS3, 17~35mm f/2.8L zoom lens @ 17mm on Provia 100F.

Black Branch Sunrise, January 2000

This spot near Desert Hot Springs is just a short drive away from the Park. A fire a few years before has left these burnt branches which stand in stark contrast to the warmly lit San Bernardino Mountains in the background.

Photographed with a Canon EOS3, 17~35mm f/2.8L zoom lens @ 20mm on Provia 100F.

Clickherefor a more comprehensive view of Joshua Tree National Park as well as some travel hints.

Michael Reichmann

Michael Reichmann is the founder of the Luminous Landscape. Michael passed away in May 2016. Since its inception in 1999 LuLa has become the world's largest site devoted to the art, craft, and technology of photography. Each month more than one million people from every country on the globe visit LuLa.

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