My December 2017 Photo of the Month is Christmas Morning 2017, a photograph I made in Joshua Tree National Park.
Christmas Morning 2017 Background
This was my 12th consecutive Christmas morning in Joshua Tree. Last year, I got a white Christmas when it snowed overnight. I also had rain and wind to deal with throughout the weekend. This year, it was incredibly mild.
Most photographers focus on the fabled 15 minutes before and after a sunrise or sunset. I have learned to always be early and stay late, in case the light does something unexpected. The amazing light in this case was wholly expected. At least a hour before the proper sunrise, I could see faint red light appearing on the Eastern clouds. This was the hint that some magic was going to happen.
My earlier sunrise images are great, and I picked a good, quiet, spot to enjoy the moment. However, as the sunrise was very close to crossing the horizon, I started to see the rays in the photo above.
Joshua Tree is certainly my muse, and I feel that I know more and more subtle details every visit. I have been coming here since I was a kid in the 1980s, and I never find myself in the park feeling satisfied. There is always more to see, like my hike to locate the Queen Valley Pictograph Boulder, for instance.
I am looking forward to a great set of monthly posts in 2018. See my friend Alexander S. Kunz’s Photo of the Month posts here.
As always, thank you very much for reading, and I hope you enjoy the image.
T.M. Schultze is a San Diego-based photographer, traveller, and writer. He writes, photographs, and draws things of the outdoors that have inspired humans for thousands of years. He co-authored the Photographer’s Guide to Joshua Tree Park which can be purchased here.