My December 2021 Photo of the Month is JT292, taken on Christmas Eve in Joshua Tree National Park as a storm was clearing the desert.
I wrote plenty about my trip to Joshua Tree for Christmas in a previous blog post, so I won’t repeat too much. I am still reviewing images I took and deciding on photos to process. But I enjoyed this one.
In the Jumbo Rocks area, I usually park on the North side of the road and focus my monzogranite attention on the formations in that direction. But the rain shadow line was preventing any clouds getting there, but they were present to the South. So I headed in that direction for a few things and found a few areas I really liked.
People think of the “Joshua Tree Forest” like a dense mountain forest, but it doesn’t really work that way. There are dense groves found in Death Valley National Park (I need to backdate a post on them), the former grove at the Cima Dome, and another in Arizona. But in the National Park, they can be sparse in areas where granite is exposed.
I say all this because I enjoy the detail of the Joshua Tree shadow on the foreground rock, even if it is not in the image. Just a reminder of the overlooked and subtle variety found in the desert.
As I was composing this image, several vehicles stopped along Park Blvd, and a group of what must have been a dozen people were walking my way. They got not too far behind me and said, “Hey, guys look, this is really cool right here.” I am not sure if they “discovered” this spot, or simply noted it when they saw me shooting. At any rate, I hope they stopped, took a breath of the clean, cool, desert air, and pondered a moment without worrying about their Instagram.
As always, thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed 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.