My February 2018 Photo of the Month is Mastodon Ridge, a black and white image made in the Southern section of Joshua Tree National Park.
Mastodon Ridge Background
This month, I went with a less dramatic photograph. This was made in the late afternoon while hiking around boulders in the Cottonwood Springs area of Joshua Tree National Park.
The Southern section of the park is less popular, yet it is a boulder wonderland as well! There are a couple well-known destinations in this area. Lost Palms Oasis is a 4 mile walk from the Cottonwood Springs parking lot. The other area is Mastodon Peak, where the Mastodon Mine pulled copper out of the soil. Even today, you can still see a green hue in the rocks under your feet from the copper oxide.
Mastodon Peak is also a beautiful location because you have a neat 360 degree view of the area. It is easy to get a great view of the Salton Sea as well as the lower end of the Coachella Valley. Always a great hike.
I wanted to try a different angle though, and even from my campsite, you could see the ridge that Mastodon Peak rises from. The angle is from Southeast to Northwest, in a similar manner as the San Andreas Fault. I doubt that is a coincidence.
I thought the cloud cover would be too subtle. In fact, in some of my exposures, I pulled out my old red filter with the intention of bringing them out. While processing, I found my standard black and white processing worked just fine. These clouds are a great example of what the Dehaze tool can do for you in Lightroom (when used gently!).
More Black And Whites To Come?
I have spent a lot of time chasing sunsets, yet I find I am drawn to these afternoon black and white images. I may make it a goal to do more of this in 2018 than in year’s past.
As always, thank you 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.