My February 2020 Photo of the Month is JT150, taken as a storm was clearing over Pinto Mountain in Joshua Tree National Park.
I don’t get out as much as I would like to. But when I do, I hope to make it count.
The Southern portion of Joshua Tree National Park is overlooked. Besides the Cholla Cactus Garden, most people drive on by. The famous Joshua Trees aren’t resident here. In fact, the original name proposed by Minerva Hoyt was Desert Plants National Monument.
Sometimes, the washes of the Pinto Basin have spectacular wildflowers. That isn’t happening in 2020.
Yet, there is a beauty that can’t be overlooked. Pinto Mountain is a sentinel overlooking the entire basin, and like many of my favorite peaks that are positioned to the North, it can often get great light.
With a storm rolling through Southern California this weekend, and my Scout Troop camped at Cottonwood Springs, I had an idea opportunity would strike. The morning was cloudy, but it quickly cleared. Much of the day was sunny. I was disappointed. Then, a new band of clouds rolled in, but this time it was too overcast. By 3 PM though, I found what I was hoping for. The clouds were breaking, but virga was still in the air. Light was getting through, and dancing on the shadows of Pinto Mountain. I made many images I liked, but JT150 was my favorite.
The stresses of life melt away in moments like these. I got to spend a couple hours stalking this peak from a couple sides, at one point a couple miles distant from any human. I would return to the normal machinations of life, and the stresses of life would patiently await me, but for a moment this light was all that I needed.
As always, thank you for viewing, 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.