A little over a week ago, I visited Joshua Tree National Park for what will be my last time this winter. OK, I know it’s Spring, but we use the term loosely to describe our time in Southern California. On this trip, I was leading a group from my camera club to a few of my favorite spots in the park. We were in search of wildflowers as well as any other scenery that caught our eye. As the sun was already up when we started, we didn’t capture any dramatic sunrises. However, there was still lots to shoot (as there always is).
While we did find wildflowers, it certainly fell short of a “super-bloom”. With all the rain we had this winter, expectations were high for the wildflower bloom this year. While there are areas carpeted in flowers, Joshua Tree was not one of them. However, the display was still quite nice.
In photographing the flowers, I looked for contrasting textures and/or colors. Click any of the images to see a larger view.
The following two images show two different treatments of the same flower. The first is a sharper image that even includes a couple of bugs who stopped by. The second is a much softer treatment.
A couple of patches of lichen made some nice subjects. The image on the right looks like a boot.
With it being the middle of the day, I knew that some of my images would be in Black & White. It’s a great medium to emphasize texture and contrast, as in the following.
Ocotillos are a very interesting desert plant. Easily recognized by their tall, spindly appearance, they are amazingly adapted to life in the desert. Most of the year they appear to be dead. The truth is, rather than relying on photosynthesis through leaves, they photosynthesize through their stems. While not as efficient as through leaves, it allows the plant to get by with very little water. Following rain, when water is more plentiful, they produce small leaves along the stems. This can happen several times a year. From March through June, the plant produces red flowers at the ends of its stems. In the following photo of an Ocotillo flower, you can see the tiny leaves.
The two images below show a live Ocotillo and a dead one that looks like some kind of Ocotillo scorpion.
At mid-day, the moon was high in the sky. It made a nice composition with this pile of rock.
We finished off our visit to the park by photographing the snow-capped peak of Mount San Gorgonio, the tallest peak in Southern California.