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Nighttime shooting in Joshua Tree National Park - Night 1

This photo series are from a trip out to Joshua National Park with my friend Glen Allison who is excited about learning real landscape astrophotography and Im more interested in getting out in the desert and seeing what happens when you pull your camera out after dark instead of putting it away. 

While he is focused on getting everything right for after dark I cant help shooting during the traditional magic hour of sunset. Glen composed his version for the spiral around the North star and these are my shots from the same location with the focus on composing to highlight the tree.

Im still learning about this multiple exposure thing and I didnt have my camera set on bulb and my full series didnt fire. The fun part is working with a new set of light inputs. In this shot there is the setting sun on the horizon on the left, the moon creating tree shadows and passing car headlights lighting up the Joshua Tree. It creates this wonderful randomness of lighting effects with odd star streaks thrown in for fun. 

I shot a backlit version of the sunset as well, but this backlit moonrise shot was more interesting because it allowed for the inclusion of car headlight and taillight streaks with headlight lighting of the tree.

Glen and I spent much of the day teaching for the perfect Joshua Tree, but adjacent to this tree was on of my favorite distressed trees. This one also looked good backlit on my iPhone test shot and with some added headlight light painting and car light trails it became an interesting coda to the evening.

Night two in Joshua Tree up next followed by catching up on posting my latest six months of travel shooting. Much more to follow.

© Mark Harmel