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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 I'm 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 concentrating on getting everything right for after dark, I can't help shooting during the traditional magic hour of sunset. Glen created his version of the Joshua tree including the spiral around the North star.  My photo from the same location simply focuses on the tree.

I'm still learning about this multiple exposure thing and I didn't have my camera set on bulb and my full series didn't 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