Southwestern Desert

The last week in August I participated in a photo safari (workshop) in the southwestern desert. It felt like a safari because we had to use 4-wheel drive vehicles to get to our locations. The landscape was the subject, not animals. We went to a few different locations. We used dim lights to illuminate the landscape at night. The first stop was a place called White Pocket in northern Arizona, where we camped after taking photographs past midnight.

Click here to see all the photos.

Alone on a Stone: A lonely tree sits under the Milky Way, contemplating the celestial journey. To the right, peaceful Jupiter looks on.
Inchworm Arch in Utah

On the final day of the workshop we went to a short but scenic slot canyon near Kanab, Utah.

I loved wandering in the slot canyon and finding photo opportunities. My tripod was set up so I just jumped into this shot.

On the way home, I stopped in Zion National Park.

Three trees perched high on a slick rock ledge in Zion National Park.

Snow in Joshua Tree National Park

Last week a cold storm moved through southern California dumping snow in Joshua Tree National Park. I arrived on Thursday afternoon with snow falling. The next morning I was up before sunrise exploring locations around the Boy Scout Trail. Before heading home, I hiked up Ryan Mountain, where the wind was howling. At 30°F and wind gusts that nearly knocked me off my feet, it was COLD! I bundled up with several layers including my down jacket. I felt very fortunate to experience Joshua Tree in the snow!

Click here to see all the photos – mostly the same as in this post.

The Road

The road into the park was clear with patches of snow. As I drove further in the snow was falling harder. The elevation here is just under 4000 feet.

Wild Thing

I love the twisted character and contrast of the white against the rock.

My main subject of my photos were the Joshua Trees. The following photos are the same tree with slightly different compositions or post-processing.


I was up before sunrise the next day. There was about 1-2 inches of snow on the ground, but in some places, the ground was bare from the wind.

Desert Dawn
Sunrise on the Ridges

Wind swept desert floor around some leaning Joshua Trees.

Balanced Tree
Rabbit Tracks

As the sun rises higher and the wind gently blows, the snow slowly vanishes.

I climbed up on a low ridge to get a better view of the desert floor.

I again visited the spot of my pre-dawn photos, now in complete sun with a brilliant blue background.

I started the Ryan Mountain hike. This is the view looking back to the parking area with the road cutting through the desert.

Atop Ryan Mountain

The wind was ferocious at the top of Ryan Mountain and with the wind chill it was very cold. I hundled behind a large yucca plant to warm up out of the wind.

Windswept Wanderer

The remnants of this old tree remain behind in the howling wind.

Snowy Path
All that Remains

Once down from Ryan Mountain, the wind was calm and temperatures bearable.