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Photo Showcase: Sunrise over Joshua Tree National Park PDF Print E-mail
Written by Frank Fletcher   
Monday, 10 August 2009 22:24



After driving all night, we arrived at Joshua Tree NP at around 2:30am. Tired, but excited, we looked for a place to camp - and found nothing. After driving through all the campsites for another hour and half, we finally pulled into a hidden (but legitimate) site at Belle. I think that campsite has my name on it because every time I think there are no sites left, we find this one spot open, waiting for us. It's a great site too - protected from the wind.

I say that with some experience - having, just 3 years before, lost an expensive four season tent to the wind in that very same park. The coarse, decomposing granite is (literally) rock-solid - which means that there is often no place to stake the tent. Stones are very hard to come by. And trees - well there aren't many! So we pack the tents with about 70lbs worth of gear and they still manage to drag and roll in the heavy winds.

I'm rambling.

In any case, it's now 4am and we set up camp. Everybody else goes to bed like the sane people they are. I, of course, stayed up to photograph star trails and the sunrise. I'll let you draw your own conclusions as to my sanity. I'd appreciate it, however, if you deigned not to share your opinion, thank-you-very-much!

As you can see - it was worth it!


This photo is actually a composition of 3 different exposures (same place, same time, same subject). That's how I was able to balance the deep tone and color of the background sky with the foreground and cactus subject. We think of cameras as infallible recorders of "what is." Often, though, the camera is limited. What we see and experience does not translate into what the photographic image can render. At least this is true with todays technology. Who knows what the future holds.

This situation is one of those times where the camera fails. The sky was too bright and the foreground was too dark. If we expose for the foreground, the sky is a sickly off-white that bleeds into the hills, looking like some kind of bad TV rendition of a nuclear holocaust. Expose for the sky and the foreground is a muddy black/brown.

With some knowledge, however, I was able to digitally combine the images so that hue, tone and detail are preserved. Had I not known this was possible, I might have given up...

I didn't give up. And this image speaks for itself.


We did go climbing that day - but I was pretty much wiped.

It was worth it.



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