Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Mojave Desert Bloom

Woolly Daisy

Perhaps the coolest thing about my trip to California this spring was the desert bloom.  Thanks to a wet winter and spring the desert flowers were blooming like crazy everywhere!  Much of our visit to Joshua Tree was spent admiring the countless flowers that we came across while exploring the park.  It seemed like there was something fascinating and beautiful to see around every bend of every trail that we hiked!

Ocotillo Bloom

Blooming Barrel Cactus

Barrel cactus are so pretty, even without flowers!

Mojave Mound Cactus

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Ocotillo and the Hexie Mountains

Driving south through Joshua Tree National Park the terrain transitions from the high Mojave Desert to the lower Sonoran Desert.  The vegetation also changes and as soon as you leave the Joshua Trees you come into the Cholla Cactus Garden and the Ocotillo Patch.  I found the Ocotillo to be a very fascinating plant.  We were lucky to see it while it was flowering.  The plant has beautiful blooms and is quite tall, some of the examples we saw were about 15 feet high.  According to an NPS interpretive sign, Ocotillo is able to shed and re-grow its leaves up to 5 times each year depending on the availability of water or lack thereof.  The desert is so fascinating!

The Break of Dawn

There are so many cool locations to photograph in Joshua Tree National Park, it was hard to pick just one spot for sunrise.  In the end we settled on an area just a few minutes away from our campground. We arrived in plenty of time to find a good tree to photograph with the colors of sunrise. For about 15 to 20 minutes the colors in the clouds were beautiful, then the color faded and seemingly out of nowhere the sky was filled with jet contrails.  I feel very fortunate to have gotten this photograph with the nice colors before the contrails took over.  

Saturday, April 22, 2017

April Aurora over Hollow Rock Creek

I'm taking a break today from photo posts of my California trip.  Why?  Because we had northern lights last night!  The display of lights was quite good from about 11:00 P.M. until 2:00 A.M.  I went up to Hollow Rock Creek on Old Highway 61 to photograph the lights because I knew the meadow was flooded thanks to recent rainfall we received.  Typically you cannot get reflections this good at this location because the meadow usually has nowhere near the amount of water as seen in this photo. I love making photographs of the northern lights, especially when you catch them reflected in the water.  

Friday, April 21, 2017

Joshua Tree Sunset

I sure do love sunsets in the desert.  Even without much for clouds to accent the sky they are still impressive and beautiful, especially with mountains and Joshua trees in the foreground!  This photo was taken in the Sheep Pass area of Joshua Tree National Park.

Sentinels of the Mojave

Joshua Trees sure are fascinating.  According to the national park literature the trees do not have any growth rings so it's really difficult to tell just how old they get.  They certainly don't get very tall (the tallest trees are around 40 feet high) but they have an infinite variety of interesting shapes. I find them incredibly fascinating to photograph, especially when highlighted with the colors of a Mojave desert sunset!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Sunrise at the Cholla Garden

Joshua Tree National Park - Here's another photo from the Cholla Garden, this time showing the sun as it tried to break through the clouds.  What a beautiful place and what a beautiful morning!  I can't wait to go back :-)