On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
We are getting some entries for Springtime in Paris, and multiple people have asked, so we are extending “Paris” to include all of France.
?And now back to Joshua Tree with BillinGlendaleCA!
Most of my trips to Joshua Tree have been at night, so I’ve wanted to see parts of the park during the daylight (and get some IR shots). I also wanted to get some early season Milky Way shots which are pretty early in the morning, so I’ve looked at the best place for sunrise in Joshua Tree. Most of the suggestions centered around the Cholla Cactus Garden in the Pinto Basin portion of the park.
The Pinto Basin is in the southeastern portion of the park and the ecosystem is quite different from what you find to the northeast (no Joshua Trees). So I traveled down the road from Belle Campground where I was shooting my night shots to the Cholla Cactus Garden. It’s a several acre collection of Cholla Cactus, as the name would suggest, and tried to find a good location for the sunrise. I settled on one cactus and positioned it between my camera and the rising sun.
I arrived during blue hour.
I wandered around the cactus looking for the good location as the sun began to color the eastern horizon.
While the day was mostly cloudless there were some wispy clouds to the east the diffused the light of the rising sun. Trails from passing aircraft appeared like meteors in the sky.
The sky grew brighter in the east and more colorful just prior to sunrise.
The risen sun shines through the cactus, illuminating it with an orange glow.
Cholla Cactus Garden, Joshua Tree National Park, CA
I want to go to Joshua Tree before it gets too hot this year and if the virus allows a hotel room. April is my favorite month there.
That cholla is also known as teddy-bear cactus because the spines are very fine and look fuzzy. They are actually a horrendous thing to come into contact with. All the fuzzy little things have wicked sharp barbs and a chunk of it is a real pain to get off. It’s also called jumping cactus because it doesn’t seed, but propagates by letting a section fall off hoping to hitch a ride on a bird or animal or tourist so it can root itself into another plant. People, including me, have promised not to get near it and somehow it jumps a gap of an inch or two to stick, luckily in my case to a heavy pair of blue jeans and not my skin.
Thanks for the photos, Bill, they bring back many other much happier memories.
ETA: Sorry, raven. Frist and fuck LBJ and fuck cancer.
@Mary G: I was very careful in the cactus garden, afraid I’d back up into one of those things.
Very cool! 3 and 4 in particular look like under sea shots, somehow. Fabulous!
–and look: it’s our own little SoCal meet-up. Good morning! [And with that, off I hope to finally sleep!]
@something fabulous: I can see that,, with the cactus being undersea plants.
Great stuff as always. The various parks are so beautiful, do you have to dodge other photogs for locations you like? Early a.m. & night shooting make it easier?
@p.a.: These are Southern California photographers around here, they can’t take the cold. Most are waiting until summer or late spring. When I left the park a bit after noon, there was about a 1/4 to 1/3 a mile line of cars waiting to get in.
Gorgeous shots of a wonderful place!
And I love the comment about SoCal photographers not being able (or willing) to get cold. Perfect.
Beautiful as always!
Mary G. look at AirBNB. I have had to travel a bit during Covid and found them to be much less stressful than a hotel. Contactless entry & no lobby or other people to contend with. Price can be cheaper or comparable to hotel and kitchen for cooking is a huge bonus.
Two or three lifetimes ago when I was an oilfield geologist, my work hours could cover the full 24 hours of the day and any day of the year. Though long a “night person”, I discovered that sunrise was my favorite time of the day, bar none. Thank you for sharing pictures that bring that perfect light to my computer. I can almost feel the air warming up as the pictures progress.
J R in WV
Great job as usual, Bill in, and everyone is correct on cholla cactus, I’ve never had the honor of meeting cholla up close and personal, for which I will always be glad, very glad.
Fuck LBJ, and Nixon too!!!
The tall cholla centre left looks like it’s dancing; very cool shots.
Wonderful colors- wonderful pics.
Like an alien landscape-
@Albatrossity: I asked some of the photogs in the local photog FB group if they were planning on shooting the early season Milky Way…too early and too cold were the responses. Wimps!
@Laura Too: Thanks.
@cope: I tend to prefer sunset, but when you’re already there for something in the early morning…
@J R in WV: If you make it to JT, don’t fear the cholla cactus garden, just follow the rules and stay on the path and it’ll be a rewarding visit.
@StringOnAStick: There was a breeze going, but not that much. About an hour later I went to the south edge of the park(Keys View) and the wind was blowing so strong I could hardly stand up.
@SkyBluePink: Thanks, JT is an amazing park.
Once again, excellent pictures. I love seeing photos of familiar places through your lens. We were fortunate enough to have spent a long weekend there shortly before the place was trashed by the Government shutdown (remember that pre-COVID disaster)? btw, in Palm Springs now, a beautiful area worthy of your camera’s attention — especially if you stay away from the areas with water-squandering golf resorts and wide streets named after dead Republicans.
I’ve done some off-trail in cholla country; you should carry a long comb to pull the bits of cholla off. Don’t use your fingers.
@Almost Retired: I took pics of Palm Springs, but I was at Keys View. I’ve lived in Southern California all my life, I’ve never been to Palm Springs.
@Origuy: I just gave them a wide berth and watched my back.