May is one of my favorites times of year for photography! The weather is warm but not too warm, the days are long but not too long, and the Milky Way is out for most of the night! Every year I take a trip to Joshua Tree National Park for my brother's birthday. I managed to book out campsite really early this year and got spot #1 at the Jumbo Rocks camp group. This was an amazing location because it was pretty central to some of the major landmarks like skull rock and the famous Juniper tree. It's surrounded by giant boulders and groves of Joshua Trees that are easy to hike around, climb, and get lost. On this trip the moon was waxing a crescent so we had fairly dark skies for most of the time. However the first night we had some slight cloud cover that stifled my chances of getting the rising Milky Way in the east. Making most of the situation I tried to get some star trails while waiting for the clouds to clear.
They never quite cleared for that long so I decided I'd head out a scout a location for sunrise for an image I've been after for a while. I wanted to capture a Joshua Tree silhouetted by and giant rising the sun or the moon. This mean I needed to find a daily flat location with a Jusura Tree eleven just slightly about the horizon so that I can get an unobstructed view from a very far distance. I found the perfect tree perched on a tiny mound and walked due west, the opposite of where the sun would be rising. Using my Photopills app I keep that special tree in my line of sight and about 1km away I set up my Sony A7sii with Tamron 150-600mm + 2 x teleconverter. I waited for a little while then just a planned the sun rose exactly behind the tree. My heart was racing and i snapped as many photos as I could not wanting to miss anything! I was so happy with this photo that I submitted it to this year's Joshua Tree National Park photo contest and it was selected! It will now be featured on every Joshua Tree park pass for next year! I couldn't be more honored becasue this is one of my favorite places to visit!
The next night my bothers and I started exploring the jumbo rocks that surrounded the campsite. There were so many incredible features but there was one that we had to capture. It was a lone Juniper tree seemingly fighting its way out of the rock and right along side is an eerily vertical standing boulder that seems to resemble a person. We came back later that night when the moon was getting ready to set, but we weren’t the only ones. There were a few people already there waiting for the same thing. Rather than get irritated or jockey for position we all decided to make the most of it and played around with differnt poses between the rock and tree. They offered such a weird and unique persecutive it ended up being really fun and some of my favorite images form the trip!