Full Moon Rising at Joshua Tree National Park

As I wrote earlier I am now touring the American South West. I escaped Los Angeles and headed for the desert, first stop Palm Springs of Douglas Coupland’s Generation X fame in search for Andy, Dag and Claire. I did not find them, perhaps because they are fictional, perhaps because they have escaped this present day Palm Springs that has become a holiday resort. But a daily 40 miles drive offered some great landscapes at Joshua Tree National Park. Joshua is an otherworldly desert with the peculiar Joshua Trees and many big rocks placed all over the landscapes like someone was throwing large dices.

I spent 3 days in this park and really enjoyed it, my kinda place. It should really be called Joshua Trees National Park though as there are quite a lot of them so it took me a long time and a lot of walking to find a tree that I can isolate in a nice simple composition. I shot a lot of images and as I will be on the road for the next many weeks it will be a while before I get through the RAW files, get the panoramas stitched etc. So here is just a quickie, I was fortunate enough to be at Joshua during a full moon and found this composition:

joshua tree full moon duotone - blog

This is a work in progress, I might re-process this. Duotone I find works so well with these images from Joshua, lending them an even more surreal otherworldly quality. The moon you ask. It is of course a double exposure, no other way to capture it. 17mm wide angle for the landscape, 400mm zoom for the moon, Photoshop for the blending. Moon might be a tad too large here actually, but I am only using this technique to replicate what I saw. The moon was exactly there at sunset and roughly this size using the roughly 50mm lens built into our eyes. I could drop this moon into any shot from Joshua and no one would know – but I would know. I would find it cheating a bit.

If you wish to see the color version, here it is:

Joshua Tree full moon - blog

I am presently in Yuma, Arizona and heading for the Organ Pipe Cactus National Park. After that, New Mexico and then back into Northern Arizona later this month. I cannot stand cold weather (and by now that basically means anything non-tropical), heck even down here near Mexico it isn’t very warm compared to Malaysia, so I am staying South in the desert so far until the North heats up!

8 Comments on “Full Moon Rising at Joshua Tree National Park”

  1. I like the duotone, and yes this moon is difficult, as we see and imagine it much bigger than it actually is. Bon Voyage !!! Michael.

  2. Hi Flemming,

    Long time – no comments, as they say. But I'm still with you..

    Wow. Super. I immediately thought of Ansel Adams "Moon and Half Dome".

    Have a nice time Over There..


  3. duotone for me too, it is fabulous Flem.
    what a fantastic tree that is! and looks great with the moon- who cares if it was added- as you said it gives it that more natural look 🙂

    1. Thanks Stephen! It is not 'added' though, the full moon was there. As you know of course it just looks like nothing on a 17mm shot so you have to double expose for it using two different lenses.

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