Joshua Tree on Mt Ryan, USA by Mark Hannah

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Picture Story

This Joshua Tree sits on a ridge not far from the top of Mt. Ryan in Joshua Tree National Park. The view overlooks the beginning of the transition between the Mojave and Colorado deserts. It was taken with an infrared converted camera captured on a bright summer day with clear and seemingly endless skies, which are perfect conditions for capturing infrared light. The Mt. Ryan hike in Joshua Tree can be a bit strenuous with a 1,000 foot elevation gain in a little over a mile with a round trip of 3 miles total and best done in cooler weather either fall or spring or the early morning. Needless to say it's a spectacular place to view the sunrise and full moonrise. Just remember to bring a headlamp for the hike down as Joshua Tree is a designated dark sky park and very dark at night.

I've come back to this spot many times both during the day and at night and if you are willing to do the hike the changing conditions and light offer a multitude of compositional opportunities. The weather here in the summer is usually very hot so but with the occasional summer monsoon it can be a spectacular place to capture images. Mt. Ryan is understandably most popular in the fall and spring because of the cooler weather but summer and winter can provide great lighting conditions. No matter the time of year remember to bring plenty of water and give yourself at least an hour of to get to the top, more if you take your time as it's easy to slowly wander your way up since the entire way offers stunning views of Hidden Valley and the floor of the upper Mojave desert.


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