Whenever I can, I like to extend my weekend when visiting Joshua Tree National Park (my local park) and camp on Sunday night. Sunday evening is one of the quietest times in the park; the weekend visitors have left by late afternoon, which means that you have some quality time to enjoy the serenity and beauty of this unique desert landscape. This quiet time also allows you to visit those areas of the park that are often overcrowded during the weekend.
The other great advantage of doing this is getting an extra 'bonus' sunset and sunrise for photography before heading home. I spent a long evening driving around and exploring several different areas of the park, noting down all the spots that I wanted to return to at another time as the sunset wasn't that 'special' on this particular evening.
I got back to my campsite, made myself some dinner, and spent a few hours listening to the silence of the park around me and enjoying a good book by headlamp.
My campsite faced outwards onto this wide-open plain on this particular trip, and waking to my alarm clock, I was greeted by this incredible pre-dawn light slowly appearing over the ridgeline in the distance.
I grabbed my tripod and camera, walked no more than about 50 paces from my tent, and quickly composed several different views of this scene. I took portrait, landscape, and panorama images but preferred the panorama, highlighting the scene's scale. I cropped the pano to get this final image.
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