Now that I live only a little over an hour from Joshua Tree National Park, it's much easier to keep an eye on the weather and head out there only when I have a good chance of hitting the kind of conditions that I prefer. I did hit it just right on this day last October and was was quite happy with my afternoon of shooting... the sky was absolutely perfect. (Click the image for a detailed view). I went back a couple of weeks ago on Jan. 2 hoping for something similar, but it turned out a little too overcast and windy, so I'm not sure if anything good will come out of that session (still waiting to process a batch of film), but hoping for the best. I like to check the Joshua Tree web cam to get an idea of the situation before deciding to make the drive, but things can change a lot in in two hours out there when weather is happening, so it's never 100% guaranteed to be perfect, even after my best efforts.
This was shot with what is probably my favorite tool recently, a panoramic 6x12 (60x120mm) roll film back on my view camera.. great because it allows me to get the benefit of the full width and detail of the camera's large format frame on roll film instead of sheets, which is much cheaper to buy and to process... and faster to use in the field than sheet film in individual holders. I'm only loosing a little bit of the frame at the top and the bottom, which is o.k. because I'm really liking the wide format these days... it seems to make almost any composition more dynamic and interesting than standard full-frame proportions.
One thing I am hoping for this year is to photograph a rare high desert snow dusting, but that will have to wait a while, because we are in a really warm pattern right now and even up here on the mountain at 6000 ft., almost all the snow is melted and gone.