I was searching for this spot in Joshua Tree for at least the past two years. I had seen some snaps of it here and there on the web, but no one ever said exactly where it was... and I even asked every park ranger I could find if they knew about it, but no one had a clue! Back in October when I shot this, I tracked down a geo-tagged picture on Google Earth locating it in what seemed an unlikely area, but it was the best lead that I could find... and when I got there, there was indeed a trail in the spot indicated, so I gave it a try, hiking a mile out into the middle of nowhere hoping the coordinates were accurate. When it became apparent that it wasn't going to be where it was supposed to be, I was seriously bummed, but determined to get some good work in anyway, since it was just a perfect, soft-light type day for photographing out here.
Later on, while driving through a well known campground to a good spot that I was already familiar with, a distinct shape somehow caught the corner of my eye (and I've driven past the same exact spot many times), up on some rocks above an unoccupied camping spot. I thought it was pretty unlikely to be here in such a heavily used area, but I did stop and park just to check it out. Hoorah!.. there it was:) The standing rock is totally invisible from the road, but I had luckily caught just enough of the tree to make me stop and investigate.
Of course, totally the wrong light at that time, so I went down the road to work for a few hours, knowing that right before sunset was going to be perfect for this scene. I got so busy over there though, that I ended up having to pack up in a hurry and rush back here to catch the good light, which lasted (as it likes to do) only a few minutes. Only film gear on hand this day, so I had to fumble as quickly as possible to get a roll into a back and find the right lens/angle (actually kind of hard if you could see the whole situation with bushes and rocks in the way), but managed to get off a whole roll of 20 shots over a period of about 15 minutes. This is a very wide angle view.. the monolith rock is quite a bit bigger that it appears here due to the wide-angle lens. I also caught another completely different version, shot in the twilight after sunset that I like a lot, too.
All in all a very satisfactory day, since some shots from earlier also turned out quite nicely. I'm planning to head back out here again this coming weekend,... we are in another unsettled weather pattern right now, and stormy skies are ideal for shooting in JT.
Tech note: Shot with a Mamiya 6x7 medium format, on Fuji Velvia 100. No filters, (no time:).
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