Caroline and I made it to Joshua Tree National Park late one evening, just as the sun was setting. We’d driven hours to get there (we’d been in Phoenix the night before) and were exhausted from being in the car for so long. One of our motivations for going there though was that the scenery is just incredible for taking pictures. We arrived just in time to snap a few using the Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Digital Camera and the Fujinon XF16mmF1.4 R WR. More about the photography gear we use HERE.

Cholla Cactus in Joshua Tree National Park

The photo above is of the cholla cactus which are part of the Cholla Cactus Garden.

Joshua Tree Photography 1.jpg

This is a closer look at the cholla cactus.

The Cholla Cactus Garden

The garden is located about 12 miles south of the park’s north entrance. There’s a trail there which I’ve hiked before that is only a quarter mile long. We didn’t have the time for it on this excursion but it’s worth the trip. Wear shoes, not open toed sandals and be sure to stay on the path.

Joshua Tree Sunset

The pink colors are incredible. I shot this at ISO 800, f/4.0 and at 1/125.

Taking photos in Joshua Tree National Park at sunset.

Here’s Caroline getting a shot at sunset also using the Fuji X-T2 and the 16mm lens.

Camping in Joshua Tree

After we took these shots darkness started to settle in and we found ourselves looking for a spot to camp. Unfortunately all of the campsites in the park were booked. Who knew it would be packed in the winter?! We certainly had no idea that it would be but apparently it was Veterans Day weekend and lots of other people had the same idea we did. It was no problem though since our home is literally in our backseat. We actually ended up getting permission to stay in the parking lot of the Motel 6 in Twenty Nine Palms. And it was actually a really good night’s rest. We woke up super early at 4:15 am and headed on into the park to get in place for the best light.

the moon on rocks in Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree National Park at first light.

The photo above was taken at ISO 200, f / 5.6 and 1/1000 sec. It’s not the kind of photograph I normally take but I wanted to highlight the little slice of light on the rock.

Joshua Tree National Park Sunrise

Got a little dirty scrambling over rocks and getting in the dirt for photos.

Joshua Tree National Park

Spotted a little bird right at home on a Joshua Tree.

We spent a good bit of time exploring the different rocks in the Jumbo Rocks area and once the sun was high and the best light had vanished, we pulled over to make some coffee and get a little food in our bellies.

Joshua Tree National Park

Coffee time!

landscape photo of Joshua Tree National Park

Gorgeous pink light on the rocks in Joshua Tree.

Joshua Tree National Park

Need to clean my lens!



Sunrise in Joshua Tree National Park

Can you see the tiny people up on the rock?

Photography Insight

None of these photos were taken with a tripod nor a filter. Though we only had one sunset and one sunrise in the park, we still had a blast taking pictures. I had my 35 mm lens with me but chose not to use it because I wanted as much of the scenery in the picture as possible.

Also note that if it’s windy, there is a good bit of dust and dirt that will kick up. Come prepared with lens wipes and drops! Also do your best to keep your camera shielded from the grit when you’re not shooting.

Lastly we recommend using a strap that you trust (we use BLACKRAPID products, one of our favorites is the BlackRapid Breathe Curve Camera Strap) and shoes that will give you good footing.

Have you been to Joshua Tree National Park before? If so, what did you think?

Thanks for following along on our journey! We’re currently living and traveling in our Dodge Ram Promaster City Wayfarer Van and would love to have you follow along on our journey.

Recent national park visits:

Yellowstone National Park

Devils Tower National Monument

Mount Rushmore

Badlands National Park

Grand Teton National Park


3 Comments on “Joshua Tree National Park

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