Alan Kiecker, QPSA  

Joshua Tree Forest by Alan Kiecker, QPSA

November 2023 - Joshua Tree Forest

About the Image(s)

Two distinct, different desert ecosystems come together at Joshua Tree NP - the Colorado and the Mojave or "high" desert. I lived for three years in the Mojave desert when I worked at China Lake NWC so was well acquainted with what grew in the high desert, especially the most unusual Joshua tree. We entered the park from the south, not a Joshua tree in sight. We didn't see Joshua trees until we drove further north in the park to higher elevations. The Joshua Tree actually isn't a tree at all, rather a member of the yucca family.

Nikon Z8, Z 24-120 lens @ 57mm, 1/25 sec @ f/16, ISO 125

This round’s discussion is now closed!
10 comments posted

Josh Lohff   Josh Lohff
Hi Alan. Nice light on this capture. I like how you've maintained that warm sunset (or rise?) tone and still given us a little detail in the shadows of the mountain. You've bisected the horizon with one of these Joshua Trees but done it aggressively and taken it well above the horizon, which makes it work. All the thirds are nice too. The one suggestion I'd offer here would be to clone out that chunk of "tree" that's peeking its head in on the right.   Posted: 11/13/2023 20:08:11
Alan Kiecker   Alan Kiecker
Thanks! The intruding Joshua tree can easily be cropped out (or cloned). It is down in the shadows that I never noticed it. Question ... should I crop from the top just a bit to raise the horizon line?   Posted: 11/13/2023 23:26:47
Comment Image
Josh Lohff   Josh Lohff
Good morning Alan! I like it with that partial piece of tree cloned out.

As far as the crop, I'm leaning towards the original. The cropped down version feels like a little tight up top and makes the wider ratio not feel quite as natural to me.   Posted: 11/14/2023 06:07:45
Alan Kiecker   Alan Kiecker
Thanks! I appreciate your comments.   Posted: 11/14/2023 09:04:03
Josh Lohff   Josh Lohff
Sure thing!   Posted: 11/14/2023 19:34:45

David Kepley   David Kepley
Alan, I long to visit Joshua Tree NP! Your picture inspired me wome more!! I love the wam yellows in the grasses at the bottom and the subtle lighting on the sides of the trees! Abut the only thinkg you are missing are some clouds in the sky!   Posted: 11/18/2023 10:22:36
Alan Kiecker   Alan Kiecker
Clouds are hard to come by. This was the second of two visits to the park that we made during our stay in SoCal. The first day we did have some clouds. I have included a sunset photo that I took that day. On this second trip I was hoping to see a nice orange sky for a silhouette of a Joshua Tree, but the sky was too clear and had no color.   Posted: 11/18/2023 15:45:14
Comment Image

Craig Callan   Craig Callan
My problem with this photo is that the 'hero tree' you selected as your center of interest chops through the outlin of the hills. If you look at the Joshua tree in the exavt center of the picture does not chop the hill outline. If you had moved in on this tree and shot from just before it chopped out of the outline, you might have been able to compose a stronger image.   Posted: 11/18/2023 19:52:38
Alan Kiecker   Alan Kiecker
If I understand you correctly, you think that the tree should not have extended up into the sky. That though is exactly what I wanted. By extending high into the sky it stands out against the sky making a very strong visual statement in the photo. If anything, I should have gotten closer to the tree, gotten down lower and shot up toward the tree as it stood out against the sky.   Posted: 11/18/2023 23:56:49

Stephen Jude   Stephen Jude
Hi Alan,
I agree with Josh regarding the tree breaking the line of the horizon. I think it works well too, and if anything I perhaps would have gotten even lower/closer to further emphasize the distinction between tree and hill line.
I think the composition is strong and the light completes the story.
Personally I would crop in ( retaining the same aspect ) from the top right to get rid of both the tree branch on the right and a small portion of the cloudless sky.
One thing that is a bit curious, at F/16 I would have expected more of the background to be sharper than it appears.
Cheers Stephen   Posted: 11/19/2023 00:17:46