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Sequoia or Joshua Tree Photographer's Write-Up
  
 
Lee Saxon
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Sequoia or Joshua Tree Photographer's Write-Up


Thinking about doing a trip to Sequoia or Joshua Tree in the next few months. I'm 100% unfamiliar with the West Coast and most of the information I've been able to find has been pretty general-audience and/or seem to be designed to help people book things when they already know where they want to go. Kind of hard to know where to start. Has anyone seen a good "photographer's guide"? Or have any tips of your own you'd like to share?


May 29, 2017 at 01:16 AM
Greg Campbell
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Sequoia or Joshua Tree Photographer's Write-Up


Both are wonderful, but Joshua will be a lot hotter!


May 29, 2017 at 02:11 AM
tsinsf
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Sequoia or Joshua Tree Photographer's Write-Up


Check out Robert Hitchman's "Photograph America" series. He has newsletters on close to 150 American photo destinations, and has ones on both Joshua Tree and Sequoia. You can download a pdf of each newsletter for $8.


May 29, 2017 at 06:18 PM
jdc562
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Sequoia or Joshua Tree Photographer's Write-Up


These are two very different scales and climates. I think your best bet for info is to Google both places, starting at the govt park info websites. There is a lot of info online.

As Greg said, Joshua Tree will be hot in the summer, most likely 100+ deg. F. All lodging and restaurants will be outside the park, but you can traverse the park in a few hours; take a minimum of several days to cover different routes and to explore on foot. There is camping within the park. Try TripAdvisor for a list of motels, most of which will be on the north side. Be sure to have several coolers for picnic food, lots of drinks, and one for your camera equipment--as protection for your camera and electronics if you park your car. There is very little shade in the park. You may encounter monsoon rains there in the latter half of the summer--nice for weather effects and possible post-rain blooms.

Sequoia covers much more area. The south end tends to be less crowded in the summer. The rivers should be in full flow this year.

To me, both places are photographically dull in the summer, with a few exceptions during weather phenomena and for astrophotography incorporating the rock formations and trees. But this is a very personally subjective thing.



May 29, 2017 at 08:14 PM
Lee Saxon
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Sequoia or Joshua Tree Photographer's Write-Up


tsinsf wrote:
Check out Robert Hitchman's "Photograph America" series. He has newsletters on close to 150 American photo destinations, and has ones on both Joshua Tree and Sequoia. You can download a pdf of each newsletter for $8.


That's awesome. I kind of want to buy every single one of them.


jdc562 wrote:
To me, both places are photographically dull in the summer, with a few exceptions during weather phenomena and for astrophotography incorporating the rock formations and trees. But this is a very personally subjective thing.


Thanks for all the tips! This in particular is the kind of thing I was wondering about. What times of year do you think are more interesting for these parks? Winter snow in Sequoia and Spring blooms in Joshua Tree I'm guessing? Is there a mid-to-southern-California park you think is more suited to summertime?




May 30, 2017 at 12:01 AM
jdc562
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Sequoia or Joshua Tree Photographer's Write-Up


Lee Saxon wrote:
That's awesome. I kind of want to buy every single one of them.


Thanks for all the tips! This in particular is the kind of thing I was wondering about. What times of year do you think are more interesting for these parks? Winter snow in Sequoia and Spring blooms in Joshua Tree I'm guessing? Is there a mid-to-southern-California park you think is more suited to summertime?


Track the spring blooms at Joshua Tree at (http://www.desertusa.com/wildflo/ca_jtnp.html). Sometimes they don't happen.
Maybe I'm overlooking some place, but I can't think of any place in "mid-to-southern-California" worth the trip from New Orleans for summer photography. I just got back from the eastern Sierras a few days ago, and was disappointed. Mono Lake is always ok, but, to me, it's just the same-old same-old. Yosemite will be very crowded. Death Valley will be extremely hot (hence the name). Summer storms can make any of these places worth photographing, but picturesque storms in summer are very iffy. All of these places can produce nice star-trail photos in summer if clear weather coincides with the right moon timing. Water falls are expected to be good this year; they are listed online. Relatively calm seas and blue skies make nice photos for coastal resorts, but so-so otherwise.
Your timing guesses are right. You can also get some fall color around Sequoia and other places in the Sierras, but not as nice as in places like the Rockies and East Coast, plus the timing is not too predictable for peak color.




May 30, 2017 at 12:37 AM
 

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Greg Campbell
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Sequoia or Joshua Tree Photographer's Write-Up


Mid/So Cal + Summer?
There are some awfully nice places along the 395 corridor. You've got Devil's Postpile, any number of lakes, Bristlecone Pines (and there are often at least a few clouds over the White Mountains), Mono Lake (by the full moon?), the eastern 1/3 of Yosemite, which gets FAR less traffic than the valley, and more.

Edited on May 30, 2017 at 01:51 PM · View previous versions



May 30, 2017 at 01:36 AM
GroovyGeek
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Sequoia or Joshua Tree Photographer's Write-Up


^^^
This...

IMO Joshua tree is a nice family vacation spot, but not worth the drive from a photography standpoint. There are far better Joshua trees at many other places, e.g., Lee Flat in DV, the area between Halloran Summit and Cima Rd along the I-15 corridor, near the intersection of AZ-25 and AZ-261 to name just a few. And the places with better rock are simply innumerable. Frankly the designation of Joshua Tree as a National Park feels like a deft piece of pork barrel work on the part of some CA representative or senator in need of votes.



May 30, 2017 at 07:01 AM
dgdg
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Sequoia or Joshua Tree Photographer's Write-Up


JTNP is a very nice park with interesting change in plants with elevation.
Nice comps can be had.
Dark skies are nice, with some Palm Springs light pollution.
As a dream photo destination, as said above, it is just ok.
There are supposed to be burrowing owls around the dikes at the large lake to the southwest. Never made it out there.



May 30, 2017 at 02:21 PM
JimFox
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Sequoia or Joshua Tree Photographer's Write-Up


Lee Saxon wrote:
That's awesome. I kind of want to buy every single one of them.


Thanks for all the tips! This in particular is the kind of thing I was wondering about. What times of year do you think are more interesting for these parks? Winter snow in Sequoia and Spring blooms in Joshua Tree I'm guessing? Is there a mid-to-southern-California park you think is more suited to summertime?



The two parks are at two totally different climates, so to tie the two together would be difficult.

Snow in Sequoia is not really all that good, and you are quite limited. Late Spring into Summer is the best time for Sequoia in my mind.

For Joshua tree, most any time but summer is good.

Both parks are accessible 12 months of the year, so its possible to go any time you want, and it's possible to shoot any time you want, but what I listed is the best as far as I am concerned.

Jim



May 30, 2017 at 07:56 PM
Craig Gillette
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Sequoia or Joshua Tree Photographer's Write-Up


The next couple of months are, perhaps, not the best time to be visiting non-coastal Southern California, the temperatures are usually pretty brutal until the end of September or so. Although as you get father north and/or higher in elevation, it's less oppressive. Sequoia/Kings Canyon aren't as impacted as Yosemite by popularity and the potential for an extended waterfall season this year. Nor quite as spectacular although accessibility to the Sequoia "Big Trees" is probably better as there is construction still underway at the Mariposa Grove near Wawona, one of the more famous locations for visiting the giant sequoias.

If they are a subject of interest, the Park Service offers some suggestions on alternative locations in their Mariposa Grove info in the Yosemite Park site. There are a variety of other places to see them, including some state parks/forests and undeveloped groves in national forests. This is a west slope opportunity.

Others have mentioned Highway 395. The most scenic stretch runs from the south end of Owens Valley north. There are on line tourism guides to much of it. Although the scenery can be inspiring, the southern stretch is pretty hot, with noted side trips getting into higher country.

Here's a site that has some more detailed info on the area.

http://www.americansouthwest.net/california/eastern-sierra/index.html

You may need to closely follow these sorts of sites and get continuing information depending on when you make your trip. This was a pretty big snow year and closures on some of these roads may last longer into the summer. For example, there are no posted opening dates for the Tioga Road or into Devil's Postpile on the NPS sites yet.

The Highway 395 area is well worth considering, keeping in mind the snow issues. It's kind of hard to lump the Eastern Sierra in with Los Angeles and San Francisco as being the same state. Geologically speaking, some spots make it hard to think the same planet, almost. (And also contrasting that with the serious hot temperatures that will be present through most of the lower elevation parts of the state.)

Highway 120/Tioga Road is the connector from the east side to Yosemite although there are passses north of there and down at the Tehachapi that will likely not be problem. Note that there can be summer thunderstorms in the larger area that can be intense and also offer some added cloud and weather photo interest.

A kicker in the travel planning possibilities is Highway 1 on the coast between Monterey and San Luis Obispo has received even more damage with slide activity in several spots including a huge slide that just recently occurred and opening dates are unavailable, with a known bridge replacement in the Big Sur area expected in the fall now not likely to be the controlling event for through traffic anymore.

Lassen Volcanic National Park and up around Mount Shasta might be worth thinking about although snow closures mat remain in place for quite a while up there, too.



May 30, 2017 at 10:06 PM
Lee Saxon
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Sequoia or Joshua Tree Photographer's Write-Up


Thanks for all the info, especially for a lot of detailed ideas from Craig.


Jun 10, 2017 at 12:48 AM







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