Friday, July 29, 2016

Jumbo Rocks Panorama: An Original Take at a Classic Location

Jumbo Rocks wide sunset panorama
Jumbo Rocks Panorama -- click on picture for larger view
I had to visit Jumbo Rocks in Joshua Tree.  I've seen so many pictures of these amazing and balanced rock conglomerations that my thoughts of JTNP immediately bring up the Ansel Adams photo of the balanced boulder.  So I went.

These rocks are right in the middle of the largest campground in the whole park.  People are coming and going.  Just finding a parking space was difficult.  From a distance, I could see that this formation stands taller than many of the surrounding hills and mounds.  One of those mounds served as my location for this panorama.  

From 400 feet away, I shot with my 300mm lens on a tripod and slowly moved across this rock formation.  Back home I stitched all these together to create a massive file.  It's a different look at this classic place, and one that I am happy with.  

Ryan Ranch in Joshua Tree National Park

Sunset falls on Ryan Ranch in Joshua Tree California
Ryan Ranch Ruins with Yucca at Dusk
On my visit to Joshua Tree National Park, I had two days:  two sunsets and two sunrises.  Being the best time of day to capture a quality photograph, I debated carefully over where I ought to be to get the best photo.  I try to put myself in a good place at the right time and hope for something special.  JTNP has plenty of locations.  My wish list included the cholla cactus garden, Ryan Ranch, the Lost Pencil, Hidden Valley, Key's View, Jumbo Rocks, White Tank to name a few.  This is the kind of decision that faces a photographer when visiting a major national park:  too many good things.  

I whittled the list down a bit by seeing what had been shot extensively.  Jumbo Rocks, Cholla cactus garden and Key's View are photographed so much that I felt a visit to those locations would be unlikely to yield an original photograph.  (I did visit most of these locations in the day, though.)  Ryan Ranch intrigued me because of its' smooth and colorful adobe walls.  It's also a ruin -- those hold special attraction too.  Using online tool, I could see it ought to catch the evening sunlight.  

There is a campground about a 3-5 minute walk away from the ruins.  On my day there were no clouds in the sky (sometimes I think I'm cursed this way).  I liked working my way around this structure and shooting into its' angles as the sun gradually set.  

The photo above is after sunset.  I'm attached a few more from earlier that evening.  
ryan ranch standing walls
Walls of Adobe at Ryan Ranch
Ryan Ranch walls and interior
Looking into the Ruins