Joshua Tree National Park

Day Two Hundred and Twenty Three. Joshua Tree National Park had been on my list of places to visit for just about as long as the list has existed. I was super excited to find out that work was sending me to a conference in Corona, which is only about an hour and a half from the park. My flight landed at 10AM, so I had almost an entire day to spend hiking around. I made the requisite stop in the visitor center to see where the best hikes were and went on my way. First up was Hidden Valley. The light in the high desert was unbelievably harsh, so I decided to see if my still shiny and quite new circular polarizer could tame it. It certainly worked to darken the sky, but turned out to be quite difficult to use. I had to remove my polarized sunglasses to adjust it, which then made the light coming through the lens so bright, that the sky areas burned my retinas just enough that I could no longer detect the subtle changes in brightness. Instead of seeing the sky darken and lighten as I spun the polarizer, I saw the usual funny green and magenta colors one sees after staring at light that’s too bright in the shape of the sky. I did the best I could with how bright it was, but may not have achieved full polarization in all cases.

On the back end, I played around with a part of Lightroom I usually don’t touch: Camera Calibration. I shifted around the input color channels and got some different shades than usual. By shifting the blue channel -50, I was able to get some nice deep red and orange tones. In the third to last image, the shift was so dramatic, I’m calling the image, “Sunset on the Red Planet”. What do you think of the colors?

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