Joshua Trees at Sunset

I don't usually think of Joshua trees as a "cloud forest" species, but in the winter when they get most of their moisture, a lot of them live up where they are in the clouds of oncoming storms. Although they are clearly a desert species, it's high desert, and much of the moisture falls as snow. This lengthens the time when the moisture can soak into the soil.

Joshua trees are an indicator species for the Mojave Desert ecosystem. They have been declining in geographical extent for thousands of years. One contributing factor may be the extinction of the giant ground sloth, which spread Joshua tree seeds, but disappeared around the time that humans arrived on the continent. As climate change shortens winters and raises snow levels, that may accelerate their decline.
#joshuatrees #landscapephotography #DeathValley #MojaveDesert


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Southern California Photography Locations

Now that I'm done exploring new areas for my Southern California guidebook, I should have more time to also write or expand blog posts covering some of those areas. The book will only cost an amount equivalent to a few gallons of gas or a fraction of one night's stay at a motel, so if it can make your own travels and explorations only slightly more productive, it should prove to be a worthy investment.

The book will be available in both 320-page printed format, as well as ebook.

I'll make a little more when I sell the book directly, so I'll take pre-orders for author-signed copies as the release date approaches. It would be cool to sell the first box of 150 before it arrives!

I'm building a "book interest" circle to tell people about the book when it ships, let me know if you want to be added to it!

#california #photography #travel #guide

Originally shared by +Jeff Sullivan Photography

Route 66 in the Mojave Desert
Amboy and beyond.

New blog post:

#route66 #mojavedesert #californiaphotography #roadtrip

Route 66 in the Mojave Desert
Roy’s Motel Cafe alongside historic Route 66 In the spring months I’m often passing through the Mojave Desert, which puts me on historic Route 66. There are a number of old houses and businesses along the way, mostly in va…

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Night in the Mojave

Joshua trees are an indicator species for the Mojave Desert ecosystem, stretching from Southern California into Nevada, Arizona and Utah.

#Mojavedesert #nightphotography #milkywayphotography


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California Wildflower Season Begins

After catching the moon, Mars and Venus setting behind Mount Whitney Friday night, +Lori Hibbett and I continued south to Antelope Valley to check on the progress of the wildflowers, which will be blooming over the next 9 weeks. Many areas still have weeks to go before peak bloom, but some warm, well-lit locations like this are blooming a little early. This faces southeast, so the rocks reflect sunlight and radiate heat onto the patch of wildflowers below, bringing spring a little early.
I can't wait to get back out to Death Valley and surrounding areas when much of the Mojave Desert is blooming! Some folks are predicting the best bloom since the epic year of 2005, and in many places I've seen so far this year, I think that they're right.
#springwildflowers #californiaphotography #mojavedesert +Eastern Sierra Nevada Workshops +Death Valley Workshops +Eastern Sierra Nevada Workshops

Originally shared by +Eastern Sierra Nevada Workshops

Red Rock Canyon State Park Last Friday
Wildflowers in the Mojave Desert near the town Mojave.

#redrockcanyon #statepark #california #photography


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Mojave National Preserve, California

It's the time of year when the desert landscapes in Mojave National Preserve become comfortable to access again.
#mojavedesert #landscapephotography #desertphotography #nationalparkservice #photography


In Album Mojave National Preserve and vicinity

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More Endangered Than Most

Desert tortoise populations have declined up to 90% in recent decades due to human activities such as housing developments, energy development and grazing.  They spend up to 95% of their time in burrows, where they may get trapped or succumb to heat if the burrow collapses due to a vehicle or large animal.  They like sandy soil, and when visiting sand dunes people can cause these collapses.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages endangered species, and many desert tortoises are on land administered by the Bureau of Land Management.  A center was established by the BLM to care for desert tortoises, mainly surrendered pets.  

In the last 2 days some many news reports have falsely implied that the BLM was euthanizing the protected wild tortoises.  The misrepresentation of fact must be intentional, since the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center clarified the situation in a press release months ago.

Aug 26, 2013
Statement Regarding Media Reports on Status of Desert Tortoise at the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center in Nevada
Recent media reports regarding the status of desert tortoises at the Desert Tortoise Conservation Center (DTCC) have implied that the FWS is currently euthanizing desert tortoises at the facility. We want the public to know that the FWS is not euthanizing healthy tortoises.
The DTCC was established in 1990 to receive wild tortoises in harm’s way from development and has taken in unwanted pets since 1996. Over 1,000 tortoises arrived at the DTCC each year, and approximately 98 percent of those are surrendered or stray pets. Science-based protocols developed for desert tortoises brought to the DTCC have been instrumental in helping the FWS maintain a healthy population of desert tortoise in the wild. Managing to recover desert tortoise, a threatened species, is a complex task in which all options need to be considered, and all risks and benefits to the species must be assessed.
Many pet tortoises, unfortunately, are diseased or otherwise in poor health, and run the risk of spreading disease to wild tortoises. These tortoises cannot be relocated to the wild, or otherwise contribute to recovery of the desert tortoise population. Sometimes euthanasia of unhealthy pet tortoises is necessary, but only as last resort, and only after we evaluate other options. All healthy tortoises at the DTCC will be relocated to sites that will support the recovery of the species.
Progress is being made on translocating the healthy DTCC tortoise population to the wild. A Programmatic Environmental Assessment is complete, and tortoises are already being translocated by the FWS to an approved site in Trout Canyon, Nevada. Public scoping for a second translocation plan was completed Aug 22, 2013, for a proposed translocation area south of Coyote Springs, Nevada.
The Animal Foundation (TAF), Lied Animal Shelter continues to take in unwanted pet tortoises from the public. However, the fact remains that the DTCC does not currently have the capacity or the funding to accept and care for additional tortoises.
Recovery of the desert tortoise in the wild continues to be our top priority. However we are deeply concerned about the growing number of unwanted pets, and will continue to work with our partner agencies toward finding a suitable solution for tortoises that cannot be returned to the wild.
Posted on August 26, 2013

The factual misrepresentations are coming up in a story about a Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy who reportedly owes $1.1M in grazing fees to the BLM, and who following decades of debate over the issue in federal court has been issued court orders starting in 1998 to pay the grazing fees or remove his cattle and to not interfere with removal operations if he fails to remove them himself.  The matter has gained national attention in recent days as people have flocked to the ranch to side with Bundy's resistance to the court orders.  Various political scapegoats are trotted out by media outlets with an agenda to promote, and many of the protesters onsite now resisting federal authorities are reveling in repeating the misinformation.  The incident could turn into quite a sideshow in the coming days.

#bundyranch   #deserttortoise   #mojavedesert  

Fate of an endangered species… this California desert tortoise was more endangered than most

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Milky Way and Venus Rising

I found these over old cars at the site of an abandoned mine in the Mojave Desert earlier this month.  The Milky Way was rising around 3 am then and this was taken at around 4 am, but those times shifted an hour a couple of days later with Daylight Savings Time.  It'll be a lot more convenient to catch the Milky Way when it's available in the evening twilight this summer.

Here's an album with some of my night photos on G+:
My night photography workshop coming up on May 3 is nearly full:
#nightphotography   #nightphotographyworkshops   #milkywayphotography   #mojavedesert  

Milky Way and Venus rising over old cars – Mojave Desert, California, March, 2014.

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Postcards from the Mojave

Sand dunes, salt flats, jagged peaks, lava fields, cactus gardens and wildflowers, there's a lot of diversity to the geography and biology of the Mojave Desert.  Here are a few photos from my lap of the California desert to discover new locations there last week.

Here's a link to the rest of my Mojave desert album on G+:
#mojavedesert   #desertphotography   #landscapephotography  

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Sunset at Kelso Dunes (200mm)

This is the 200mm version of the prior 24mm wide angle shot I just posted.  They each give your audience a totally different feel for the same sunset.  
#MojaveDesert   #desertphotography   #landscapephotography  

Sunset at Kelso Dunes (200mm)
This is the 200mm version of the prior 24mm wide angle shot I just posted.  They each give your audience a totally different feel for the same sunset.
#MojaveDesert   #desertphotography   #landscapephotography  

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Sunset at Kelso Dunes (24mm)

Sunset at Kelso Dunes, Mojave National Preserve, California.  Although wide angle lenses are often great for landscape photography, sometimes they don't make the most out of hte conditions you are experiencing.  Look around the scene for details to focus on.  

For example, what would you like to direct attention to here?  I'll post the 200mm version of this scene as well for comparison.  
#mojavedesert   #desertphotography   #landscapephotography  

Kelso Dunes, Mojave National Preserve, California.

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