I pull off the freeway, following the instructions from the GPS, onto Cima Road and head south into the Mojave Desert. The sun falls below the horizon and a golden glow washes over the desert floor. The further I drive from Interstate 15, the darker it grows, almost by the second, seemingly. A Joshua Tree pops up on my right, and then another. I suddenly see a possible composition: a solitary Joshua Tree silhouetted against the sunset.

I pull over and turn the Jeep off. I hop out leaving Daisy inside and jog across the blacktop to line up a shot.

I turn the GFX100s into portrait orientation and flick the tab on the side of the screen to allow me to gaze downward and line up the shot. The jpeg is to the right, straight out of camera, is almost unbelievable. The raw image to the left has been brightened a bit to improve the separation between the branches at the top of the tree and darkness of the night sky.

The metadata for the shot above: ISO 1000. F/2.8. 1/125 shutter speed.

I look south and the fading sun hits the tines of the Joshua Tree branches, painting them orange.

The second shot is much more subtle and I like it quite a bit, but it’s hard to fight the power of that single silhouetted Joshua Tree.

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