Joshua Tree Under a Full Moon

by Mark Hahn

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Sometimes the act of photography is more an exercise in seeing something from a different viewpoint than anything else. Sometimes it is more about slowing down and reflecting on how things look and feel. Sometimes photography can help you find a connection between yourself and the world around you.

These photos were taken in Joshua Tree National Park under a full moon. The landscape was much darker than it appears in these long exposure photographs. There was no light to see if a rattlesnake was resting on a rock or under foot as we scrambled over the boulders with our cameras and tripods. Sometimes you just have to trust your instinct and keep on moving.

I took these photos using my Russian Industar-69 manual focus lens adapted for use on my Olympus Pen digital body. I couldn’t see a thing through the camera and framed the shots using a quickly constructed cardboard finder that I made with what was handy in the hotel room and some cheap stuff I picked up at the local Dollar General Store.

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Twentynine Palms is at the crossroads between nowhere and never. You have young military personnel, tourists from all countries and old hippies that are trying to live at the edge of civilization. They all converge here. They all want to get away from something. A friend of mine who lived in Twentynine Palms for a while, told me that he learned really fast not to ask anyone here about their business or why they were here. We all have a history, some people want to keep talking through their past and others just want to move beyond it and live in the present. With the expanse of the Mojave Desert stretching out forever, it gives you the space and freedom to feel whatever you are searching for.

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