There wasn’t a camping spot anywhere in the park, so I found a secluded picnic area to spend the night. It was only about 10 minutes from where I wanted to do sunrise. All I’d need was about 15 minutes to wash up, change clothes, pour some ready-made iced coffee, and stop at a bathroom. There weren’t any clouds and I wasn’t expecting much action for sunrise.
Clear skies, the morning was cool, and I only needed a light sweater. I was on my way to the bathroom and from around the boulders in the distance I saw the sky was already bursting with color. Awww, geeeeez! Mistake #1…know thy golden hour for sunrise! I was not going to have time to get to my preferred destination, so I ran back to the car and headed just down the road a bit to get around the boulders and went dashing out into the desert with my gear looking for a nice Joshua tree foreground. Wouldn’t you know they all looked dead or scraggly, but I found one I thought would do, after all, the light was beautiful! Mistake #2…have thyself a backup plan!
I bracketed three shots and thought, “OK, got my Joshua Tree sunrise” and saw a group of yuccas. Good, another comp before the light fades. Took a shot and with sleep still in my eyes, thought it looked a bit soft. Mistake #3…wear thy glasses! I found I was still on manual focus from the night before and shooting at f5.6, meaning both comps were garbage. Mistake #4…check thy frickin’ settings! OK, by this time I was totally disillusioned at being a pro landscape photographer. I half-assed one more shot at f8 for the yucca foreground then started to leave and noticed some boulders by another scraggly Joshua tree. OK, foreground, settings, focus, shoot! The display looked good so I told myself that’s enough for this sunrise as the nice light began to fade.
It was then I realized I was wearing flip-flop sandals and had not taken the time to put my hikers on. I started to think of scorpions, tarantulas, and rattlesnakes nipping at my toes. Mistake #5…