I don’t want to say that everything I knew about Joshua Tree National Park came from U2’s great 1987 album, or perhaps more specifically, from Anton Corbijn’s photo shoot with the band. Yet I’d never seen an actual Joshua Tree, couldn’t tell a cholla cactus from a prickly pear, and had only once driven to the Palm Springs area. But our son has recently gone off to college not too far away, and was drawn like a magnet to this incredible small unit of the National Park Service. Easy to see why, once we got there.
We brought along our Leica M-240, not the Leica SL we used all summer for landscapes out West. It was a delight to have a small, capable camera in our hands again. And we loved taking it off the main road, though the cholla have spines so strong they can puncture a hiking shoe.
What follows is an assortment of images from a magical place we want to go back to, and will. As the lyrics of the U2 song go, “Sleep comes like a drug/in God’s country.” We look forward to camping out here.