Photographing Jumbo Rocks in Joshua Tree National Park – Look. See. Imagine. Create.

The "classic" shot
The “classic” shot

One of our favorite locations in Joshua Tree is the Jumbo Rocks campground and trail to Skull Rock.  This has one of the most picturesque rock walls in the park.  Here’s how to photograph it.


Towards the end of the Jumbo Rocks campground is the trail to Skull Rock.  There are about four day-use parking spots across from the trail head.  If they are full, you will have to park on the main road and walk in.  After just 50 yards or so on the trail, peal off to the right after the first rise.  You will see a large flat rock area.  Keep moving right until you can see sky under the large round boulder on the top of the hill.

There’s a photo in here somewhere


I used my Fujinon 18-105 mm so that I could go wide and zoom in to the top of the ridge.  There are a number of foreground rocks you can use.  Mary and I named this one the potato.



We used both color and infrared cameras.  Because of the great texture and bald sky, I pretty much decided in the field that monotone was going to be my choice when processing, so I tried to imagine the scene in black and white.



This composition looks great in portrait and landscape orientation.  The two round rocks and geometric patterns are very pleasing and everything is pointing to the right.  The special thing about this photo is its symmetry, especially the “gap” below both round rocks.

Photo by Mary Andrade

There is plenty to see in this area and in the campground.  Don’t forget this famous composition behind camp site #19.


Here I am scouting for different angles and foregrounds

We have a number of posts on our blog about Joshua Tree.  Here is our last one about photographing sunrise at Barker Dam and our very popular Weekend in Joshua Tree.

To see more of (and buy) our photos, please go to 


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s