Ocotillos in Joshua Tree National Park


Well-Known Member
These two photos come from Joshua Tree National Park in April 2021. I was on a motorcycle trip with two friends from Palm Springs. One of these friends has an affinity for the ocotillo plant, a semi-succulent native to the southwest, so we took a break from riding in this part of the park where ocotillos stand. While wandering around in motorcycle leathers, I got into photography mode. I had never heard of ocotillos before this day but since then, I've seen how colorful these desert plants can be. Now I love seeing them!

f/10 1/250 ISO 100



Staff member
Very nice Michael! I like how you worked the shadows in #1. And the desert view with an Octillo is always cool to see!

I have actually found Octillo's very hard to capture with a camera. They are so beautiful to view, especially when in bloom. But the blooms and leaves are on the very edges of those very long branches usually, so for me personally I am not sure I have ever captured one that when I got back home and looked on it at the monitor that it felt as grand as it did in person. Maybe that's just me?


I like how you used B&W to emphasize the contrast of the long ocotillo branches and surrounding desert brush.

This is a pretty common plant in the desert surrounding where I grew up in Phoenix and I agree that when they are in bloom they are quite colorful although as Jim mentioned not an easy photo target.
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