New Release: “Joshua Trees, Cholla, Granite Boulders, Joshua Tree National Park”

February 3rd, 2011 by David Leland Hyde Leave a reply »

Now At New Release Pricing For A Limited Time: “Joshua Trees, Cholla, Granite Boulders, Joshua Tree National Park, California, 1977” Philip Hyde Authorized Special Edition Numbered Archival Fine Art Digital Prints

Philip Hyde only printed two 8X10 dye transfer prints of “Yucca, Cholla, Granite Boulders, Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave Desert, California, 1977.” The two dye transfer prints both sold in 1977. Now for the first time since 1977, “Yucca, Joshua Tree” is available as a fine art print again. Now at New Release Pricing.

The Making of “Joshua Trees, Cholla, Granite Boulders, Joshua Tree National Park, California, 1977”

Yucca, Cholla, Granite Boulders, Joshua Tree National Park, Mojave Desert, California, 1977 by Philip Hyde.

(See the photograph full screen Click Here.)

In April 1977, by the time my mother Ardis Hyde, my father landscape photographer Philip Hyde and I made it to Joshua Tree National Monument, now Joshua Tree National Park, in our GMC Truck with Utility Body and Avion Camper, my mother wrote in her travel log that we had visited Alan Hoeny’s gallery in Tahoe City, which was successfully selling Dad’s prints. We also had scrambled on the rocks at the water’s edge at Lake Tahoe and watched the moon rise over Mono Lake. At Mono Lake Mom picked watercress for a salad from the stream flowing from under the Tufa Towers.

We stopped in Independence to see the Eastern California Museum, Dad photographed in the Alabama Hills and we watched the rising full moon make a partial eclipse while Mom read “A Tale of Two Cities” to us out loud. When we drove over Cajon Pass, it was the first time we had done so since the new freeway had obscured the old road. In San Bernardino Dad and I explored the railroad yards, large train station and defunct round house complete with a huge 2-8-8-2 Mallet steam engine on display.

At Anza Borrego Desert State Park we followed a track to a wash that looked solid and began to back in for good parking. The wash turned out to be soft under a solid crust and in a minute one wheel was stuck. It was about 6 pm and getting dark fast. Dad jacked up the camper and put plywood under the wheel. Soon we lurched about three feet forward and dug in again. It was too dark to see now, so Dad gave up until morning when he thought he would go for help. Mom fixed dinner and we slept in the camper leaning to one side.

The red sun rose at 5:30 am and “turned to apricot with the clouds responding in like colors as a big white full moon set on the other side of the sky. Dad had a good idea during the night to lay our rugs and duffle bags in the wheel path past the two plywood pieces. By 6:30 am we were out as the wheels rolled over the rugs and duffle bags perfectly. It was already hot when we reached the Palm Canyon parking lot at 6:30 am. Mom carried the lunch pack and Dad as usual lugged his 4X5 Baby Deardorf view camera on his wooden Reis tripod and his shoulder bag. Dad made picture stops right away. The flowers were gone but the Ocotillo was in bloom and the stream flowed with water bordered by lush grass and clover under the palm trees. The Birds sang abundantly. We ran across a large rattle snake in a striking twist on a rocky ledge “taking us in,” Mom wrote in the travel log. “He held his curvy pose for us to see him well. His most notable feature were the black and white bands at the base of his tale. We learned later that he was a Diamond Back Rattlesnake.”

Dad stopped many other times for flower photographs in Palm Canyon and after leaving Borrego Desert State Park on the way to Joshua Tree. We stopped at Haflin Date Grove for date milkshakes. At Joshua Tree we picked out a $2.00 campsite at Belle Campground. Most of the next day we explored around the campground area while Dad photographed wildflowers, boulders, Yucca and Joshua Trees. We then drove around on a survey of all the campgrounds from White Tank to Ryan and back to Belle Campground for an early stop at a nice spot with neighbors on only one side. I watched rock climbers scaling a wall while Dad photographed and Mom made cornbread. Mom’s log continued:

We left a marker at our campsite and drove to Live Oak. The Canterbury Bells bloomed in abundance among the rocks. David climbed the one big oak tree in the wash. We drove out the Queen Valley Road to the road head then walked over to Desert Queen Overlook and back in a few minutes. There was a cool breeze but the country was not very interesting in the light of noon day. After lunch we started out on foot to the Pine Springs area. We came into Pinion pines and Nolinas (related to Agave) in increasing profusion and various stages of bloom unfolding, from bud on the stalk to last year’s dry filigreed skeletons. At the huge boulder ridge after Philip made photographs of the boulders, we took the fork in the trail to the mine shafts. We followed the trail track to its end across country filled with attractive boulder lanes where there were other trail forks, eventually circling back to the camper and driving back to last night’s camp space we had reserved.

The following day proved less photographically productive again due to flat light. Mom finished reading “A Tale of Two Cities” at lunch.  In the afternoon we saw another type of rattlesnake that turned out to be a Mitchell’s rattlesnake with faint banding. We also saw a Rosy Boa near the path we set out on to explore. We walked through an area that had been recently burned and came to a surprising large amount of water in nice reflecting pools. Dad used up all but one sheet of film. He reloaded the next day before leaving for the Kelso Dunes. More on the Kelso Dunes and other Mojave Desert attractions of the 1977 trip in another blog post.



  1. pj says:

    You were truly fortunate to experience these journeys as a young man. Growing up with those experiences can’t help but influence the rest of our lives.

    Joshua Tree is high on my list of places to get to know while I’m in California. Those boulders have me drooling in anticipation…

  2. Hi PJ, thank you for the comment. We were indeed fortunate, as most children for several generations now have no experience in nature and no idea where to start to get to know the natural world. Many people believe that doing activities like feeding wildlife is connecting with nature. That is the level of awareness of the wild we see now. I am glad that you like what Dad did with the boulders there. I hope you find some of your own boulders at Joshua Tree to make your shutters sing.

  3. Greg Boyer says:

    I always enjoy your stories of your families travels and adventures.

    I didn’t get to the “Great Outdoors” until in my very early twenties. But once there I was never to be the same again. I was able to expose my children to the outdoors at a very early age. I took my daughter hiking in the Sierra Nevada at eighteen months of age. She is now grown with children of her own and is an avid camper and explorer, as well as a home schooler.

    Thank you for another good article. You might consider an e-book of your families travels and adventures from the perspective of a young boy. I would find it very worthwhile.

  4. Hi Greg, thank you for the advice and inspiring tales of your family. There will be books.

  5. Greg Russell says:

    David, this is a great image. I really enjoy the stories of the making of these images from your perspective too.

    Greg’s idea is a good one.


  6. Hi Greg, thank you. Some of the later stories will be more from my perspective. I plan to do a great deal of publishing in many forms, while also ensuring the highest possible presentation quality. I will be researching and making decisions on methods and platforms over the next year or two.

  7. Superb shot of Joshua Tree NP, David. The light is incredible.

    This was a very enjoyable read.


  8. Thank you for reading, Sharon, and your compliments to Dad as well.

  9. I enjoyed reading this, David! How lucky you were to travel with your folks and to be able to see great places such as these!

    I was just at Live Oak on Sunday with my workshop. I’m betting it is much larger than when you climbed it as a lad!

    Thanks for sharing these stories.

  10. Hi Michael, I keep seeing your mountain and desert workshops and wishing I was there. I hope also to make it to Live Oak in Joshua Tree National Park again someday soon and see how the tree and I measure up to each other.

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