It is early morning as I turn right on Park Blvd from US 62 (29 Palms Hwy). I am going to the west entrance of Joshua Tree National Park. The sun is slowly rising from the east, as I drive on the two lane winding road. Even though it is early, there are numerous cars already heading up to see a glimpse of the sun as it sends hues of orange onto the rocky peaks at Joshua Tree. At the visitor center I hand a copy of the film permit to the ranger. She looks over the paper work and directs me to Cap Rock. In same cases we have a monitor, since our crew size was small and I knew where we were going, we did not need a monitor. My clients were blown away, they had never seen anything like this in Canada. Cap Rock has is an interesting part of the park, there is a prominent rock formation about three hundred feet high surrounded by Joshua Trees. There is room for four motor homes or four buses and parking for fifteen cars.
The photographer went about searching for locations, I set up the motor home, in ten minutes the make-up artist was getting the model ready for the shot. The wardrobe stylist was steaming clothes and I was making some of my famous Starbucks coffee. It was cold, so I had the heater going to keep everyone warm in my RV. As the sun rose, even though it was winter, the high for the day was going to be 75 degrees. A nice contrast to the summer when temperatures can reach over a hundred degrees. As typical for a fashion shoot, we are always photographing for two season ahead, today the models would be wearing summer outfits, even though it was barely 50 degrees, at least for the moment.
What makes Joshua Tree an interesting location is there is nothing like it anywhere in California or in the U.S. In the winter time, storms from Alaska blanket the area with snow, the snow melts in a few hours except at the higher peaks. The summer can bring temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. There are thousands and thousands of Joshua Trees growing all over the park. Since there is such a contrast in temperatures, the ice breaks up the rocks creating a symmetry of rock formations much like a puzzle with all the wrong pieces put together. No matter what angle you film from, there is something different, something unique.
In terms of lodging, there is the Best Western Hotel in Yucca Valley 760 365 3555. The Best Western offers free breakfast and plenty of parking for large vehicles. If you enter the park from the East entrance (Utah Trail), there is the 29 Palms Inn 760 367 3505, in Twenty-nine Palms. It is an interesting place, with cottages with names like "Earthquake", the restaurant is awesome and there is a pool if you want to go swimming on a hot night or day. In terms of catering my favorite cater is Foxy Catering 760 641 4233.
Joshua Tree Park is about an hour from Palm Springs or three hours east of Los Angeles. If you want to get a film permit, which you will need, allow two to three weeks. If you have less time than two weeks make calls to the park often. Call Brittany Barkwell at 416 960 2959; or 647 302 3620 on her cell phone. If you have any questions about Joshua Tree or any places that look like JT, call me Michael Green 818 317 7099. I also provide motor homes, portables restrooms and location scouting.