Wildlife/herp photography tips in Joshua Tree National Park

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Wildlife/herp photography tips in Joshua Tree National Park

Post by dp_wild »

Hey everyone, I am going to be spending 3 days backpacking in Joshua Tree National Park along the Boy Scout Trail in a couple weeks. I am hoping to get some solid herp shots and obviously Desert Bighorns would be a big plus.

I was hoping to be able to get a good macro lens by then but it looks like that isnt in the cards. So my go to lens is going to be my Canon 300mm f/4. My only other lens is a 12-18mm super wide angle.

My main goal getting a good photograph of Chuckwalla. My hope is that the 300mm will keep my at a decent enough distance from spooking them (as my research have shown them to be pretty skittish), while their size will still fill the frame decently.

Anyone have experience photographing Chuckwallas in this section of the park? Have you had trouble finding them? Any other herps or non herps you think would be a good fit to try and photograph for the gear I have available?

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Re: Wildlife/herp photography tips in Joshua Tree National Park

Post by bgorum »

I've never photographed Chuckwallas at Joshua Tree, (actually I've only ever driven through the park), but I will pass on some advice learned from photographing them elsewhere. Try a trail that is pretty popular with hikers. The lizards will be used to seeing people on the trail and will not be as skittish as individuals in more remote area. For example, I've had a lot of success photographing Chuckwallas along the Borrogo Palm Canyon trail in Anza-Borrego State Park. I actually sat on a rock watching and photographing a large male and his mate on spring afternoon. Every time a hiker or group would walk past on the trail he would dart into his crevice, but come right back out as soon as they would pass. Since I was just sitting stationary om the rock the male seemed to accept and totally ignore me, going about his business, so long as no other hikers were passing by. The female, oddly never came out of her crevice though I had no problems photographing a different female a little further down the trail that same afternoon.

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