cactus makes perfect | two desert family sessions in joshua tree

Since moving to Los Angeles, I've made a (very long) list of places I need to visit and photograph, and at the top was Joshua Tree National Park. With its storied landscape of vast desert terrain (it's about the size of the state of Rhode Island!), awe-inspiring rock formations, and Seuss-like trees, I knew I had to find an excuse to head east and explore—ideally with a family or two who would be game for some picture-taking. Enter the six beautiful people pictured in the images below—a group of friends separated by over 3,000 miles (one resides in San Francisco, the other in Brooklyn) who decided to vacation together in Palm Springs and treat themselves with a dual family session in Joshua Tree. (I audibly shrieked when this shoot came to fruition.)

I drove there and back from Los Angeles in one day (and thus became one with my podcast lineup), and the trip was worth every single minute of solo car time. After spending several hours with these darling little girls and their parents while experiencing this magical place as the sun set and cast that signature Cali glow, I have to say that this day was one of the most dreamy and surreal I've had since relocating to LA. And I have no doubt that this will be the first of many pilgrimages to the land of yuccas and geologic wonders. To both families who made my dreams of photographing here a reality, I cannot thank you enough for your adventurous spirits and support of my work. Until next time, JT.