CHOLLA. There are more than 20 species of Cholla cactus in the North American deserts. In Spanish, double "L" is pronounced as "y”. So cholla is pronounced "choy-ya". The cholla is sometimes referred to as "jumping cholla" because the spines seem to "jump" on to you as you pass by. Some people believe this is a myth but those who have been attacked by these painful thorns aren't so sure.

Joshua Tree National Park is located about 150 miles east of Los Angeles and is a world away. It was recently promoted to National Park status in recognition of the need to preserve its unique features. One treasure is the Cholla Cactus Garden.

The Cholla Cactus Garden is a natural garden, not planted. The cholla are are scattered over a small but spectacular area. I drove for hours in the dark to arrive at the Cholla Cactus Garden before sunrise. When the sun rose, the light was strong and bright, highlighting the very sharp thorns of the cholla, and shading the hills in the background.

This photograph was shot with a 4x5 view camera with 210mm lens on color negative film. I scanned the film and used Adobe Photoshop to adjust the final image.

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