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  • Sunset at Mojave Desert in Twentynine Palms, CA

If you enjoy photography and are fascinated by the desert night sky, this two-day hands-on workshop is for you! Noted TWAN sky photographer Dennis Mammana will teach participants how to use even the simplest of cameras to create magnificent celestial portraits without resorting to composites and fakery. The class will begin with tips for setting up and shooting the night sky including a few personal tricks of the trade. That evening, participants will head to the park to try out their new knowledge under the real night sky. The next morning, the class will look at images from the previous night, discuss their pros and cons, and try out some basic image processing techniques in Adobe Lightroom that will make your photos pop. Any camera, digital or film, will work, if it can be adjusted manually, used with a tripod, remote control, and can take exposures of 15, 30, or more seconds. Students should have a good working knowledge of their equipment prior to taking this class. Students need to provide their own camera, tripod, camera equipment, and dress in layers as the nights can be cold.

Please bring a flash drive to share a field class image or two with the class on Sunday, if you’d like to get some personal tips.

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Join us for a day of photography in two special desert places off the beaten track: Whitewater Preserve, and Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve. From the Whitewater River, to McCallum pond in an oasis of California fan palms, you’ll experience the beauty of water in the desert. Winter is an excellent season to photograph the low desert, with its cool temperatures, longer shadows and views of distant peaks.

The day consists of photographic field sessions, group instruction and one-on-one assistance from your instructor. Your questions will be answered! You’ll learn tips and techniques for controlling sharpness, exposure, making panoramic photographs, and using lenses, along with creative exercises in photographing the desert landscape. Class begins in the morning close to the rugged cliffs of Whitewater Preserve. After lunch, we relocate to Thousand Palms Oasis Preserve for afternoon field sessions among stately palms. Hiking at each preserve is easy – to moderate; we’ll be walking on trails that are mainly level. Participants are encouraged to bring a tripod with their camera(s)

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Stretch your legs and enjoy the spectacular scenery of the Cottonwood Mountains with Ted Reeves, in this all-day field class. Reeves will discuss the geologic history of Joshua Tree National Park, and the rocks and plants of the Cottonwood Mountains. We will also discuss some human history of the Cottonwood Spring area during the late 1800s. Participants will walk six miles through the rolling hills of the Colorado Desert to see mills, mines, and more. Along the trail, Reeves will share the adaptations of plants and animals to the desert environment. A portion of the walk will follow a prominent freight road built in the 1880s. Attendees will learn what is known about the road’s creation and use. Don’t miss the opportunity to learn how geology is connected to cultural history at Cottonwood Spring!

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This hike is just the hike for those still a little intimated by Joshua Tree’s vastness: easy, informative, and just the right length. Beginning at the Pine City backcountry board, this trail is less traveled and one of Joshua Tree’s nicest “hidden” treasures. It’s an architectural confection of Joshua Tree’s famous high desert plants, its human history, and monster artful boulders, leading to an expansive view of the low desert. We’ll have lunch in a nearby pinyon pine burst of greenery and shade, then take an additional side-foray to the Desert Queen Mine, with a tale of its dramatic mining past.

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Join us for an opportunity to stay in an exceptional part of the California Desert and devote three days to making new photographs. The class is based at the Desert Studies Center, south of Baker, CA. The Center— also known as Zzyzx (zy-zix)— lies inside in the Mojave National Preserve and is a former health spa with interesting buildings, palms, ponds, springs, plus fine views of Soda Dry Lake and desert mountains. Special emphasis is placed on photography in the field to allow students to work with color, light, shapes, and textures of the desert at an unhurried pace. On one half-day field session we’ll photograph lava beds and a Joshua tree forest. Two night photography sessions are scheduled to take advantage of dark skies over Zzyzx. Instructional topics include: exposure, making panoramic photographs, HDR photography, controlling image sharpness.

Hiking on field sessions easy – to moderate. Participants are encouraged to bring a tripod with their cameras.

This field study is based at the Desert Studies Center (of California State University) located within the Preserve at Soda Springs (Zzyzx), about a three-hour drive from Joshua Tree. The course fee includes two nights’ lodging at the Center and meals starting with dinner on Friday through breakfast on Sunday. Upon enrollment, you will be sent detailed information about the Center and what to bring.

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Joshua Tree and environs are well known for the burgeoning artist community that has been drawn here. The local contemporary art scene is vibrant and a healthy companion to the music community that has flourished in the area. Bernard Leibov, Director of BoxoPROJECTS, takes us though his highlights of the local cultural scene. After an introduction and orientation in the classroom, Bernard will take us on the road to visit several of the interesting art sites in the area.

Introduction
a docent-led tour of Noah Purifoy Outdoor Museum
a visit to the public sculptures at A-Z West, the experiment in living by Andrea Zittel
lunch and a tour at BoxoPROJECTS, home to a residency program as well as the Joshua Treenial
studio visits with local artists
cap the day off with a stop at Art Queen and local art galleries

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The desert floor may look like dirt and sand but it is full of living small and microscopic organisms vital to the park’s ecosystem. Many of these organisms live in biological highly active soil crusts that cover the first inch of the desert soil surface. In this field class Nat Pombububpa, Julia Adam, and Tania Kurbessoian will introduce crypto-biotic soil crusts with an emphasis on fungi, soil algae, and lichens. Participants will study the secret life of these microscopic organisms as they demystify this thin layer of soil. This class will discuss the components of crusts such as cyanobacteria (one of the oldest known life forms on earth), green algae, diatoms, bacteria, fungi, and lichens. During the lab session, participants will see the biodiversity of the park’s crusts up close through two different types of microscopes. On the second day, the class will go into the field to identify and assess the condition of several types of algal and lichen soil crust communities found in Joshua Tree National Park.

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Grab your camera and put on your hiking boots for this intensive all-day photo shoot in Joshua Tree National Park! Craig Fucile will guide the class in seeing the natural beauty of the park through the camera lens. The class will begin with early morning light at the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve followed by a mid-morning instructional program at Black Rock Canyon Visitor Center. The afternoon session will relocate to a special “photographers only” session at Keys Ranch, focusing on how to capture the buildings and historic remnants at this remarkable homestead. Fucile will share tips on how to record unique rock formations and vast views of the park. Participants are encouraged to bring a tripod with their camera(s).
Class size limited to 12 participants, so sign up early!

This class is sponsored by the Big Morongo Canyon Preserve.

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Get started painting in watercolor, or improve with solid basic skills for creating realistic watercolors that glow and pop. Learn to add drama and impact starting with a strong image and using good color choices to make the subject take center stage. Learn color mixing both on the palette and on the paper. Rather than boring exercises, techniques will be learned while actually creating a finished painting. Often called the most difficult of mediums, there are plenty of tricks and tips in watercolor to help correct mistakes and re-work an area that is less than the desired result. Class format is a step-by-step process that incorporates demonstrations of one small section of the painting at time throughout the class time. Photos of the subject matter are provided and every student will be painting the same painting. The class is interspersed with several demonstrations, then time to paint as instructed. Each student will receive one-on-one guidance along the way. Bring your enthusiasm and go home inspired. Supplies not included, but are available for purchase for an extra $25 directly from the instructor.

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California is a state defined by plate tectonics, motion, continental drift, and subduction zones. Join geologist Ted Reeves as he explains the origin and effects of the San Andres Fault system. Reeves will unfold the geologic story of the Indio Hills, the Mecca Hills and SaltonTrough in this all-day field class. Participants will meet at the Coachella Valley Preserve and walk a short distance to see fault features. We will then travel to Box Canyon and Painted Canyon and observe spectacular faults and folds where the Pacific plate is forcing up the Mecca Hills. Reeves will illuminate fault-related features in the field with special emphasis on physical deformations of the landscape. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to explore the San Andreas fault zone and the palm oases!

Register today!

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Know Before You Go

Your health and safety is the top priority for our hospitality businesses. In accordance with State/County guidelines we kindly remind you to wear your face mask/covering, practice healthy hand-washing, maintain a safe social distance, and postpone travel if you are sick.

Together, our everyday actions can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.