Joshua Tree – An Afternoon in Solitude

Adobe SparkPhotography

I have finally embraced the fact that I’m an introvert. Not only do I like spending time alone, I need to spend time alone. If you surround me with people day after day, eventually, I will run out of “nice”.

I enjoy nature. And silence. Put the two together and that’s when I do my best creative work. So, when I had the opportunity to spend an afternoon driving through a national park by myself, I packed my camera gear, jumped in the car, and off I went.

I used Adobe Spark Page to assemble my favorite images from the afternoon and limited my editing to the “more traditional” photographic editing/toning workflow in Lightroom. (I find that setting limitations (as well as deadlines) enables me to actually publish the work in a timely manner!)

“I believe loneliness is a door you have to go through—a passage leading you to solitude. Solitude is what I’m after. The kind of tranquility that allows you access to your own imagination. Solitude helps you differentiate, define the borders of the self. Solitude helps you figure out where everybody else stops and you begin. Solitude is quite different from being alone. Solitude is the state of being alone without losing your mind.” ­­—Jeanne Marie Laskas


Below are some images from the project. The original, raw captures are on the left and the toned images are on the right. I used the Basic panel to set white balance, black and white points, increase shadows, decrease highlights, and increase Clarity. I used the Targeted Adjustment tool (in the HSL panel) to desaturate and darken the luminance of the sky.

In the next set of images, I used the Adjustment Brush to selectively dodge and burn the tips of the cacti and the pink flowers, and the Radial Filter to lighten the edges in the image of the cacti and darken the edges of the flower image.

For this last group of images (top images are original captures, bottom images are edited), working in Reference View (in the Develop module) made it much easier to compare images while adjusting HSL to unify the sky across the images. I really appreciate that I can create a collection in Lightroom CC, sync it to the cloud, and then access those files to quickly assemble my Spark Page.  Click here for a video that demonstrates how to create your own Adobe Spark Page.

Adobe Spark, Photography

Posted on 06-08-2017


  • By marie-Jeanne - 3:49 PM on June 8, 2017  

    Wonderful!! So many peaceful corners in this tomented world.

  • By Michael Matthews - 2:04 PM on June 9, 2017  

    Beautiful! I hope you find more opportunities like this. Your output in one afternoon would take most people days…maybe weeks.

  • By Stephen - 10:47 PM on June 12, 2017  

    Hey! Julieanne, Amazed to see before and after combination! Keep it up with more opportunities

  • By Martin Coward - 4:54 AM on June 13, 2017  

    Your simple approach to edit is the same as the one I tend to start with. One question is- why do you not like blue sky? I see the different blues in the originals and they are more alike in the edits but how does this relate to your finished project?