Beautiful Joshua Tree Time Lapse Captures Ecosystem Endangered by Climate Change

In May of 2012, filmmaker and photographer Sungjin Ahn set out to capture something both beautiful and somewhat rare: the Joshua Tree.

But what began as a simple time-lapse of the trees — which can only be found in western Arizona, southeastern California, southern Nevada, and southwestern Utah — turned into something more for Ahn when he discovered that Joshua Tree National Park might someday lose the right to that name.

You see, the Joshua Tree, scientifically speaking Yucca brevifolia, is “one of the species predicted to have their range reduced and shifted by climate change.” And so while he hopes that viewers will enjoy the beautiful shots of sunsets and landscapes dominated by the trees, for Ahn, the meaning runs deeper than that.


Climate change may someday in the not-so-distant future mean that there are no more Joshua trees in Joshua Tree National Park, and so Ahn realized that this time-lapse could someday be seen as more than art, but a documentary piece as well.

“I thought it would be a good idea to record the beautiful Joshua trees before it is reduced or it might be gone from the park,” explains Ahn.

So check out the beautiful time-lapse above, try and resist the urge to plan a trip to Joshua Tree National Park once you’re done (or don’t… we won’t hold it against you) and if you like what you see, head over to Ahn’s Flickr and/or Facebook for more beautiful photography.

(via Doobybrain)

  • The Seasoned Avenger

    Oh brother.
    Joshua Tree Park also home to that famous fowl Chicken Little? Quick, get a photo before he disappears into a roasted puddle of A.G.W. caused Chicken Soup as well.

  • Fullstop

    What happened to global warming? Oh right, it didn’t get hot like they said it would. Now the weather changes all the time so we can just call it “climate change” and make everyone (except china and india two of the world’s biggest polluters) pay a tax to fix the earth. Thanks Al!

  • MS

    I think, like in the 90’s….timelapses were cool and unique. Now after seeing countless on Petapixel I can’t even sit through 15 seconds.

  • tyrohne

    The sky is warming! THE SKY IS WARMING!!! Meanwhile, agit-prop spinners of AGW continue to buy coastal mansion (ungreen) properties at a rapid clip.

  • Wilderness Hiker

    I hike there in the winter. It is heartbreaking to see the blackened shriveled Joshua trees. They are like canaries in the coal mine, and we ignore them at our peril.

  • zlop

    Global warming is last century — this century, Ice Age will begin.

  • zlop

    Must be global something, that can be taxed, to save the tree.

  • Bill

    Cool sarcasm, I’m glad that everyone sees this “global warmin'” as the hoax that it is. I just don’t get why perpetrate the hoax in the first place. Could someone please offer a theory as to why.

  • Marek Alliksoo

    Because it’s such a huge money maker.
    Do you know that countries in the EU that pollute less can sell their polluting quota to other countries? How the hell is that “saving the planet”?
    We kill our own economy with this while China just keeps taking over the world.

  • The Seasoned Avenger

    Hahaha…good one.

  • The Seasoned Avenger

    Control. Control over peoples lives. Control over every aspect of capitalism and business. Control over energy production. Cap and Trade is pure control. Legislation is pure control. The media message and framing of the debate is pure control.
    It is seen as the superhighway to controlling the “ignorant” populace through taxation of carbon, restrictions on production of goods and services, and through modification of individuals behavior for the “greater good” by using the Statists power centers; the force of the Federal Government, the EPA, and a sympathetic Hollywood and Media.
    Godless Statists and Social Controllers use an emotional appeal based upon protection of their “religion” (Mother Nature and Mother Earth). They are fervent believers in their religious doctrine (Global Warming) preached by their “clergy” (Climate Scientists) and see it was the ultimate righteous weapon to conquer and civilize the “savages” (Global Warming Deniers and Disbelievers). The modern-day Crusades are underway all around us.

    Power and Control. Nothing more.

  • lidocaineus

    Did this comment section get invaded by crazy people today?

  • The Seasoned Avenger

    Don’t be too hard on yourself, mental health is no laughing matter. Seek help.

  • lidocaineus

    If you would like to have intelligent discourse about the article, by all means, speak intelligently.

  • Keith Benghazi

    geoengineering is the real threat

  • 3ric15

    Actually it still is warming. Averages are going up, that is. Don’t believe me? According to the NOAA, “[October] 344th consecutive month with a global temperature above the 20th century average.”

  • Alex

    Where do you see them at? I live here and go to Joshua Tree every weekend and see no blackened shriveled Joshua Trees.

  • Fullstop

    Someone told him about it or better yet he read it on the internet, so it must be true.

  • John Q

    Great. My lovely PetaPixel site for PHOTOGRAPHY has to let someone go on a rant about Global Warming. Please Please Please don’t let this be a trend.

  • Tammy