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.