Joshua Tree National Park in 3D


“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.”

—MARK TWAIN, Following the Equator


THUMBS UP to Truth for having blessed us with a landscape of unique, 85 million year old rock art. This little White Tank monzogranite formation gives you an idea what you will find when you drive through Joshua Tree National Park. Surprises. Mystery. Something different around every bend, maybe a discovery that will elicit a wry chuckle. Consider it a spider, the thumb rock concealed behind Hidden Valley picnic area of Lost Horse Valley. A spider, lying in wait patiently for any curious visitors—or the unwary 3D photographer like myself—to be whisked into his lacework nexis.

2D (Click to Enlarge) ↓

DSCF7573 2D

↓ 3D Anaglyph3D Glasses 02 250 pixels

DSCF7573 3D anaglyph

Hidden Valley Picnic Area. El. 4172ft. GPS 34° 0’34.12″N 116°10’10.81″W

There are any number of “Specimen” images from over 27,000 JTNP 3D photos I have taken that could be used to illustrate Joshua Tree 3D’s home page. I hope you will enjoy this one for starters. But check back regularly, since I plan on rotating them. The monzogranite thumb is one of my favorites. This particular shot was taken in October 2013, at the start of golden hour, hence the warm afternoon hues.

In the distance, for those familiar with Lost Horse Valley, rises ancient Ryan Mountain. Ryan can be seen from many spots throughout the park. Climb it if you dare. The vistas are breath-taking. Use it as your marker during your visit to JTNP. Geologists believe that Ryan Mountain’s rocks date back one and one-half billion years. They are not monzogranite. They are Pinto gneiss (pronounced “nice”). Along Ryan’s base, and jutting out from the darker hillside just beyond the thumb, is a popular rock-climbing formation, Saddle Rocks. You will see it up close when driving the loop road from the park’s West Entrance.

Finally, the eponymous Joshua Trees (Yucca brevifolia). What can we say about them. They are numerous through the higher elevations of the park, and varied in their alien postures, as though silent pantomimists acting out their story. Be sure to visit the Joshua Tree Superbloom links under the Galleries tab above. National Park Service Joshua Tree LINK

“Mom, Pop and the Kids” visiting relatives at Towers of Uncertainty

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2016 Superbloom Tree, Black Rock Hi-View Trail

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Comparison 2D ♦ 3D Anaglyph ♦ 3D Stereo (H-SBS)

(Click to view full size)

Viewing Anaglyph 3D Photos & Videos

To view the Anaglyph 3 Dimensional photographs on this website requires special red/cyan glasses. Walmart sells them in the US; or ask your local camera shop; they are available online everywhere and are quite inexpensive. Popular for watching 3D Youtube videos. The cheap cardboard ones will do fine in a pinch, and are suitable for children. I recommend the larger black plastic framed ones with the geeky straight—not curved “Joe Cool”—frames if you need to slip them over your reading or TV-watching prescription glasses.

3D Glasses 02 250 pixels 3D Anaglyph glasses


Sample Hidden Valley Picnic Area gallery. 3D Anaglyph. Golden Hour, 23 October 2013. [Note: There are 107 photos in complete set. Available on request.]


Slideshow of all Photos on this page. 3D Anaglyph. [Hover mouse over image area to pause. Move mouse to side of screen while viewing.]

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Viewing Stereo 3D Photos & Videos

FOR TRUE 3D ENJOYMENT, however, a television made specifically for 3D movies and content is the preferred way to see stereoscopic images. Throughout this website, I’ve supplied Half Side-by-Side (H-SBS) image galleries separate from the Anaglyph 3Ds. If you have a 3D TV and are familiar with displaying them in H-SBS format, you can click on them to save the full-size JPG files.

Full size is key! Full detail, the H-SBS images can be viewed on any 3D 1080p wide-screen TV, as well as on the newer 4K models. Many are close to 4K resolution, technically 2016p. Put them on a USB flash drive. Insert the drive in the USB port on the side of your 3D television. Switch on the Half Side-by-Side function from the television’s Main Menu, and wear the manufacturer’s provided passive or active 3D glasses (not the red/cyan glasses).

Complete Zip-file Sets of the various treks in 1080p or 2016p H-SBS are available upon request. The more extensive series, such as Hidden Valley, can run 1.5gb to 3.4gb in size and include many hundreds of photographs per Zip file.


Sample 3D Stereo H-SBS image. Click to Enlarge. Save to USB Flash Drive and view on a 3D TV

Bonus Image ♦ Uploaded 2014 Dec 23

2D ♦ 3D Anaglyph ♦ 3D Stereo (H-SBS)

3D Glasses 02 250 pixels  ↑

Early afternoon, one day after the shortest day of the year where contrasting shadows are most striking. Marvel when you see the remarkable depth compared to the flatter 2D image. (The 3D Half Side-by-Side, viewable on a 3D TV, retains all of the original hues, depth, and detail.)

3D Glasses 02 250 pixels

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GPS 33°58’34.03″N 116° 5’18.02″W

Bonus Image ♦ Uploaded 2015 May 1

Lovely nolinas in full bloom. There were three grouped here, and a fourth mere steps away. A full gallery can be found at the North Wonderland page HERE.

(Click to Enlarge or Right-click to SAVE LINK AS and grab the enlarged image)


3D Anaglyph ♦ 3D Stereo (H-SBS)

3D Glasses 02 250 pixels  ↑

Final Note

Please spend a few minutes reviewing the “3D Basics” link to get a fuller understanding what this website is all about. Thank you for visiting! Feel free to share the photographs.

John Murbach (a.k.a. Murbachi to a certain irascible Cali49 photographer)

Temple City, California

 Murbachi & acquaintance

Red Barrel Cactus. I understand that these grow to between 10 and 15 feet in the Arizona desert. This is the largest one I’ve photographed in Joshua Tree, and is likely a couple of hundred years old. Usually they are the size of soccer balls, except for the wee baby ones.


Throughout this site, reference is made to a certain fine fellow whose handle is “E!” As you see, he likes high places. He’s an amateur sleuth on the gold mining activity at JTNP. Visit him at Cali49 to see his fast-expanding galleries of JTNP, Highway 49 in California’s Gold Country, and the vast Mojave Desert, along with his publications. For now, this is E!, doing what he does best, getting a bird’s eye view.

E! surveying his domain




While photographing one day in the Far East of Wonderland of Rocks, I waved to this strange gentleman, who came striding up to me in a friendly sort of way. Using primitive hand-gestures and grunts, I made known to him that I wished him to take my picture. Next, I took his. He is one of the last remaining of his species, Homo neanderthalensis, sub. spinykissida, according to Experts, and indigenous to JTNP. I have nicknamed him Bucko.

Posted 2014 Aug 18

Updated 2018 May


2 thoughts

  1. Awesome 3D – your work is some of the best I’ve seen in this format! Wonderful website, wonderful information overall, interesting and very generous of you to share too!

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