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Pioneertown – Great Place for Photography

If you’ve never heard of Pioneertown, get familiar with it now. It is located 5 miles west off Highway 62, in the California desert of Yucca Valley.

Originally built as a movie set in 1946 for western films, Pioneertown still has the facades that are begging to be photographed. The movies of Gene Autry, The Cisco Kid, Annie Oakley, Judge Roy Bean, and Range Rider, among others were filmed here. You will find Mane Street (that’s not a spelling error – it’s named after the mane of a horse) a lot of fun to discover and photograph. The surrounding desert provides inspiration as well. Boulders, yucca trees, cactus, and vast expanses of landscape beg your lens to point their way. The sunsets are spectacular. I suggest staying over night at the funky Pioneertown Inn and catching some live music at Pappy and Harriets’s Pioneertown Palace in the evening. A bonus when you are tapping your feet at P & H’s is the excellent BBQ offered at the picnic style tables in the restaurant. During the cooler months in winter and spring, go bowling at the 2 lane alley at Pioneer Bowl.

Pioneertown Sunset

When you have your shots of Pioneertown and the surrounding area, drive up the road and spend the day in the famous Joshua Tree National Park. The spectacular desert scenery is unique. It’s topography exists nowhere else in the world, and attracts tourists from all nations.  Rock climbing and hiking are favorite activities in JT. Check out this list of nature walks. You will need more than a day to visit them all.

In Hidden Valley, Joshua Tree National Park

I could continue writing about this area for several pages. The music scene, the antique shops, the artist open studio tours and the budding film festival.  I’d rather you get out there and discover it for yourself. Share you photos with me when you do.


About Gina Genis

Hi Friends, I'm a photographer and artist who lives in Washington DC. I have two blogs. The Gina Genis Blog is about art and photography. My new blog, DC Discoveries is dedicated to showing you everything from fashion to art, food to entertainment in all sections of the District. I hope you will take the journey with me. I exhibit my work in museums and galleries across the U.S. I'm included in the permanent collections of the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, the Otto G. Richter Library Special Collections Division of the University of Miami, Hard Rock Casino, Orange County Transit District, IBM, and the Sarah and Adam Markman Collection among others. My series "Window Peeping" was included in OsCene 2010 at the Laguna Art Museum, Truman State University, Fellows of Contemporary Art, Biola University, and solo shows at Gallery 825 and Cypress College. The "June Gloom" series was exhibited in a solo show at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. The "Kala" series has been exhibited at MPLS Photo Center, Cypress College, and Gallery 825. "Economy Portraits" was created as an Artist In Residence project at the Huntington Beach Art Center, and was awarded "Best Art Show of 2011" by the OC Weekly. I curated Wide Angle View, an exhibit of 16 international, award-winning photo and multi-media journalists at the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art to much critical acclaim. Recent reviews of my work have appeared in the Huffington Post, Art Scene, OC Weekly, Orange County Register, New University, Riviera Magazine, Coast Magazine, Huntington Beach Independent, and appeared on CNN, NBC, ABC, and more. I lead the Gina Genis Photo Workshops where I show beginning and intermediate photographers how to jump to the next level with their work. I also teach online photography courses through The Compelling Image.

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