On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
Meteors, the Milky Way, Star trails – this post has it all. I told Bill maybe we should call this one “Something for Everyone!” He suggested “Give the People What They Want” (Kinks album/song) but I preferred the O’Jays version so we never did resolve that. ~WaterGirl
Fossil Falls has neither fossils or falls. It’s part of the large Coso lava field about midway between Ridgecrest and Owens Lake. At the end of the last Ice Age, as the glaciers melted off the Sierra large quantities of water flowed over these lava fields to lakes further south near present day Ridgecrest. Over time the lava eroded in one place to produce Fossil Falls. The area contains the Red Hill cinder cone, some interesting lava formations as well as really dark skies. The first set of photos were taken in July when I ventured up to Fossil Falls after shooting NEOWISE at the Red Cliffs. The second 2 shouts were taken about a month later when I went up to shoot the Perseid meteor shower.
If you think you’ve seen this star trail before, you have. I was unhappy with my earlier effort and reprocessed the star trail from the original sourse files. Polaris is almost directly over the Red Hill as the motion of the earth makes the stars appear to rotate around Polaris. To the left of the Red Hill you can see an orange glow in the sky, that’s the tail of NEOWISE.
While shooting star trails, I brought out my NX-500 and shot this Milky Way shot along the road. I lit the rocks and foliage in the foreground.
The Milky Way begins to set over the southern Sierra at Coso.
The Perseid meteor shower at Fossil Falls with the band of the Milky Way.
Star Trails among the lava at Fossil Falls.
Beautiful, Billin! I love star trail photos, and these are wonderful. The concentric circles always make me think I’m looking at the trunk of a very old cosmic tree ? — and the Milky Way in its glory never gets old. Thank you!
The last one is just off-centre enough to give a 3D effect, so that I at first thought I might be looking into a wormhole.
I wish we could see he Milky Way like this in real life.
Mingobat (f/k/a Karen in GA)
These are stunning.
@Baud: Not sure where you live, and I’m sure you already know the gist of this anyway, but the Milky Way in Bill’s Fossil Falls image looks like what you’d see with the naked eye from the parking lot at Brasstown Bald in North Georgia, and it’s just a couple of hours outside Atlanta with all of its sprawl and light pollution.
It’s a shame that most people can’t see it where they live anymore, but for a lot of people, if they don’t mind some driving, it’s a nice night out.
The first Milky Way photo is great!
Paul in St. Augustine
What are the lights against the base of the mountains at eye level in the middle photo?
Wonderful as always, Bill. That shot of the Sierras might be my favorite Milky Way shot ever.
@SiubhanDuinne: Thanks, I like star trails too.
@David Evans: I usually try to find a foreground element to center with Polaris, but sometimes that doesn’t work, but the effect can still be pleasing. In this case, I was shooting the meteors.
@Mingobat (f/k/a Karen in GA): In most locations were it’s dark enough to see the Milky Way it looks like a cloud stretching across the sky. In a really dark location it has more of a 3-D look and the stars have more of a yellow color. One thing we can’t see well is the reds in the nebula because our eyes don’t see dim red in the dark well. So you can’t see what the camera sees, it’s wonderous in it’s own right at a dark site.
@Laura Too: Thanks.
@Wag: I like that one better than the second, there’s some star trailing on the second shot.
@Paul in St. Augustine: Good question, I went back and looked at the source shots, they seem to be fixed between shots some I’m guessing a car or a house west of US-395.
@arrieve: I wanted to shoot some more shots with the Sierra further north this year, but the weather conspired against me this month.
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