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.
As the new moon approached, it was time to head out to the desert. I caravaned to Fossil Falls with another photographer with the goal of capturing a full Milky Way arch (a starbow). I got everything prepared at the parking lot and we found a good spot with a nice foreground of rocks to shoot. After shooting the sky and doing some light painting of the nearby lava rocks, we waited until twilight to get some better light for the more distant foreground.
The next weekend, I headed to Red Rock alone to capture (this was more of a proof of concept since I’d never attempted it before) a 360 degree panorama that I could use for a Tiny Planet projection. It took about 2 1/2 hours to shoot (520 exposures) the sky and the foreground and I actually ended up shooting the foreground past astronomical twilight and had to match up the exposure on the final panels in the panorama.
This is a test shot at the parking lot, I’ve been testing out some new software that will reduce noise in high ISO exposure so I thought I’d give it a try on this test shot.
The full Milky Way arch with a light painted foreground, I really need to get to Fossil Falls in the daytime to find some more compelling rocks, but I think this does work well. The light pollution at the right hand side of the shot is from Ridgecrest and the dim glow just left of center is a geothermal plant.
My first attempt at a Tiny Planet projection with the Milky Way, this is from a 180 degree shot, so the arch turns into more of a circle. This did inspire me to head out again to attempt a full 360 degree panorama.
The most compelling foreground element at Fossil Falls is the Red Hill, a volcanic cinder cone that sits along US395. Unfortunately this view looks north and the Milky Way arch is to the east, so I’ve slid the arch about 90 degrees to the north.
After I put together the twilight foreground panorama for the Milky Way shot, I thought I could use this as a standalone shot of the twilight view at Fossil Falls.
The next weekend I headed to Red Rock to shoot a 360 degree panorama. While I was shooting the sky portion, some young folk were shinning a very bright floodlight on the cliffs in blue and purple(you can see a slight purple hue above the left side of the cliffs). The light pollution on the right is from Lancaster/Palmdale and the light pollution in the center is from Ridgecrest.
While the 360 degree panorama is nice, the goal was to do a Tiny Planet projection. I placed the Red Cliffs as the focal point at the top since they’re more to the north(actually northwest). You can see the traffic trace of CA14 along the left side of the image.
Again, I felt compelled to slide the Milky Way arch over about 90 degrees to create this image of the Milky Way and the Red Cliffs.
I’ll always love the star shots most.
@Baud: Thanks, I’ve been reprocessing some old shots today and hope to take some new shots in the next week or so. It’s the right phase of the moon now, if the weather cooperates.
Very cool, as always. The tiny planet shots with the Milky Way are kinda mind boggling.
So pretty, thanks!
Now that i have looked at the photos on a larger screen, the second tiny planet photo has a face on the left horizon. Very fun!
@Wag: Thanks, once I get the 360° they’re pretty easy to create, it’s the first part that’s hard(taking the shots and processing).
@Laura Too: Thanks, glad you like them.
@Wag: They really look better bigger, I’m not sure I see the face.
Always such beautiful photos.