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I’ve shared with you photos from Fossil Falls in these pages before, startrails with the Red Hill as a foreground and a meteor shower. But in all my trips to Fossil Falls I’d never taken the trail all the way to the “falls”. The “falls” were created by the Owens river eroding a layer of lava during the end of the last Ice Age as the glaciers receded from the Sierras. Now days they are pretty much dry, hence the name Fossil Falls.
These photos are actually from two trips to Fossil Falls, the first was a stop on the way to the Cottonwood Kilns and the next was a group Milky Way shoot the following weekend. The day shots from the first visit were taken with my Galaxy Camera 2 and were converted to RAW format to aid in processing the shots. The night shots from the group shoot the next Saturday were taken with my NX1.
It’s a pretty short hike from the parking lot to the “falls”, which cut a deep and narrow valley in the lava field. The mountains of the Coso volcanic field can be seen in the background.
The valley widens out as it leads to Little Lake, a small lake along side US-395. The southern Sierra Nevada’s lie in the distance.
One of the reasons I wanted to stop at Fossil Falls on our first trip up was to scout out locations with interesting lava formations for the next week’s shoot. I actually ended up shooting at a location I scouted out that evening.
I’d seen photos of this little arch and wanted to find it to see if it’d be a good foreground for a Milky Way shot, unfortunately it’s more to the northeast (the Milky Way core is to the southeast).
In May I shot a Milky Way arch at Fossil Falls and really wanted to get a 306° view. The foreground was shot just after sunset and the Moon, while present in the sky was shot the next day here in Glendale and added in.
One of the reasons I shoot a 360° shot is to produce a Tiny Planet projection. You can see the Red Hill at the top, with the Sierras at the left and the volcanic Coso range at the right. The light dome at the right is from Las Vegas (about 140 miles away) and the one at the bottom is from Ridgecrest and Los Angeles.
The Milky Way arch, you can see Saturn just rising over the hills to the left of the core.
With this shot of the Milky Way core, I’ve brightened the area above the core to bring out some of the nebulosity above it. This is pretty easy to capture with an astro modified camera, but I was surprised to see some of it recorded on my unmodified NX1. You can see both the nebula around Antares at the center right as well as a nebula above it.