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.
Six years ago, on June 24, 2017, I headed to Joshua Tree for a group Milky Way shoot, while I had attempted to shoot the Milky Way here in Glendale(too much light pollution) and at the coast(who knew the Moon would be a problem), this was the first time I actually captured the Milky Way on my camera. We shot a large rock as the near foreground with Ryan Mountain behind it. After shooting at that location several of us ventured out and did some light painting of Joshua Trees as a foreground.
A month later, the group returned to Joshua Tree, this time along the road to Barker Dam. It has some nice Joshua Trees in the foreground and an Interesting rock I call the FU rock(it has a small rock on the top looking like it is giving you the finger). I had learned ane important thing from my first group shoot, get a foreground shot during blue hour and then don’t move the tripod. The one thing I hadn’t really learned was when astronomical twilight ends and most of my shots were shot before then. I didn’t get many shots that night since some of the group decided to do light painting and had their kids doing it.
I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Joshua Tree: while it is relatively close(about 160 miles), drive to the park can take between 2 1/2 to 5 hours.; it can get very crowded with folk wanting to do their own thing; and it is not all that dark with light pollution from Palm Springs making late season Milky Way shots almost impossible; that said, it does have some great foregrounds(both natural and man made).
The first shot was shot with a Samsung NX500 and a Rokinon 12mm f/2 lens, the rest were shot with a Sony A7iv and a Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 lens at 17mm.
This was one of my first Milky Way shots. The original shot was just the sky and a dark(black) foreground. A few years after I took this shot, I noticed that I’d taken a shot of the foreground during blue hour that I ended up using as the foreground.
This shot was taken mid June of this year. The Milky Way core is just cresting Ryan Mountain. I used a 4 minute shot of the background taken right after taking the shot of the sky.
A month after my first shoot with the group, I joined them again in Joshua Tree for some more Milky Way shots. I had learned a few things since my first shoot a month earlier, but I still took most of my shots before astronomical twilight ended. This is a shot taken this year at the same location with what I call the FU Rock(due to the small rock on top of the larger rock). I’ve shot this location a few times with the NX-1, but wanted to give it a try with the Sony.
I continued down the road to Barker Dam and parked in the parking lot, then hiked the Wall Street Mill trail about a mile to a windmill I shot last year.
After shooting the windmill, I’d planned on using an old rusted truck as another foreground, but I’d not been there during daylight and was unsure of the exact location, so I hike back to the car and drove the 60 miles to Amboy to revisit the Lions. I couldn’t get the straight on face shot of the lion due to the angle of the Milky Way core and vowed to return.
I returned to Amboy to shoot the conjunction of the Moon, Mars, and Venus; but also to reshoot the Lions. This time, once the Moon had set the Milky Way core was in a good position to capture the Lion face on. I added additional light painting after taking the base exposure. This is the eastern lion, the female(you can tell by the cub under her paw).
I drove west down Route 66 to the western ion, this is the male lion with a globe under his paw. I took the same set of shots I’d take with the eastern lion.