On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

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Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!


Today, pictures from valued commenter 🐾BillinGlendaleCA.

The Return of the Milky Way

As the new moon approaches the opportunities to be able to see the Milky Way at dark locations lends itself again. This month weather constrained the choices of where to shoot; not the record setting heat, but cloudy skies. Since the kid is headed to Australia and New Zealand in late September and will be taking pics in dark sky locations, I insisted that she learn a bit about shooting in that environment. I had two locations selected for shooting: a familiar location(Red Rock) and new place(Arroyo Hondo, about 25 miles west of Santa Barbara). Both locations afforded dark skies and were about the same distance from BillinGlendale.com HQ. We ended up going(with Madame) to Red Rock due to a fire near Santa Barbara and my concern that the smoke might cause problems with shooting. We arrived early enough to still have some daylight to shoot some foreground shots and have some dinner. The skies where a bit cloudy in the beginning but cleared to allow for some pretty nice shots. With the fire near Santa Barbara(Goleta) out, I twice headed up to Arroyo Hondo later in the week to try shooting up there.

Red Rock cliffs.

Taken on 2018-07-07

Red Rock State Park, Cantil CA

Hey, that’s not a Milky Way pic! No, that is what was behind us while we were shooting the Milky Way at Red Rock.

Mars rising.

Taken on 2018-07-07

Red Rock State Park, Cantil CA

One of the things I decided to do, since I was not shooting alone was to not use the sky tracker. Instead I was shooting 8 shots and then using Photoshop to reduces noise with a a technique called stack averaging. The problem with this shot is that Mars was rising while I took the 8 shots and was not visible in the first few shots and got averaged out. I added it back in from the final shot, along with the meteor and the car headlights in the foreground. The foreground was shot while we still had some daylight and darkened.

Portrait shot.

Taken on 2018-07-07

Red Rock State Park, Cantil CA

In addition to helping the kid learn to shoot the Milky Way, I was shooting with a new camera(my old camera’s big brother, the NX1) and a new lens with a slightly smaller field of view(16mm, instead of 12mm); so I wanted to test out my new tools.

Galactic Center

Taken on 2018-07-13

Arroyo Hondo, Gaviota, CA

This is a shot of Mars and the Galactic Center, this was more of a test of the camera/lens combination to see what kind of color I could get. The lights at the bottom are offshore oil platforms and they do contribute a bit of light pollution to the otherwise dark southern skies.

Portrait shot of the Galactic Center

Taken on 2018-07-13

Arroyo Hondo, Gaviota, CA

Same shot as above but in portrait orientation. The one other problem that I discover with Arroyo Hondo is that truckers like the vista point as a place to pull of the road and rest a bit, so the foreground we suddenly get some un-welcomed illumination. I do like how this shot looks like the Milky Way is being illuminated by the offshore oil platform.

The Milky Way(fisheye).

Taken on 2018-07-13

Arroyo Hondo, Gaviota, CA

This is pretty much the entire portion of the Milky Way that is visible at Arroyo Hondo

Milky Way with long exposure foreground.

Taken on 2018-07-13

Arroyo Hondo, Gaviota, CA

This is actually a panorama of the Milky Way paired with a long exposure foreground and a short exposure to capture more detail from the offshore oil platforms. I was quite happy with the reflections on the ocean of the oil platforms and Mars.


Thank you so much 🐾BillinGlendaleCA, do send us more when you can.


Travel safely everybody, and do share some stories in the comments, even if you’re joining the conversation late. Many folks confide that they go back and read old threads, one reason these are available on the Quick Links menu.


One again, to submit pictures: Use the Form or Send an Email

28 replies
  1. 1
    rikyrah says:

    Oh Bill,
    They all were good, but the Red Rock and the last one with the ocean?👏👏👏👏

  2. 2
    raven says:

    @rikyrah: “This is actually a panorama of the Milky Way paired with a long exposure foreground and a short exposure to capture more detail from the offshore oil platforms.”

  3. 3
    Lapassionara says:

    Great photos! Thanks

  4. 4
    JPL says:


  5. 5
    Robyn says:

    Your Milky Way photos never fail to amaze me. Just wonderful.

  6. 6
    Baud says:


  7. 7
    WereBear says:

    So glad to see Bill’s work, always.

    For the site fixer: my iPad is only happy with the site when I use the Bravo browser. On Chrome there’s a pop-up video that devilishly put the X in the same pinkie fingertip space as the gotosite graphic, and if I do manage… a new one pops up in 3 seconds.

    This must be what people were ranting about earlier. I UNDERSTAND.

    On Safari it is just mangled.

  8. 8
    arrieve says:

    They’re all gorgeous as usual but I LOVE the Mars rising shot. Great composition!

  9. 9
    debbie says:

    Very cool cliffs! I’m with arrieve on the Mars shot.

  10. 10
    rikyrah says:


    Oh…still beautiful 😄

  11. 11
    Citizen_X says:

    Let me also say thumbs up on the last one!

  12. 12
    satby says:


  13. 13
    Major Major Major Major says:

    Beautiful as usual, thanks Bill.

  14. 14
    Mr. Prosser says:

    It’s always cool when a meteor is in the shot. Wonderful photos, thanks.

  15. 15
    Steve in the STL says:

    Dude, these are great

  16. 16
    hedgehog the occasional commenter says:

    (sighs happily) Beautiful, Bill. Thank you for sharing.

  17. 17
    J R in WV says:

    Wonderful, magical work with a mysterious magical subject!

    The picture with the reflection of MARS in the water, who even thought a reflection in the water of a planet millions of miles away could even be done.!? But MARS is as close right now as it will ever be in our lifetimes, and brighter than anyone would think.

    Wonderful pictures, Bill. Thanks for the edumacation!

    ETA: On that first picture of the red rocks cliffs, what is that line of dark things running horizontally through the scene? At first I thought an abandoned RR line, but they’re too big for that…

  18. 18

    @rikyrah: Thanks. Yes, that’s the ocean. It’s on a stretch of US101 just before it makes a turn inland.

    @JPL: Thanks, unfortunately these are probably the last of the Milky Way shots for this month. We’re getting a lot of cloud cover and the moon will become more a more uncooperative each day.

  19. 19

    @Robyn: Thanks, it’s mostly finding a really dark place.

    @Baud: We’re all in the Milky Way, except jl, maybe.

  20. 20

    @arrieve: Thanks, it was actually really funny; when I first saw Mars, i thought it was an airplane and was pissed off that it would ruin the shots I was taking.

    @Citizen_X: The last one was probably the most complicated composed of 6 shots(3 for the milky way pano, 2 for the foreground pano, and one for the detail in the oil platforms).

    @satby: Thanks.

  21. 21

    @Major Major Major Major: Thanks.

    @Mr. Prosser: Meteors are hard to capture, they don’t show up if I use the sky tracker and what most folk initially think are meteors, aren’t(airplanes, satellites…).

    @Steve in the STL: Thanks.

  22. 22

    The night sky shots are amazing.

  23. 23

    @hedgehog the occasional commenter: Thanks.

    @J R in WV: Thanks; the reflection isn’t too surprising, I’ve seen photos(now there could have been some Photoshop at work) of the Milky Way reflected in shots with mountain lakes. Mars is really bright now and I noted above I actually thought it was an airplane. The horizontal line at the bottom of the cliffs are rocks placed along the parking area’s border, I aligned the image to them to correct for distortion in the panorama(they’re roughly straight).

    As a general note: sorry I wasn’t able to respond in real time to your comments. As you may have gathered, I was “On the Road” on Tuesday and pretty much passed out with the girls early.

  24. 24
  25. 25
    Quinerly says:


  26. 26
    Steve in the STL says:


    it’s mostly finding a really dark place

    An easy task in the age of trump

  27. 27
    Cckids says:

    Wow, just amazing. Thanks for the uplift and beauty!

  28. 28

    @Quinerly: Glad ya like it.

    @Steve in the STL: True, but for astronomical viewing I use the Dark Sky Finder Map.

    @Cckids: Even to the naked eye it looks quite stunning, a band of stars that look almost like a cloud across the night sky.

Comments are closed.