On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

On The Road and In Your Backyard is a weekday feature spotlighting reader submissions. From the exotic to the familiar, please share your part of the world, whether you’re traveling or just in your locality. Share some photos and a narrative, let us see through your pictures and words. We’re so lucky each and every day to see and appreciate the world around us!

Submissions from commenters are welcome at tools.balloon-juice.com



If it’s Wednesday, it’s 🐾BillinGlendaleCA!  Sorry things have been so herky-jerky recently, I’ve been consumed by real-world things and have had limited time (really, attention). That should change.


Today, pictures from valued commenter 🐾BillinGlendaleCA.


I’ve posted composites here before, anytime that I’ve used the skytracker(foregrounds look rather funny when the camera is moving to follow the sky and the foreground doesn’t), the foreground has been shot separately and then been blended with the sky. These are a bit different, for some reason they cannot exist in nature. The key is to make them look like they could exist by blending the two photos together so they don’t look like they’ve just been slapped together.

Taken on Various

Red Rock State Park, California

You actually can see the Milky Way with the Red Cliffs at Red Rock, however you can’t see the galactic center with the red cliffs. The galactic center(the bright part of the Milky Way) is in the southern sky and the Red Cliffs face south. The Milky Way shot was actually shot at Arroyo Hondo and I used the light of one of the oil platforms as a stand-in for Ridgecrest’s light dome.

Taken on Various

San Marino, CA

Since The Huntington isn’t generally open at night(they sometimes are open for special events), I had to improvise by making an evening photo darker and adding some lighting. I added the reflections of the galactic center and Mars to the lake and brightened the sky at the bottom to give it a more realistic city light glow.

Taken on Various

Los Angeles, CA

This shot overlooks Dodger Stadium with Downtown in the background. Again, the bottom of the sky has been illuminated a bit from the foreground shot by allowing the lighter color in the foreground to show. One of the things I’ve also tried to do is get the Milky Way to be in the appropriate place given the direction that the picture was shot. This is taken to the south, so I used a more late season(August) Milky Way shot.

Taken on Various

Griffith Park, Los Angeles, CA

I thought a picture of the observatory and the Milky Way would be appropriate. This would be a late season(September or October) Milky Way shot since it’s more to the southwest.

Taken on Various

Griffith Park, Los Angeles, CA

This would be more of an early season(May or June) Milky Way since it’s looking towards the southeast. The Milky Way shot here is from Twin Bush(about 50 miles west of Downtown).


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.


Submissions should be sent via the all-new form at https://tools.balloon-juice.com

17 replies
  1. 1
    Jerzy Russian says:

    Wow. The only thing cooler would be a dinosaur coming up from the tar pits under the Milky Way glow. If not a dinosaur then maybe a saber tooth tiger could work.

  2. 2

    @Jerzy Russian: Yeah, there were no dinosaurs that got buried in the tar pits, definitely saber tooth tigers.

    ETA: I’ve been to the tar pits and the Page Museum a few times.

  3. 3
    Jerzy Russian says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Seriously though, I would buy a poster or a puzzle with any of these images on it, even without a dinosaur. Theses types of items would sell well at the observatory gift shop.

  4. 4
    Mel says:

    They’re all exquisite, but the first one just took my breath away. It touches something very primal in the brain.

  5. 5
    rikyrah says:

    Gorgeous, Bill🙌🙌

  6. 6

    @Mel: I shot the cliffs when I went out with Madame and the kid to teach her how to shoot the Milky Way. I didn’t use the sky that I shot that night because I had a better(less clouds) from Arroyo Hondo.

    @rikyrah: Thanks.

    @Jerzy Russian: Much like John McCain’s reticence about being a POW, I don’t talk much about my on-line store to purchase my pics that’s accessible by clicking on my nym.

  7. 7
    PSpain says:

    Wow , great photos. thanks

    Just beautiful. Hard to imagine seeing the Milky Way over the lights of LA

  8. 8
    Aleta says:

    like the awesome night sky itself

  9. 9

    @PSpain: It’s the lights that make it, well, difficult. While you would never see the galactic center with the naked eye. It might on rare nights, when the humidity is very low, to be possible to photograph it. I’ve shot a very faint capture of the Milky Way from the hills above Glendale.

    @Aleta: Thanks.

  10. 10
    arrieve says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Gorgeous as always! Thanks for the reminders of the glory of the universe above all the day to day crap.

  11. 11
    Quinerly says:


  12. 12
    Steve in the ATL says:

    @Jerzy Russian: lol

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: you have talent, sir. I assume photography is your profession and not just a Balloon Juice hobby?

  13. 13
    Elizabelle says:

    I love these photos.

    I would like prints of them, to frame in a series. Bookmarking this post and will be in touch with you after the midterms.

    Just gorgeous. Agree with jerzy russian — maybe the observatory would like to help support a local photographer? Would be spectacular as note cards, or a puzzle, or whatever. Just beautiful.

    Yea Bill!!

  14. 14
    J R in WV says:

    Frabjously fine work, thanks for sharing it with us.

    In that third photo composite, the one with the galaxy hanging over the urban center, is that a meteor streak over the tallest downtown skyscraper?

    Sure looks it.

  15. 15
    Mary G says:

    The one at the Huntington is very haunting; it makes me imagine that it’s several thousand years after humans have all killed themselves with global warming, and there are no lights at night anymore and the stars are the same and uncaring over the ruins. Cool!

  16. 16

    @arrieve: Thanks, composites are fun to do. The trick is trying to make them believable.

    @Quinerly: 😁

    @Steve in the ATL: Photography as a profession is an aspiration.

  17. 17

    @Elizabelle: Well, you’re in luck…I’ll have them up at my web store(conveniently access via clicking on my nym) in a couple of weeks.

    @J R in WV: It is a meteor. When a lot of folk think they’ve captured a meteor, it just an airplane or satellite. You actually have to look close to tell the difference(meteors have lots of color).

    @Mary G: I like that one too, but there is lighting on the bridge, the rock sculpture and the paths.

Comments are closed.