On the Road and In Your Backyard

Good Morning All,

As we move closer to the new site launch, I wanted to remind you to submit things now via the form or to hold off until the new site is live.  The old email address is dead and until the new site is live, there’s no replacement.

I will push all submissions I get into drafts so that, when the new site launches, there’s a bunch of posts ready to go while the dust settles. I don’t expect the new site to launch immediately, but that time is fast approaching, and when it’s ready, it will birth. Now is the time to “stack up” some submissions to ease any content woes when the time comes.

Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!


Today, much-delayed (by yours truly) pictures from valued commenter BillinGlendaleCA.

Where it was taken: Joshua Tree National Park

When: 6/1/2019

Commenter screenname:  BillinGlendaleCA

Introduction:  The first weekend of June was the new moon(actually it was on Monday) so it was time to go out and get some Milky Way shots.  It was cloudy by the coast and there were thunder storms in the mountains so a photographer friend(the guy who organizes our Meetups) asked if I wanted to join him on a Milky Way shoot in Joshua Tree.  I had wanted to shoot there since I shot there with the Meetup group 2 years ago.  He said I should bring my girls(furbabies) along for the ride.  Google said when we left that the journey would take  2 hours and 40 minutes.  After a stop to gas up and some pit stops for the girls and myself, this turned into 3 and ½ hours.   My fellow photographer and I got separated so I headed to where we shot in July of 2017 where there’s a rock that I call the ‘Fuck You’ rock.  It’s got a bit of a portion sticking up like a middle finger.  My minimum goal was to shoot 2 shots: a star trail looking north and a time lapse of the Milky Way rising over the hills to the east.




Where it was taken: Joshua Tree National Park

When: 6/1/2019

Commenter screenname:  BillinGlendaleCA

Other notes or info about the picture:  Before it got dark, there were other things to photograph, like a nice sunset over the desert.  The clouds produced some nice sun rays with the rocks and the Joshua tree forest providing a nice foreground.



Where it was taken: Joshua Tree National Park

When: 6/1/2019

Commenter screenname:  BillinGlendaleCA

Other notes or info about the picture:  After dusk had turned into night it was time to setup my shots.  I shot relatively close to the road that leads up to Barker Dam.  I setup the camera to shoot the time lapse on the east side of the road and the camera to shoot this star trail on the west.   Due to the proximity to the road I did encounter one technical problem, I got some shots with a lens reflection from the taillights of the passing cars.  I ended up having to process those shots separately to remove the discolorization form the taillights and then processing the shots in the star stacking software.  You’ll notice that there a quite a few aircraft trails and a glow at the horizon right of center.  Joshua Tree is north of the flight path for jets flying from the east coast into LA and south of the flight path for flights coming in from Las Vegas, so there’s quite a bit of air traffic.  I hadn’t noticed this as much in my previous shoots at Joshua Tree.  There are also three noticeable light domes: 29 Palms and it Marine base, a dim but still noticeable one to the west from the Los Angeles basin, and one towards the south from Palm Springs.  The exposure for the star trail was 2 hours(240 shots at 30 seconds each).




Where it was taken: Joshua Tree National Park

When: 6/1/2019

Commenter screenname:  BillinGlendaleCA

Other notes or info about the picture:  This star trail was a freebie.  I had the series of shots from the Milky Way time lapse(360 shots at 25 seconds each with a 5 second gap), so why not do a star trail with those?  I wasn’t able to use all of the 360 shots, some shots had bright headlights shining into the fisheye lens, so I was limited to about 280 shots.  The headlights from the passing cars did manage to light up the foreground.  The area with all the headlights at the left is the parking area for Barker Dam.



Where it was taken: Joshua Tree National Park

When: 6/1/2019

Commenter screenname:  BillinGlendaleCA

Other notes or info about the picture:  The Milky Way and the ‘Fuck You’ rock.  You can see the rock in the foreground just right of center.   This was the last shot(or shots) I took and didn’t go as planned.  The plan was to shoot  about 5 minutes of the sky(multiple shots to stack later) and the shoot a long exposure of the foreground that I’d light paint with my pretty strong headlamp.  The headlamp didn’t work.  So I ended up using a portion of a blue hour panorama I’d shot earlier and had to place the foreground a bit higher in the sky to cover up a Joshua Tree.  The bright ‘star’ just right of center is Jupiter and you see the Dark Horse(with  it’s Pipe and Snake sub-nebula) straddling Jupiter.  The yellowish star just to the right of Jupiter is Antares and it’s bright nebula.


Milky Way Rising Time Lapse


Where it was taken: Joshua Tree National Park

When: 6/1/2019

Commenter screenname:  BillinGlendaleCA

Other notes or info about the picture:  This was kind of the point of the whole trip for me, get a good time lapse of the Milky Way rising.  One area of the northwestern portion of Joshua Tree that is really dark is the view to the east(passing aircraft excepted), so it’s great for viewing the early season Milky Way.  The flashes of light on the left side of the video are cars passing on the road behind me,  but in the field of view of the fisheye lens.  The foreground is taken from some of the lighter shots of the foreground combined together with the lighter portions of the video clip allowed to blend though to give it a more dynamic look.

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

23 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    The second one with the star trails makes me dizzy. Like we’re spinning too fast.

  2. 2

    @Baud: It gets worse, Baud.

    Video of the Milky Way star trail’s formation and video of the north oriented star trail.

    Somebody asked if there was a way to do this, I found it and was working on this all day today.

  3. 3
  4. 4
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    What a sunset. Well done, Bill.

  5. 5

    @Baud: BTW, I bought a camera today.

  6. 6
    JPL says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: It’s to early in the morning for me to click that link. Maybe later. Thanks for the pics.

  7. 7

    @OzarkHillbilly: I’m not sure, but I may have enhanced the sun rays just a bit on that shot. I had two sunset shots and I played around with Luminar’s sunray filter on one of them.

  8. 8

    @JPL: It just shows the star trails getting longer over time.

  9. 9
    Rob says:

    So nice to see this first thing in the morning.

  10. 10
  11. 11
    Baud says:




    Don’t watch when you’re drunk or high either.

  12. 12
    J R in WV says:


    Great night shooting stars in the desert!! Sometimes I really do feel like the ant crawling on the giant ball shooting through the night, only I wonder what happens if it lands, while the ant probably doesn’t.

    Great videos, but the headlights are too much like explosion effects.

    Thanks for sharing, and for including the stats on exposures etc at the end.

    Another place for my bucket list. Night owls have all the big fun! I used to love to shoot outdoors in snow storms as a young, not so much anymore.

    My fav is the milky way photo! Great photo. I know the long exp star trails are a lot more work, but the milky way is so cool…

  13. 13
    J R in WV says:


    What camera did you get this time?

    I keep wondering what a full frame camera will do for me??

  14. 14
    arrieve says:

    The Milky Way shot is my favorite but they’re all glorious as always. Thanks Bill!

  15. 15

    @Baud: Thanks.

    @J R in WV: Madame thought the headlights looked like flashes of lightning. I’ll try to get further away from a road with turns in it. Here’s another Milky Way shot, it’s from about 20 of the time lapse shots and the foreground was taken during blue hour. Joshua Tree is really pretty and has great foregrounds for night photography, however this part of the park is not that dark and it’s along the flight path to LAX.

    @J R in WV: I got another Samsung, this time a Samsung Galaxy NX camera. It’s an android camera that can take a SIM card so you can connect it to the cell network. A full frame camera is really useful for night photography since it can take in more light. On the APS-C cameras(or more so with Micro 4/3’s) if the lens says it’s a f/2, it’s really more like a f/3, the size of the sensor not only affects the field of view(a 12mm lens would be a 18mm full frame equivalent). So you get a wider field of view(better for Milky Way pics) and more light gets in(better for low light photography in general).

  16. 16

    @arrieve: Thanks. I shot some more Milky Way shots 2 days later at one of my favorite closer locales.

  17. 17
    Another Scott says:

    Very nice.

    #1 reminds me of Vince Farnsworth’s pictures of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado. He’s got a little photography book called “Getting up Early”… ;-)



  18. 18

    @Another Scott: Thanks, I usually go with “Staying up Late”.

  19. 19
    Betty says:

    Beautiful work as always.

  20. 20
    J R in WV says:


    Very interesting. I’ve always enjoyed shooting available darkness, my Panasonic Lumix FZ1000 point and shoot is good for that, takes several exposures and combines them into a single photo, looks like a regularly lit shot, with a little luck and a steady hand.

    I oughta get a tripod !

  21. 21
    stinger says:

    E pur si muove.

    Wowza — all these pics — just wowza.

  22. 22
    rikyrah says:


    That first one belongs in a frame on somebody’s wall. It’s so beautiful.
    All of them look great, but, that first one stopped me in my tracks.

  23. 23

    @Betty: Thanks.

    @J R in WV:

    takes several exposures and combines them into a single photo, looks like a regularly lit shot

    Yeah, it’s called stacking…it’s how I shot the Milky Way shot in the post and the one I linked to in my reply to you. You shoot multiple pics at a higher ISO and then combine them in post to reduce noise, a tripod would be helpful and improve quality. You could also do that with a full frame and get increased light to the sensor and a wider field of view.

    @stinger: The new moon is next week, I’ll be shooting more, thanks.

    @rikyrah: Thanks, just a reminder to all…clicking on my nym will get you to my store where you can purchase my photos suitable for framing(I’ll have these up this afternoon, in a “On the Road” gallery).

Comments are closed.