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 for now. I hope to change that later today.

Ok, it looks like my concern about the new site launching very soon is a bit off, sounds like it will be a week or more, not days. I’ve got some submissions, but please do continue to submit pictures, we’re getting closer.

Have a wonderful day, and enjoy the pictures!


On a personal/political note -fuck Trump, his nationalist anti-immigrant racist agenda, and all the fuckpukes who follow him and ignore his unsuitability to any public office of leadership, much less the Presidency.

I am the son of an immigrant, and my American mother was raised from age 5-14 in Colombia. On her side, I have pre-Revolutionary ancestors, as well as Confederates, to my shame.

My Swiss father had a green card, and never pursued citizenship. After the death of my mother, I was the sole inheritor of the family documents and photographs, many of which were damaged by a house fire in the oughts. I’m still working through them, but I did find a surprise – an letter from my father’s then-employer in 1969 attesting to his interest in becoming a citizen, but that may have been incorrect, otherwise he changed his mind without taking steps. Although he loved many things about the US, he was also attached to some old-world values that he didn’t see in his beloved new home. (If he’d lived into our time, I know he’d have become one of those embittered old men glued to Fox News and listening to Rush Limbaugh, et al., so although I miss him, I’m glad I didn’t suffer losing him to that toxic stew.)

On top of all of that, I was born abroad, in Africa, and so even though I grew up in the States, I’ve always had a slightly different perspective – born in Africa to a Swiss father and an American mother who grew up in Colombia, and so lacking many of the “normal anchors” that people who grow up here from childhood in second or later generation families natively have. I grew up travelling internationally and it shaped me from infancy.

Even though I’m a white guy, I very strongly identify with immigrants of all colors, backgrounds, and religions and thus feel out of place in places lacking diversity. Needless to say, travel, reading, the internet, shortwave, and international media have been important parts of my life and continuing perspective.

These foul currents coursing through our nation make me fear for my sisters and brothers, both here and on the road.


Today, pictures from valued commenter 🐾BillinGlendaleCA.

The Starman Returns(Part II)…

So where did I leave y’all in the last installment? Ah yes, by Arch Rock out in Joshua Tree. Well after I shot my Milky Way Pics I did a bit of light pinting to the loud chorus of Light! by the cockroachs, eh I mean photographers on the ledge. So I re-setup down by some rocks below the arch, which was fine until the guys screeming Light! a few minutes earlier started down though my shot with bright headlamps. After they left, myself and my collegue repositioned ourselves a bit further back, while the new folk up on the ledge crawled to the lower part of the arch to do light painting, ugh. We headed back to the Ryan Mountain Trailhead and noticed some nice rocks along sice of the road near Jumbo Rocks Campground. After getting a shot there, it was on to the parking by the trailhead to get my car for one more location that I had in mind. We ended up stopping a bit short of the location I had planned and finished our shots at Intersection Rock.

A couple of weeks ago, I put up all my On The Road submissions up on my website/store. If you’d like to make one of my shots your very own(suitable for framing), just click on my nym. This group is at https://www.billinglendaleca.com/Galleries/On-The-Road/July-17-2019/i-p5cRKKD.

Taken on 2019-07-02 00:00:00

Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Let me say at the outset, this was too late in the season to be photographing the Milky Way and Arch Rock. To get a good shot up on the ledge, looking though the arch, it was about a month or two too late. The guys on the ledge were also shooting too early, the light from the sun had not completely disappeared from the sky. Anyway, my colleague and I setup our cameras on the ground below the arch. But as we started shooting the guys started coming down across our frame of the arch and their headlamps shined right into our lens at times. Now I was shooting stacked images so those images were tossed, so I merely had fewer images to stack. My colleague doesn’t shoot multiple images and stack so he was a bit more peeved than I was. While I would normally shoot 40 images(15 second exposures for a total of 10 minutes), I had to settle for 25. I also stacked the foreground from the same images, using the usable shots that didn’t include photographers and headlamps.

Taken on 2019-07-02 00:00:00

Joshua Tree National Park, CA

After the frustration under Arch Rock, we moved further back and re-grouped. As we shot this series, a guy decided to climb up into the base of the rock and do some light paint inside the arch. This didn’t have much of an effect on my Milky Way shots, but did adversely affect my foreground shots. Again I tossed about half of my foreground shots. Again the stars are 40 shots @ 15 seconds and the foreground about 20 shots @ 15 seconds.

Taken on 2019-07-02 00:00:00

Having seen these rocks after driving though Jumbo Rocks Campground, we decided to stop and try some photos. I found a location with the rocks in the background and a Joshua Tree. I added a bit of light painting on the rocks and the Joshua Tree and this was augmented by passing cars on the nearby road.

Taken on 2019-07-02 00:00:00

Joshua Tree National Park, CA

We ended up at Intersection Rock which is a large rock that sits at the intersection of Park Blvd(it runs from 29 Palms to Joshua Tree) and the road to Barker Dam where I shot last month. When we look at the Milky Way, we only see the edges of the galactic core. The center of the galaxy is obscured at least for visible light by a dust lane that called the great rift. Above the great rift(or below in the Southern Hemisphere) is a dark nebula known as the Dark Horse Nebula(you have to look at it sideways. This nebula system has parts know as the Pipe Nebula(the back legs) and the Snake Nebula(front legs and the head) which is by Jupiter in this picture. Again 40 shots @ 15 seconds with light painting on the additional foreground shot augmented by car headlights from Park Blvd.

Taken on 2019-07-02 00:00:00

Joshua Tree National Park, CA

I was shooting a set of final shots with my new Galaxy Camera so I got out the star tracker, set it up and pointed the NX1 at the Andromeda Galaxy(M31). M31 is our closest galactic neighbor(and fellow jackal). You can see it’s two satelite galaxies M32 just to the right and below the galactic center and M110 above and slightly left of the galactic center. When I looked at the shots on my camera they looked a bit out of focus, but once I stacked them the shots seemed to work. This is 20 shots @ 30 seconds. I’ve added the diffraction spikes in post. I think if I shot 40 or 60 shots the plane of stars in the disk would have larger, but I’m pretty happy with this effort.


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

22 replies
  1. 1

    Looks like I screwed up the first shot…here’s the shot from my Flickr page.

    ETA: Also I was unhappy with the foreground of the third shot by Jumbo Rocks, here’s the revised shot from my Flickr.

  2. 2

    Bonus shot…this is the shot I was shooting with the Galaxy Cam while I was shooting M31.

  3. 3
    satby says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: just outstanding!
    @ Alain up top:

    so although I miss him, I’m glad I didn’t suffer losing him to that toxic stew.)

    Yes, that’s a blessing. My mother, a lifelong Democrat and union supporter got sucked into that as her dementia progressed, and it was horrible. Trying to deal with the dementia was bad enough, but Fox encourages a meanness that I had never before seen in my mother in her life. It’s a toxic scourge on our nation.

  4. 4
    HinTN says:

    My God, it’s full of stars.

  5. 5
    Baud says:


  6. 6
    debbie says:

    Amazing that it’s clear enough to see the Andromeda Galaxy!

  7. 7
    Kay says:

    The Onion
    82-Year-Old New Jersey Congressman Bill Pascrell Quietly Asks Ilhan Omar If He Can Be Part Of The Squad

    Bill Pascrell, Jr.
    ‏Verified account
    Bill Pascrell, Jr. Retweeted The Onion
    Well. How bout it @AyannaPressley @AOC @RepRashida @IlhanMN?

  8. 8
    Ladyraxterinok says:

    My dad’s father came here from Switzerland in the latter 1800s. A brother’s wife came here from mainland China in the early 80s. They’re both repubs, seem to have no conception she’s a potential target. Their daughter sure does though.

  9. 9
    Raven says:

    There is no shame in who your ancestors were.

  10. 10
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @satby: My mother-in-law is 95, a perfect fit for the Fox demo – but she despises Trump in a way I’ve rarely seen, and her use of language whenever she sees him on the tube is a delight. So I guess we’re lucky.

  11. 11
    Jerzy Russian says:

    M31 (aka the Andromeda Galaxy) is the closest large galaxy to the Milky Way. There are a few dozen much smaller galaxies that are closer. If you go south of the equator, you can see two of them: the Large Magellanic Cloud and the Small Magellanic Cloud. If memory serves, M31 is about 2.2 million light years away, whereas the Large Magellanic Cloud is around 160,000 light years away.

  12. 12
    C Stars says:

    Whew, that last one!

    Perspective palate cleanser.

  13. 13
    Leto says:

    @Alain: Avalune and I feel the same way as you.

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: Amazing pictures. Thanks for sharing, as always 😀

  14. 14
    oldster says:

    I want to tell these fuckers:

    America is a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic country, and it always has been.

    If you don’t like it, then go back to Nazi Germany where you came from.

  15. 15
    arrieve says:

    @🐾BillinGlendaleCA: As always a wonderful start to the day. I don’t understand how you can look at our wonderful universe in all its immense glory and believe that there’s a God who cares about how we dress or eat or copulate.

    And thank you, Alain, for your story. My mom spent the last years of her life listening exclusively to right-wing radio, and much as I miss her, I am also grateful that she never had the chance to get sucked into the Fox News hellhole. Which she absolutely would have. She was an immigrant, came through Ellis Island shortly before it closed. And my father’s family was here for hundreds of years — one ancestor came to Jamestown in the 1620’s. I have slaveowners and coal miners in my family tree. All American stories are complicated. I don’t understand not accepting that, and glorying in it.

  16. 16
    PPCLI says:

    My Swiss father had a green card, and never pursued citizenship….Although he loved many things about the US, he was also attached to some old-world values that he didn’t see in his beloved new home.

    Until fairly recently, taking out American citizenship required the applicant to formally abandon their birth citizenship. I imagine that was an insuperable obstacle for many people. Despite the growing hassles of living as a green card holder even under Obama, I couldn’t have done that, and my parents would have been heartbroken if I had.

  17. 17

    Great way to start the day.

  18. 18
    J R in WV says:

    Fabulous amount of detail in the stone walls, and the Andromeda galaxy is stunning. All stunning, really!


    ETA: My dad was a sweet guy, yet he started to watch Fox once he got a cable connection. Soured him a little, and i didn’t realize 100% why that was until more recently. Still a nice guy til the very end, but not quite the same.

  19. 19

    @satby: Thanks.

    @HinTN: You get away from the city lights and it happens.

    @Baud: Thanks.

  20. 20

    @debbie: Actually M31 is pretty bright and can be seen in most place but the most light polluted, but to the naked eye it looks more like a star with nebulosity.

    @Jerzy Russian: Yup, my step-daughter’s Milky Way pics from New Zealand that were featured on “On The Road” last year showed the Megellanic clouds. However, they’re thought of as satellite galaxies to our Milky Way much like M32 and M110 to M31 rather than galaxies in their own right.

    @C Stars: When I first looked at the shots on my computer, I thought they were out of focus and almost didn’t process them.

  21. 21

    @Leto: You’re welcome.

    @arrieve: The first time you see all the stars in a dark location it’s pretty special, now I just get to work trying to get the best shots.

    @J R in WV: I spend a good deal of time this time of the year scouting locations on Google Maps/Earth for interesting foregrounds(I’m going to try to reshoot Amboy Crater and there’s a place further east called ‘Hole in the Wall’ that looks promising). Andromeda is nice since it’s visible most of the year and all you need is a dark place.

  22. 22
    Origuy says:

    Bill, have you ever gone to shoot at Anza-Borrego State Park? It’s a long way from any big city and there are a lot of interesting places to explore.

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