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.
On the Road will continue, but it will be forever Alain’s.
Today we have another treat – two sets of photos from the same location. This morning’s photos were taken in the daytime. The photos in tonight’s On the Road After Dark will be night sky photos of the same location. Seems fitting, no?
If you haven’t had a chance to catch them yet, check out the On the Road After Dark posts. ~WG
Three years ago I had just joined the local photography group meetup and was excited to see a meetup scheduled at Joshua Tree National Park for some dark sky photography. The organizer of the meetup, Hami, had scouted locations in the park during the day prior to meeting at a location outside the park. He chose a location with ample parking for the trail that lead up to Ryan Mountain.
Ryan Mountain is in the center of the northwestern portion of park and affords a pretty good view of the park and even Mts. San Jacinto and San Gorgonio on clear days. The area around the trailhead has some nice rock formation that would make for good foregrounds and isn’t one of the more popular locations in the park for astro photography so it wouldn’t be too crowded.
While waiting for the sun to set and darkness to engulf the desert landscape, I took some photos of the rock formations that were just off the parking lot for the trailhead and two large rocks turned out to perfectly frame the setting sun. As golden hour turned to blue hour, the photographers gathered by the a rock known as the Indian Cave to await the rising of the Milky Way.
A Joshua Tree is flanked by two rock formations facing the setting sun at the Ryan Mountain trailhead.
A rock formation at the northern part of the Ryan Mountain trailhead area. This photo was taken from the parking lot, with Park Blvd running behind the rocks.
A Joshua Tree along the Ryan Mountain trail.
The setting sun is framed by these large rocks. This photo was processed using a Kodak Portra film emulation.
The sun has set and it’s time to head back down the trail to get our cameras ready for the Milky Way lightshow.
Golden hour among the Joshua Tree forest of Lost Horse Valley.
The light of the sun has gone from golden to red, casting a red glow over the Joshua Tree forest. You can see Park Blvd crossing the right side of the shot.
Golden hour has given way to blue hour as we setup here waiting for darkness to fall and reveal the Milky Way over Ryan Mountain. The large rock is left rock in the sunset picture.