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.
This series was created by Alain Chamot (1971-2020).
About a month ago, I was asked to take over as organizer for the local photography group. So for my first photoshoot, I decided to take a small group (10 people) out to Red Rock Canyon State Park to shoot star trails beneath the Red Cliffs. I, however, was not shooting star trails, since I’ve shot them a number of times at that location. Instead I took my sky tracker and had 3 goals: the North American nebula, the California nebula, and a astro-landscape shot of the Orion complex over the hills at Red Rock.
I had difficulty finding the North American nebula, so I soon switched my attention to the California nebula and shot it for a hour (60 one minute exposures), since the Pleiades were close to the California nebula, I pointed my camera at them next and shot for half a hour (30 one minute exposures). By this time Orion was a bit above the horizon and I planned to shoot it for a half hour. Half way though, the battery in my camera died and I had to replace it leading to 2 exposures of Orion, one 15 minutes and the second 16 minutes.
Remember any photo you see in one of my On The Road posts is available for purchase at my store: http://www.billinglendaleca.com. They make excellent Christmas gifts. I also have a Patreon if you like my work and want to see it continue: https://www.patreon.com/BillinGlendaleCA.
The stars in the Pleiades excit the surrounding gas clouds to produce a blue glow.
The California nebula is a cloud of gas with a similar shape to the State of California. Like the Pleiades it is a reflection nebula.
Even with the battery issue, I still got 2 pretty good shots of Orion over the hills at Red Rock. The foreground is not nearly as stunning as the Red Cliffs that were behind me. While processing the photos, I noticed that one star was a greenish blue. There are no green stars. Later in the day while taking my daily look at the Astronomy Picture of the Day I saw the entry for a week earlier, comet ATLAS in Orion. So just about in the center of each photo, you’ll see comet ATLAS.