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).
Before I headed down to the Cholla Cactus Garden for sunrise shots, I stopped at Belle Campground for some Milky Way shots. I chose Belle Campground since it was on the eastern side of the portion of the park with Joshua Trees and interesting rocks and would provide for a darker location than those sites further west in the park. The plan was to shoot a tracked/stacked Milky Way shot and then a full arch panorama.
The campground itself was full of sleeping campers so I setup just off the access road to the camp. I found a couple of Joshua Trees to serve as the subject and due to the wind, decided that tracking wouldn’t work so I went with stacking instead (shorter exposure time for the individual shots). After shooting the first set of shots, I thought the focus was a bit soft(the first shot presented here) and I preceded to shoot the panorama, but time was running short before astronomical twilight so I decided to shoot half a panorama.
I then shot the foreground and as I panned to shoot each set of the panorama, I noticed that they were getting lighter and lighter as the Sun got closer to the horizon. As I finished the foreground panorama, I could see Jupiter and Saturn rising in the east just proceeding the arrival of the Sun and got a shot of the Joshua Tree with each planet on either side of one of its branches.
First Milky Way set with the soft focus. I applied light painting to both the Joshua Tree in the foreground and the one in the background.
Milky Way panorama, 4 panels for the foreground and background with light painting on the foreground Joshua Tree. I’m unsure where the light dome in the center of the photo is originating, maybe Mexicali or the eastern Coachella desert communities.
Joshua Tree with Jupiter below it’s left branch and Saturn above the branch.