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).
Galleta Meadows is probably the most photographed feature of Borrego Springs and the surrounding park. The sculptures are on non-contiguous plots that are all around Borrego Springs. They were produced by local artist Ricardo Breceda (we passed his studio on the drive in) and were commissioned by the late Dennis Avery (of Avery Label fame) and placed on land that he’d bought around Borrego Springs and now administered by a trust after Avery’s death in 2012.
They’re open to the public 24 hours a day, are mostly off the paved road, and are very popular foreground for astrophotographers. The sculptures in Galleta Meadows cam be packed during nights near the new moon by photographers trying to get the perfect shot of the of the Milky Way core with the sculptures as a foreground. We saw no other photographers but the 4 in our group since we visited on a night with 85% of the Moon illuminated. While this provided great lighting (almost daylight) of the sculptures, the view of the sky definitely suffered due to the natural light pollution from the very bright Moon.
The first set of sculptures that we visited were the T Rex sculpture. It’s about 3/4 of a mile off the paved road and the dirt road to the sculpture is pretty rocky, so we decided to park my Prius along a side road and I joined the rest of the group in higher clearance vehicle. We finished our shots at T Rex, I shot two panoramas from the north and south, and headed back to my car. We couldn’t find it. We thought we were on the same road that we’d came in on, but we’d made a turn too early and were a bit to the west. We finally ended up on the main road and re-entered the dirt road we’d originally traveled in on and found my car (next time I’ll mark it on Google Maps).
Next up was the grasshopper and the scorpion sculptures, they’re in a field just off the main road, so there was little chance of losing my car this time. Again, I shot another panorama along with shots of the scorpion and grasshopper. Finally, we headed north about a 1/4 of a mile along the main road to the most photographed of the sculptures, the Chinese Sea Serpent. The sculpture appears to move in and out of the desert sands. I shot a panorama as well as some shots of the head with one including the faint and desaturated (due to the moonlight) Milky Way core.
Having the moonlit photos of these sculptures, I decided to have some fun with them. I added star trails and a Milky Way arch (both taken at Fossil Falls) to the north facing and east facing panorama respectively.
T Rex in the moonlight.
A composite of T Rex in the moonlight with star trails. The star trails were shot at Fossil Falls.
The grasshopper and the scorpion in moonlight.
Composite of the moonlit scorpion and grasshopper with the Fossil Falls star trails. I’ve positioned the star trails center on Polaris to “keep it real”.
Moonlit Sea Serpent and Milky Way panorama. The Milky Way arch fades quite a bit with the light pollution from the 85% lit moon.
Composite of the sea serpent panorama with a Milky Way panorama shot at Fossil Falls.
Moon over the sea serpent sculpture. As you can see the sculpture extends across the road.
Composite of the sea serpent panorama with the Milky Way arch shot at Red Rock and the eclipsed Moon shot at Elysian Park north of downtown LA. The placement of the moon next to Antares is accurate, but the Milky Way core would have been more vertical during the eclipse.