Thursday, February 11, 2016

Mission Well, Joshua Tree National Park

About 7 miles north of the Cottonwood Visitor Center in Joshua Tree National Park, you will reach two dirt roads branching off the main (paved) road. One is Black Eagle Mine Road which heads roughly due west toward the now defunct Kaiser Mine, and the other is Old Dale Road which heads roughly north into the Dale Mining District and (eventually) to Highway 62 east of 29 Palms. After traveling 10 miles on Old Dale Road, you will reach Mission Well, which is what we did last weekend! The road is marked 4WD, although up to Mission Well it was an easy drive and I never put the Jeep in 4WD during the 20 mile round-trip.
It's a great place for a picnic lunch, especially during the cooler months. This area becomes a furnace during the hot summer months.

The wellhead at Mission Well

Our chihuahua appears to be striking a pose!

A short distance north from Mission Well is Mission Mine (or what's left of it). It's a fun place to look around, and my little granddaughter thoroughly enjoyed it! You can climb up on some of the mining structures for great views of Pinto Basin.

Beautiful blue skies for as far as the eye can see!

Just to the west of the mining area was something that looked like a rocky outcropping. On closer inspection, it turned out to be an old dump site of the miners!
I've seen small miner trash sites in different areas of the park, but this is the largest I've come across.
My granddaughter was busy looking for treasure.
The miners must have had very boring meals. Everything from a can, and nothing fresh in such an isolated and desolate location!
Rusty "Prince Albert" tobacco tins are common at this site. Overall, a fascinating area and I'll be coming back! There is a lot more to see!!
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Thursday, February 4, 2016

Somewhere Under the Rainbow

I made a quick trip out to the Joshua Tree area last week to clean up my little desert homestead cabin. I listed it on Airbnb in late December and it's been a big success! Who knew that a little cabin in the desert would be so popular!! I'll have to create a post or two on the Airbnb experience. I've had guests from all over the world, including Germany, England and the Netherlands. Guests have been mostly young people, and mostly creative types (filmmakers, artists, musicians, professional photographers). It's been a really fun experience. Here's the link if you're interested in checking it out: Twin Tanks Desert Homestead Cabin.

Anyway, as I walked out of the cabin to go to my car, there was a light drizzle and I saw this incredible rainbow! Low on the horizon, but very well defined. I only had my iPhone to use as a camera, but pretty happy with the results. If I hadn't walked out the door when I did, I would have missed it because it didn't last long!

View from the front porch, looking N toward the 29 Palms Marine Base
View from the back of the property looking north.
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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Moon & Clouds

This is a classic example of why moon shots can be so tough, and at times, frustrating. I took these shots during the last full moon. It was about 9 PM, so the sky was very dark. I could see beautiful clouds drifting in front of the moon. However, when I set my exposure for the clouds, the moon was way too bright and lost all detail. When I set my exposure for the bright moon, the clouds became black and were lost. There was really no "happy medium" exposure because the difference was too great. Solution? With camera on tripod, I took two photos in quick succession, one exposed for the clouds and the second exposed for the moon, then combined the two shots. A little like the old "double exposure" photos from film days. But I digress...

Cropped version:
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Thursday, January 21, 2016

Eyes of Moon

Alternate title for this post: Fun with Photoshop! I like the simplicity of this shot. Nice desert colors in the sky, and the moon was setting over the hills near Joshua Tree. The low clouds were picking up the red sunset colors, and the moon looked like it was getting ready to roll down the hill!
I used Photoshop to saturate the colors and brighten the moon a bit.
Then I square-cropped the image and "curved" the clouds and hills around the moon.
At this point, it reminded me of an eyeball, so using a bit more imagination, Photoshop retouching and duplicated and flipped the image. Viola!  Eyes of Moon!!
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