Thursday, October 20, 2016

Hunter Moon

Before I share my moon shots from earlier in the week, it occurs to me I have some unfinished business from a couple of posts ago. I asked you "what looks weird" in the photo (below)? Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think anyone got the answer (or you chose to ignore the question!).
The correct answer (besides making me look way too skinny) is that my shadow is leaning into the sun! I took two photos while standing out on the highway, one into the sun and one in the opposite direction (with my long, skinny shadow). I liked them both so combined them into this composite image.

On to the Hunter Moon. First impressions were that I wouldn't be able to get any moon shots because of the thick cloud cover. But later in the evening, I noticed the moon was just visible behind the clouds.

It would disappear, only to reappear a few minutes later. The clouds were moving quickly.

Added some color saturation to this shot.
It's been a while since I've taken moon shots, so I had some fun with this!
Linking with Skywatch Friday.
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Thursday, October 13, 2016

Malapai Hill, Joshua Tree

This is a photo of Malapai Hill in Joshua Tree National Park(a 2-image pano shot). The photo doesn't really do it justice. As you drive south along Geology Tour Road, you pass the twin peaks of Malapai Hill. The hills really stand out because the rocky material is much darker than the surrounding area. Malapai Hill is thought to be part of an ancient volcano which spewed out lava into an area of lighter-colored granite. Malapai is an Americanization of the Spanish word malpais, which translates to "bad terrain" or "badlands". 

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Thursday, October 6, 2016

Searching for an Old Desert Mine (B&W Version)

You might recall from my last post that we were recently out in the middle of the desert searching for a mine I had read about (the Carlyle Mine complex). We never made it to the mine because the sand was too deep and soft. Even my Jeep would have gotten stuck (it nearly did prior to turning around), so we parked and had a little picnic and photo shoot. There are other ways to reach the mine which I will try in the future.

Highway 62, about 25 miles east of 29 Palms, is a really remote area. Nothing out here, and nothing nearby. Does anyone notice anything weird in the photo above? Ha, looks like I've lost a little weight, too!

Lonely desert shots. I really prefer b&w for these photos. Just a personal preference, I guess. What's your preference?? Click here for the color version.

Sand sculpture!
Old Water Tank
Old Desert Fence
Not much left of this old desert fence. You can see the two strands of barbed wire on the ground, and the post looks ancient. Wonder why they needed a fence here in the first place??
Hope you enjoyed my b&w photos!
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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Searching for an Old Desert Mine (Color Version)

On our last trip out to the desert, we went looking for an old mine located about 20 miles or so east of 29 Palms, CA. If you know this part of the desert, then you know the area is remote. Very remote. I read about this mine and it appealed to me because it looks like it's only a short drive (3-4 miles) off of Highway 62 with some cool stuff to see. I researched it carefully on Google Maps, planned my route, packed up the Jeep, and off we went!

Well, best laid plans. We didn't get more than a few hundred yards off the pavement before the sand got super-soft, deep and powdery. Even in 4WD, we were close to getting stuck. I decided not to risk it, turned the Jeep around, parked, and we had a little picnic. The mine will have to wait for another day and another way to approach it. I haven't given up yet!

My granddaughter wasted no time getting dolls out and playtime started!

And certainly not a wasted trip. I took the opportunity to photograph some of my favorite desert denizens (smoke trees). These bushy trees are found in desert washes and have a strange beauty all their own.
My wife even found a geocache. We know nothing about geocaching, and couldn't figure out what this little tin filled with... something... was doing in the center of a creosote bush in the middle of nowhere! We opened it up, my wife made an entry in the logbook, and added a couple treasures. My granddaughter was fascinated by it!
Highway 62, looking west. For Skywatch Friday "Sun in Your Eyes" edition!
In this stretch of the desert, Highway 62 is pretty quiet with limited traffic. However, you still want to pay attention to the occasional car or truck when you're out in the middle of the road taking pictures!

Sand sculpture!
While exploring the area, I came across two old water tanks and dry wells. See that big rusted-out opening on the side of the tank? Here's what it looks like from inside the tank:

Another view of the water tank, this shot is facing north. The mountains are starting to take on a slight purple tint.

One of the last shots of the day. As the sun was setting in the west, the mountains took on this incredible purple hue. Also, you can see what's left of some old fence posts. This area must have been something back in the day, with two wells and evidence of fencing. Perhaps an old ranch house? A nice opportunity for future research to see if I can't trace the roots of this area.

Next post I'm planning on B&W shots of this same location. I really prefer them. It's such a remote and lonely stretch of desert that B&W works perfectly. But I'll let you be the judge.

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