Thursday, July 31, 2014

Desert Panoramas

I haven't taken any pano shots in a while... overdue, right? Driving the Jeep around in Joshua Tree recently the conditions were ideal: Wide open vistas combined with great clouds. I was thinking about my friends at Skywatch Friday when I took these!
The shot above is one of my favorites. It's two images stitched together in Photoshop with my telephoto zoom lens set at 90mm. Double-click on the image to make it larger so you can see the dirt road off in the distance that I took to get down into this part of Joshua Tree National Park. It's called Geology Tour Road, and it's one of my favorite areas in the park. Here's the same shot in b&w. What's your preference??
Below is another pano shot of the same area. This time my zoom is set at 70mm and it's three images stitched together, so it covers a much wider angle. The problem with pano shots is that the more images you stitch together, the narrower the final shot ends up. I generally don't like to use more than three images or the shot gets too narrow.

The double-peaked hill to the left is called Malapai Hill. The geologists get really excited about this hill. I have no idea why and I don't know much about geology. I just know it looks cool and it's a nice hike over to the base.
The photo below is very different from those above. As I was bumping along home in the Jeep, traveling north past Malapai Hill, the sun had set and the sky was dark and grey except for this little sliver of bright, colorful sky. I used a tripod and a 400mm telephoto lens and stitched together two images. It's really just a very small area because of the telephoto lens, but it looked like a jewel on the horizon!
Thanks for stopping by, and have a great weekend. Click on the Skywatch link to check out great skies from around the world!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Summer Rain

Well, not really. Wishful thinking on my part. The sprinklers went off in the backyard the other morning, and the sun was hitting my wife's milkweed plants (they attract butterflies, which we've had in numbers all summer long) in a way that caught my eye. I used a slower shutter speed and 200mm telephoto lens to get blur and turn the sprinkler drops into "lines".
200mm, f/9, 1/50 sec., ISO 100
I did something in PhotoShop to make the image below... more contrast and a green background, but can't recall exactly how I did it! Oh well, not important.
Looking back now, I wish I would have taken a couple shots with a fast shutter speed to "freeze" the drops in mid-air. Would have made for an interesting comparison! Happy Wednesday, hope your week is going well, and thanks for stopping by!

Wordless Wednesday

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Desert Wind Generators

Getting out of LA and Orange County suburbia can be a real challenge. Traffic is always heavy, and if there's an accident or road construction, it can really get ugly! So I always breathe easier when I get my first glimpse of the wind generators when heading east on the 10 freeway. It's a sure sign that I've officially left suburbia behind!

The wind is always blowing in this part of the desert. Notice how the creosote bush in the photo above is leaning hard to the left? The wind gets funneled between the San Gorgonio mountains to the north and San Jacinto mountains to the south (see photo above), creating a wind tunnel.

Do you have any wind generators in your area? Thanks for stopping by! Linking with Skywatch Friday.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet

Unlike the Sky Village Swap Meet in the desert town of Yucca Valley, CA, that a posted about here, I have to give the Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet mixed reviews. Why? Well, the stuff they are selling didn't really interest me. Second reason (and it's a deal-breaker for me), they don't allow photography. Seems strange to me, but the people at this swap meet definitely don't want their picture taken!

The original drive-in movie screen is still standing, which is kind of cool!

No comment

Despite the "no picture taking" signs all over the place, we found one nice lady that gave me permission to shoot away (probably because my wife was buying a hat from her!). However, the guy in the next booth over was giving me the evil eye!!

The Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet is in an older, industrial part of town, so I was expecting to see some interesting things. I was a little disappointed. However, this swap meet received positive feedback on Yelp for the cheap draft beer and live bands on Friday night. If you are in to that sort of thing, you might want to check it out.
Hope your weekend was a good one. We were out in the desert this weekend. I took the Jeep out Saturday afternoon and got some good shots I'll be sharing later this week. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

~~Watching the Sun Set~~

800mm, f/13, 1/800sec, ISO 1250
Linking with Skywatch Friday. Click the link to check out great skies from around the world. Thanks to our hosts Yogi, Sylvia and Sandy!

Monday, July 14, 2014


Can you guess what this is? I'm sure the answer is no, it's too abstract.
How about now?
No? Let's make the points even smaller...
OK, now you can probably tell what it is. Below is the original image, which was taken in Joshua Tree National Park a few weeks ago.

Pointillize is a filter in PhotoShop (and probably many other photo editing programs as well) that turns the image into multiple "points". The cool thing is you can select the size of the points, which allows you to do some pretty interesting edits. Not sure it works well for this image (I think I like the original best), but fun to play around with!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

One Man's Junk

We've been driving past this swap meet every other weekend for four years and never knew it was there! This old drive-in movie site (Sky Theater Drive In) in the high desert town of Yucca Valley was converted to a swap meet over 20 years ago. Somehow my wife found out about this place so we paid it a visit. Old, dusty, rusty, and junky items, much of it very cheap... Yeehaw, I've found my perfect swap meet!
I knew right away I was going to like this place. The old drive-in movie ticket booth was still intact and it has that mid-century modern look. Very cool under blue desert skies!
Free parking, free entrance, no crowds, and strange and unusual stuff as soon as you get out of your car!
A wall of rusty old gas cans, wagon wheels, car rims, tools, and who knows what all.
Searching for treasures under blue skies and Joshua Trees...
So much it's hard to know where to begin!
Stained glass window made out of household glass.
Yup, lots of vintage goods, treasures, and oddities!!
One of my wifes finds... a red and white Radio Flyer tricycle with whitewall tires! How can you pass that up for under $10? I can already picture my granddaughter tearing around on this thing!!
I would rate this swap meet an enthusiastic two thumbs up! Since I got a piece of my desert fence in the late afternoon sun, linking with Good Fences at Run*A*Round Ranch. Also sharing my blue desert skies at Sywatch Friday. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Orange Skies

Joshua Tree National Park, CA. Just a little sliver of the sun was all that was left of the day...
No clouds, but a beautiful orange sunset...
A magical moment in time for hiking on the rocks...
Linking with Skywatch Friday. Have a great 4th of July weekend!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum

Noah Purifoy (1917 - 2004) was an African-American artist and co-founder of the Watts Towers Art Center. He is best know for his "assemblage sculptures", including a body of work made from charred debris and wreckage collected after the Watts Riots of August 1965. In 1989, Mr. Purifoy moved from LA to Joshua Tree, CA.  During the last 15 years of his life, he filled 10 acres of his high desert landscape with "assemblage art", working with all kinds of materials, much of it discarded trash and random desert debris. I found it really interesting, and if you're in the area, it's well worth a visit.
This photo gives you a feel for what the property looks like... it goes on for 10 acres and includes all varieties of assemblage sculptures! And it's free, which is nice.
 I think this one is called "Voting Booth", which might give us a sense of Mr. Purifoy's views of our election process!
This one's called "Sixty-Five Aluminum Trays".
Called "No Contest", I like the way the bikes look against the desert sky.

Below is "Shelter", built from wood and debris salvaged from a neighbor's house in the desert that burned down.
Below are shots from inside "Shelter", a really strange assemblage of stuff.

Below is "Kirby Express", named from the old fashioned vacuum cleaners. There are also beer cans, a baby carriage, smudge pot and swamp cooler all mounted on bicycle wheels and affixed to a make-shift railroad track!
Hope you enjoyed this tour of the Noah Purifoy Outdoor Desert Art Museum. Thanks for stopping by!