Thursday, September 23, 2021

Harvest Moon

"Harvest" Full Moonrise: Sept. 20, moonrise at 7:08PM, 95 degrees (on the compass). Sunset @6:50PM.
Armed with this information, I headed out with camera, telephoto and wide angle lenses, and tripod, at about 6:15PM, to an overlook with clear views to the east.

Looking west, I made it just in time to catch the setting sun. But I was hoping to catch the Harvest moon. Fortunately, I didn't have to wait long.


More ghosts!

I was right next to the Summit House Restaurant, so before driving home, I decided to practice my night photography. The restaurant is up on a hill and has wonderful views.
"Harvest" Full Moonset: Sept. 21, moonset at 7:12AM, 268 degrees (on the compass). Sunrise @6:39AM.
Armed with this information, I headed out with camera, telephoto and wide angle lenses, and tripod, at about 6:15AM, to an overlook with clear views to the west.
Kind of fun to see the same moon, from the previous night, now setting on the western horizon.

**Manipulated Photo Alert**  Yes, I took the photo of the wooden stairs. Yes, I took a photo of the moon. But the moon never lined up like this over the stairs. Photoshop has a feature now called "Replace Sky", and it makes it too easy to replace a so-so sky with something more dramatic (in this case, a moon). It works wonderfully, and I have nothing against it. I just think we should tell people when we manipulate photos like this.
As the moon was setting on the horizon, the park turned on the sprinklers!

An added benefit was getting to enjoy the sunrise!

As the moon moved lower on the horizon into the soupy haze, and the sun rose on the eastern horizon, brightening up the sky, the moon all but disappeared. Can you still see it??
Linking with Skywatch Friday.
Thanks for stopping by!!

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Mystery Structure at Dale Dry Lake

 Last post, I signed off with a photo of this "mystery" structure.
It's certainly a mystery to me. Kind of reminds me of a Midwest grain silo, but I know to a certainty, there is no grain being farmed in this area. To refresh your memory, there are salt ponds in the area, and salt is being mined. How or if salt mining has anything to do with this structure is part of the mystery. Lets go take a closer look through those open doors.
It's kind of creepy inside. Through the magic of digital photography and editing, I lightened up this photo considerably. It was like stepping into a dark cave, and I had to stand here for a while to let my eyes adjust. As I was standing in darkness, a large bird suddenly flew down through a hole in the ceiling, directly over my head, and out the door. I think it was an owl. Scared the you-know-what out of me!
Looking out the entrance. That's my Jeep out there. 

I decide to walk the perimeter just to see what else I might find. This is the view looking south. The access door we walked through is on the west side (right side in this photo). The south side (which you can't see in this photo) has a fenced-off area.
It's too bad I'm out exploring alone today. I would like to have someone stand next to this structure for size perspective. It's huge! Look closely and you can just make out my Jeep in the photo below. That might help a little with perspective.
As I was walking the perimeter of our mystery structure and looking through the camera lens happily clicking away, I walked right by this hole in the ground. Looking back, I realize how lucky I was not to have fallen in! It's about 10-15 feet deep, and had I fallen in, I'm certain I would have never gotten out. I'd be just another desert mystery... gone missing and never seen again. I wonder what ever happened to that guy over at Spare Parts??!
Here's were things get really weird...
Not far from the mysterious hole in the ground is this huge circular structure. It kind of reminds me of something one might see at Burning Man, or perhaps the movie Beyond Thunderdome. It's not visible from a distance, so I didn't spot it until I was close to it. It has strangely twisted rebar sticking out of the top of the circular wall, as if a bomb went off, and a strange concrete tower thingy right in the middle of the circle.
The only way I can find to get inside Thunderdome (I don't know what else to call it).

From inside Thunderdome, I discover a tunnel or passageway heading in the direction of the grain silo mystery structure (not sure what to call that one either!). Perhaps there is an underground connection? And perhaps if I had fallen in that hole, I could have crawled out through here? No answers, just questions, but I strongly suspect all this stuff has something to do with salt mining.
You must admit, it makes for interesting photographs!

This photo shows the proximity between "Thunderdome" and the grain silo structure.

Looks like a road went through here at one time.
I've been doing a lot of exploring, but there's still more to find.
I come across this old sofa sleeper, and it crosses my mind to sit down for a rest and a drink of water. That thought quickly leaves my mind as I see the dilapidated condition it is in. Perhaps years ago someone used to sleep under the desert stars on this sofa sleeper?
Thanks for joining me on my exploration of the Dale Dry Lake area!!
Stay safe and stay healthy.
Linking with Skywatch Friday.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Dale Dry Lake

 It's summer in the desert. Too hot to hike, so what to do? I decided to take the Jeep out exploring. Hot, yes, but I wouldn't be exerting myself, so that's something. Destination: Dale Dry Lake, east of 29 Palms. On Google Maps, I could see what looked like a group of abandoned trucks and construction vehicles, and I figured they would be fun to photograph. Before driving out, I did a little research on the area. It turns out, this area has a lot of history.

The original town of Dale was established in 1884 next to a well dug into what was called Dale Lake (now called Dale Dry Lake). I don't know if Dale was actually a lake back then, or a dry lake like it is today. At any rate, the well at Dale Lake provided a reliable water supply to the miners in the area. In 1899 the miners brought in pumps and laid the infrastructure for pumping water from the Dale well to the mines. It's estimated over 3,000 miners and thousands of supply and service workers lived in the area, and Dale was thriving. But not for long.

About the turn of the century, the town of Dale was moved to a location closer to the actual mines. This is where things get confusing, at least to me. New Dale was built several miles south of Old Dale. Of course Old Dale wasn't called Old Dale back then, but simply Dale. Multiple references mention that the original site of Dale was on or next to the dry lake (red arrow), but other references show the original Dale (Old Dale on the map below) as being near the current Highway 62/Gold Crown Road split. To make things even more confusing, there was a town called Virginia Dale, and another Dale site near Virginia Dale. Oh, and no one seems to know who the heck Dale was!

One thing is for sure: There was something here, and it was substantial. The big concrete pads with heavy bolts must have held down large machinery or structures. Perhaps water pumps for the well?

Whatever was here is slowly being broken down and swallowed by the desert. But the trucks and equipment I could see on Google Earth and I came here to photograph? All gone! Someone removed them. Fortunately, there are all kinds of interesting things out here to keep a photographer busy!
Here's yet another mystery: Pretty much right where I'm standing in the photos above is labeled "Bush" on Google Maps. I'm guessing it's the site of a small town, although when I research it, I get nothing. 

There were a couple of these big mounds of wood debris. Whatever these structures were, they were sitting on top of a dug out area that went pretty deep. Much of the wood has fallen into the space below it and partially filled it in.

About the only thing being mined out here these days is salt. It makes for some interesting photography, especially in the late afternoon when the shadows are long. It doesn't seem to be an activity that requires many employees. I didn't see another human being all afternoon.

I'm driving the Jeep over to a large concrete structure I saw on the horizon.

Awesome desert solitude and scenery!

Nope, not piles of snow. It's salt. And yes, I did taste it!

This looks interesting. Hope you will stop by next post while we go check it out!
Linking with Skywatch Friday.
Thanks for stopping by!!