Monthly Archives

June 2013

Sky Rock and Full Moon, Chalfant Petroglyphs, Volcanic Tablelands

Astrophotography and Night Scapes, Sierra Nevada

Sky Rock and Moonlight, Bishop, California. (See also my photograph of Sky Rock at Dawn, Bishop, California and a gallery of other Sky Rock Petroglyph photos.) The Sky Rock Petroglyphs sit atop of an enormous volcanic block. The petroglyphs — dozens of them in many shapes and forms — face the sky, thus lending Sky Rock its name. My understanding is that Sky Rock’s orientation toward the heavens is unusual, but also curious is that this set of petroglyphs sits alone, isolated some 5+ miles from the rich Chalfant, Chidalgo and Red Rock petroglyph collections. Chipped into the rock, through the darker “desert varnish” that typically covers the exterior of such rocks, the Sky Rock Petroglyphs expose the lighter-colored rock underneath. The history of Sky Rock is not clear to me, although I have seen a number of published suggestions that the Sky Rock Petroglyphs were perhaps created by ancestors of what are today known as the Owens Valley Paiute (or Shoshone-Paiute) people.

Sky Rock at night, light by moonlight with stars in the clear night sky above.  Sky Rock petroglyphs near Bishop, California. Hidden atop an enormous boulder in the Volcanic Tablelands lies Sky Rock, a set of petroglyphs that face the sky. These superb examples of native American petroglyph artwork are thought to be Paiute in origin, but little is known about them

Sky Rock at night, light by moonlight with stars in the clear night sky above. Sky Rock petroglyphs near Bishop, California. Hidden atop an enormous boulder in the Volcanic Tablelands lies Sky Rock, a set of petroglyphs that face the sky. These superb examples of native American petroglyph artwork are thought to be Paiute in origin, but little is known about them.
Image ID: 28505

If you like this image, be sure to visit my Landscape Astrophotography website.

Ancient Bristlecone Pines, Full Moon and Starry Night, Patriarch Grove

Astrophotography and Night Scapes, Trees, White Mountains

This is the best image I made during a May trip through the White Mountains and Tioga Pass. I set out to find new, photogenic ancient bristlecone pine trees, something other than the two iconic brutes along the Discovery Trail near Schulman Grove and the oft-photographed leaner near the Patriarch Grove parking lot. I found some really nice ones, and spent the last light of the day photographing them, returning again after dinner to photograph them under the moonlight and stars. This is the panoramic image I wanted to create on this trip, depicting a stately old bristlecone, somewhat alone on the dolomite-white slopes of the White Mountains but with its brethren in the background of the composition, with a view along the crest of the White Mountains and the Sierra Nevada in the distance. It is humbling to know that his tree owned such an expansive view for centuries, watching storms peel off the distant Sierra Nevada, pass over the Owens Valley far below and crash against its rooted home in the White Mountains, the bitter winds blowing the tree eastward and sculpting it into its now-gnarled form. This panorama is actually an enormous image which, at full resolution, will print up to 4′ high by 11′ long. Please contact me for licensing, printing and any use of this image. Cheers and thanks for looking!

Ancient bristlecone pine trees at night, under a clear night sky full of stars, lit by a full moon, near Patriarch Grove, Pinus longaeva, White Mountains, Inyo National Forest

Ancient bristlecone pine trees at night, under a clear night sky full of stars, lit by a full moon, near Patriarch Grove.
Image ID: 28533
Species: Ancient Bristlecone Pine, Pinus longaeva
Location: White Mountains, Inyo National Forest, California, USA

Milky Way and Star Trails Over the Watchman, Zion National Park

Astrophotography and Night Scapes, Utah, Zion

The Watchman is one of the iconic landmarks in Zion National Park, such that throngs of photographers line the bridge each fall at sunset to photograph the Watchman with the Virgin River and autumn trees in front of it. We elected for a much different image, one with the Milky Way soaring over the Watchman at night. We imaged the peak from a variety of locations, moving as the Milky Way crossed through the sky in order to keep the composition balanced. In this case I elected for a time exposure too long to freeze the stars but shorter than a typical star trail, and was pleased with the result. The Milky Way is still recognizable while the streaking stars add some movement to the image. I used the same technique on another composition several hundred miles away, which I will post in the coming days. Cheers, and thanks for looking!

Milky Way over the Watchman, Zion National Park.  The Milky Way galaxy rises in the night sky above the the Watchman

Milky Way over the Watchman, Zion National Park. The Milky Way galaxy rises in the night sky above the the Watchman.
Image ID: 28587
Location: Zion National Park, Utah, USA

If you like this image, be sure to visit my Landscape Astrophotography website.

Torrey Pines State Reserve Panoramic Photo, Sunrise, San Diego

California, Landscape, Panoramas, San Diego

Panorama Picture of Torrey Pines State Reserve at Dawn, San Diego

I know Broken Hill and Torrey Pines State Reserve very well, having run on the trails here at all times of day, throughout the year, since about 1986. There is a certain time of year when both the morning sun is at the perfect position to light the bluff just the way I want and the annual weather patterns make the likelihood of a clear morning high. I woke a few hours before dawn, looked out my window toward the ocean and confirmed the sky was clear, drove down to Del Mar and hiked along the beach and up the Torrey Pines bluffs to be in position at Broken Hill for the first rays of sunrise. A bit of ocean mist was floating over the Pacific, and Mount Soledad looming over La Jolla in the distance had some clouds crowning it. But it was strikingly clear where I was standing. The air was quite still such that I could hear the small birds and animals moving through the sage bushes on the Torrey Pines mesa, and I could hear the ocean waves crashing onto the beach hundreds of feet below. A fine morning indeed, one of those mornings that makes me glad I live in San Diego. If you feel this image would make a fine wall hanging for your home or office, please know that this panorama photo will print as large as 10 feet long by 3 1/2 feet high. Please contact me if you have any questions. Cheers, and thanks for looking!

Broken Hill and view to La Jolla, panoramic photograph, from Torrey Pines State Reserve, sunrise, San Diego, California

Broken Hill and view to La Jolla, panoramic photograph, from Torrey Pines State Reserve, sunrise.
Image ID: 28397
Location: Torrey Pines State Reserve, San Diego, California, USA