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Sunday, June 8, 2014

Starry Sunday

I love taking star photos when we're in the desert. The sky is so dark and the stars shine brilliantly. Often, there are unique rock formations to use as the backdrop for the stars.

At one of our campsites, I desperately wished that the view toward these cliff walls would yield good star photos. Alas, the cliff walls are to the west, and I've never managed to get good night photos that include the distinctively sculpted cliff walls.
To the north of the campsite, there is an active earthquake fault. Over eons, the fault has thrust "stuff" up above the ground to make a wall of unique-looking rock. It's reddish, and its shape is pleasing for photos.

So, I set up my camera there on several nights, with the rocks over the fault in the foreground and the North Star in the background. I tried different camera settings each night. One tough part of our camping trips, as a photographer, is that I cannot look closely at my photos or process them until I get home (because we have no access to electricity sources and no laptop with us).

That means that I try different settings for my star photos each night, hoping to learn later which one was best. For this site, I believe that nailed the settings best on our second night there. This photo is a composite of 4 hours and 15 minutes of 4 minute exposures with 5 seconds between exposures to let the camera store the files. I have an "intervalometer" to control my camera, opening and closing the shutter at pre-programmed times, so I can sleep while it does its work.
The camera kept taking photos through moonrise, and the reddish hue of the rocks is from the moon that has just risen off to the right of the frame. I used a computer program to superimpose all the exposures so we can see the star trails.

After a couple of years of experimenting with star trail photos, I have to say that this one is my favorite so far. If you look very very carefully, you can see a faint shooting star that streaked from the top of the photo, just to the left of the North Star.

R agrees! He gave this photo two dew claws up!
Happy Starry Sunday!


  1. pretty amazing! i liked the sky shot in the first, too! and hi, R!

  2. That stars are amazing and so are you R!

  3. R, you're a star in our book!

    Bart, Ruby and Otto

  4. I have to say that, other than shots of Shyla and R of course, this is my favorite of all your desert least so far ;-)!

  5. I always love your star shots.


  6. Star Light, Star Bright First star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might Have the wish I wish tonight....

  7. What I wouldn't give to spend time in the desert with you and the pack. Beautiful photos of beautiful things.
    P.s. I can totoally believe how much trash people leave behind, we see it here as well. Thanks for cleaning up after those who don't respect our earth. :)

  8. well you know I love your star photos, but I agree this is one of the very best I'v seen

  9. That is just incredible! You should do a more detailed post of how you do these.

  10. So cool, I would say you nailed it. Hmmmm, more camera equipment.

  11. You nailed it, stunning. Have you thought of an iPad, that uses little power, that way you could see all your photos until you get back home. Not sure how expensive they are in your area, down here the latest are over $1000, NZ, that is the Air model with loads of Gb. On my list!!! That rock formation shows how nature provides us with colours and beauty together. Cheers,Jean.

  12. Do you ever get tired of hearing, "beautiful"? I hope not.

  13. KB
    The photos that you share with us--are so magnificent-
    You are capturing beauty that we did not know was possible to capture!!!
    How we love that you share the beauty with us,,,,
    thank you

  14. Sounds so technical.

    XXXOOO Bella Roxy & Dui

  15. Your photos are always spectacular, KB!

  16. The expression on R's face says it all.
    Truly blessed that you share your photos of earth,nature and the sky with us.

    xo Cinnamon and Linda

  17. Love these. Sometimes I really want to get myself a proper camera so I can take photos as gorgeous as yours and especially the night photos. As hot as the desert can sometimes be - there is a beauty in it that is amazing and especially gratifying when it can be captured on film as you do! Thanks for sharing!

    You'll have to let me know if you try that treat pouch and what you think of it. :)

  18. Magnificent photo!!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley


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