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Arno Gourdol
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Arno Gourdol

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Entrance to Saline Valley.
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Arno Gourdol

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At a secret location: an oasis in the middle of Death Valley. So far from... everything.
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Zeke Koch's profile photoJennifer Clark's profile photo
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Secret? You must've been there on a quiet day! I was there 2 weeks ago with about 50 motorcyclists and maybe 75 people were camping there. I've been there over Easter with huge numbers of people arriving in RVs! 
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Arno Gourdol

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Joshua Tree National Park
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Arno Gourdol

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"Live this life"...

The Salton Sea was created by a flood of the Colorado from 1905 to 1907. In the 1950's it was a popular recreational destination, but its popularity has waned and all that remains of its former glory are some photogenic derelict buildings. It is still an important sanctuary for 400 species of birds and a stop on the Pacific Flyway.
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Zabriskie Point viewed from above...
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Arno Gourdol

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Cute overload: smiling at the camera... and holding hands.
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For my night-time photography I usually shoot with a Canon EOS 7D. I use one of two lenses. My traditional one is a Tokina 11-16mm f2.8. It's not a super sharp lens, but it's versatile. My more recent acquisition is a Rokinon 14mm f2.8 which has a good reputation for night-time photography. Its minor downside is that it's manual focus only and manual aperture only. However, for nigh-time photography, this doesn't matter.

Whichever lens I use, unless I want to capture star trails, I set the aperture as wide as possible (f2.8). I set the ISO settings to 1600. You can push it further, but at the cost of some additional noise. For pictures of the Milky Way I keep my exposure between 8 and 60s. Over 10s and the stars start to blur.

To capture star trails I lower the ISO settings to 400 and increase the exposure to 4-6min.

I focus manually using the Live View mode, zoomed in on a bright star.

Of course, the conditions have to be right. Ideally, a clear sky and a new moon. These past few days the moon is gibbous, and I have to wait for it to set, at very inconvenient times (3am-5am). It also pays to wait for a good location of the Milky Way. Unfortunately this week the galactic core is not visible when the moon is set, so I make do with what Nature is giving me. I hardly complain :)
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Greg DeMichillie's profile photoArno Gourdol's profile photo
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It's super fun and easier than it seems. Give it a try and share!
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Arno Gourdol

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General Patton set up the Desert Training Center in 1942 to prepare US troops to fight in Northern Africa
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