129 Photos - Jul 9, 2013
Photo: Milky Way and Venus rising over old cars - Mojave Desert, California, March, 2014.Photo: Natural Arch in Joshua Tree National Park, CaliforniaPhoto: Heavy MachineryPhoto: July Milky Way in the Eastern Sierra.  This was taken at 11:26 PM, showing the orientation of the Milky Way when it's high in the night sky.Photo: Milky Way over Hoover House at BodiePhoto: Taken during one of my night photography workshops in Bodie in 2013Photo: Please don't disclose the names or locations of historic or archaeological sites.

I've watched this site deteriorate from vandalism over the past few decades, and since last Fall one of the buildings on this site was shot and kicked down. Vandalism only multiplies if a site becomes known online:

As Vandals Deface U.S. Parks, Some Point to Online Show-http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/05/us/as-vandals-take-to-national-parks-some-point-to-social-media.html

Not long ago petroglyphs were stolen from the Bishop area using a generator and a stone-cutting saw. People disclosing the site locations (or names, allowing directions to be looked up) often claim that increased visitor traffic would protect them, but clearly that did not come about.

Comments mentioning the name or location of this site will be deleted, and repeat offenders will be blocked.Photo: Faded DreamsPhoto: Photo: Upper Yosemite Fall Moonbow and Star Trails
This image was a finalist in the Astronomy Photographer of the Year contest sponsored by the Royal Observatory, Greenwich:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/gallery/2011/aug/12/astronomy-photographer-year-2011-shortlist#/?picture=377796373&index=3Photo: Light Painting in Badwater Basin -   We'll be back for another one in December.  Every time the light painting gets a little more elaborate... I already have some ideas regarding things I want to try next time!Photo: Photo: September 2012Photo: Light painting under partly cloudy skiesPhoto: Star trails a short while laterPhoto: Star Trails Over Fall ColorsPhoto: Bodie night photography workshopPhoto: Light painting at Tenaya Lake.  Taken during one of my photography workshops in Yosemite in 2013.Photo: Photo: Comet PANSTARRS and the crescent moon setting by an old mining structure in Death Valley National Park. This was when it first became visible to the left of the moon on March 12. I have more comet photos and a time-lapse video coming soon.Photo: Photo: Toppled bristlecone pine and Milky WayPhoto: Photo: Photo: Perseid meteor and star trails, 2012Photo: Stargazing - Winning Image, People and Space Category

Update 9/8/2011 - This image won the <b>People and Space</b> category in the  <b>Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2011</b> competition conducted by the Royal Observatory, Greenwich (home of Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian).  

My daughter <b>Nicole Sullivan</b> won Runner Up (second place) in the <b>Young Astronomer</b> category.  They sent a film crew up from Los Angeles and interviewed her for 7 hours!  Here's the video: <a href="http://www.vimeo.com/28740663" rel="nofollow">www.vimeo.com/28740663</a>

Full results including all awarded images: <a href="http://www.nmm.ac.uk/visit/exhibitions/astronomy-photographer-of-the-year/winners-2011/" rel="nofollow">www.nmm.ac.uk/visit/exhibitions/astronomy-photographer-of...</a>

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This is a self portrait under the Milky Way.  

I was having too much fun pursuing Milky Way and star trail photos to sleep, but after catching sunrise I eventually caught a couple of hours of sleep from 6:15am-8:15am.Photo: Milky Way over Bodie FirehousePhoto: Photo: Stars Over Star DustPhoto: 95 30 second images, about 49 minutesPhoto: Photo: Photo: Photo: Photo: Star trails over the arch before dawnPhoto: Sunset yields to blue hour in BodiePhoto: Blue Hour BristleconePhoto: Blue Hour at The Racetrack
Light painting among the "sailing stones" during the Spring in Death Valley photography workshop that Lori Hibbett and I led in March 2013.

These rocks move across the surface of this lake bed, leaving tracks in the clay.  No one has ever seen them move, but the U.S. Geological Survey has studied and mapped their movement over multiple years.  The mechanism of movement seems to be periods of high winds while the clay surface is wet and slippery::

"One recent study used a high-tech approach in an attempt to solve the mystery of the sliding rocks. Detailed measurements using Global Positioning System (GPS) instruments were made of over 160 sliding rocks and their trails."

"After analyzing their rock trail map, researchers found that the longest, straightest trails are concentrated in the southeastern part of Racetrack Playa. In this area, wind is channelled through a low point in the mountains, forming a natural wind tunnel. In the central part of the playa two natural wind tunnels focus their energy from different directions. It's in this area that rock trails are the most convoluted."

"So the evidence suggests that strong gusts of wind and swirling dust devils, in combination with a slick playa surface may set even the heaviest the rocks in motion. Off they go, scooting along downwind until friction slows them down and they come to rest. There the stones wait for the next time when slippery mud and wind spur them into action again."
Using Differential GPS to Map the "Sliding" Rocks of Racetrack Playa
http://www.profsurv.com/magazine/article.aspx?i=769#sthash.WI0c906F.dpufPhoto: Geminid meteor shower over a mine in Death ValleyPhoto: Geminid Meteor in Death ValleyPhoto: Leonid Meteor Shower 2010Photo: Orionid Meteor ReflectionPhoto: Star TunnelPhoto: Near Mono LakePhoto: Icy Night ReflectionPhoto: Milky Way over Standard MillPhoto: Photo: Standard Mill at NightPhoto: Photo: Self PortraitPhoto: Photo: Photo: Bristlecone pine, snow and Milky WayPhoto: Standard Mill Ore ConveyerPhoto: Photo: Photo: Rancher's Cabin at NightPhoto: Photo: Photo: Light Painting - For the next opportunities to shoot Bodie at night, I'm working on confirming September 22 and October 6.  Contact me for further details.Photo: Pool Table in the Wheaton & Hollis HotelPhoto: 1937 Chevrolet and Sky VortexPhoto: Eastern Sierra BarnPhoto: Photo: Bodie's Wheaton & Hollis Hotel at NightPhoto: Bodie Methodist Church at NightPhoto: Blue Hour Cloud Over 1937 ChevroletPhoto: Photo: Bodie Schoolhouse at NightPhoto: Photo: Star Trails and Perseid Meteors

I just tried a star trails action to combine 44 shots I took last year.  Most of the streaks are airplanes, but you can see a few meteors just to the left of the tree.

This year the shower will peak on Aug 12/13, but it runs for several weeks and can be productive to particularly productive to shoot for several days in the Aug 11-14 timeframe.  This year will be better than last due to a slim crescent moon that will not be bright enough to wipe out the meteors.Photo: Milky Way over Olmstead Point.  Taken during one of my photography workshops in Yosemite in 2013Photo: Photo: The repaired Canon XTi gets a workout with even older artifactsPhoto: Photo: Borrego Springs at nightPhoto: Borrego Springs Mammoth Sculpture at NightPhoto: 2007, Conceptual compositePhoto: August 29, 2007Photo: West: Eclipse Moon Set Under Belt of VenusPhoto: Setting Crescent

The last sliver of a crescent moon sets over Death Valley.  

The round disk is the dark side of the moon; the tips of the crescent are barely visible.Photo: Jet to the MoonPhoto: Moon Rise by Half DomePhoto: Lightning Strikes!Photo: Storm Chasing in NevadaPhoto: Star Trails Over Thunder Storm
Timelapse video of this storm on YouTube: http://youtu.be/I8OEEhKlKzE?hd=1Photo: Blue Hour LightningPhoto: Lightning Storm under the Stars
I captured this storm in a timelapse video you can see on YouTube as well: http://youtu.be/I8OEEhKlKzE?hd=1Photo: Twilight LightningPhoto: Twilight at Lake TahoePhoto: Moonlit Mist on Mono

Fog flows onto the icy surface of Mono Lake during a moonlit Winter night earlier this week.Photo: Death Valley Slot CanyonPhoto: "Today, I'm very careful not to mention very specific
locations when I write or give captions."
- Galen Rowell
This location cannot handle a lot of photographers at once, so it would be a tragedy to have it become common knowledge on the Internet. I've moved it to an unlisted album.Photo: Light Painting in Valley of FirePhoto: 7:50 pm Friday nightPhoto: Topaz Ranch Estates Fire, Gardnerville, Nevada, May 22, 2012.Photo: Watching the 1200 acre Buckeye fire near Bridgeport in the Eastern Sierra on Sunday nightPhoto: The Buckeye Fire in Bridgeport as seen across Big Meadow Sunday night.  September 26, 2011.Photo: 50th Anniversary Fireworks over Tierra Del Sol 4WD ClubPhoto: South Lake Tahoe Fireworks
July 2011Photo: July 4 Fireworks, Bridgeport, CaliforniaPhoto: Independence Day, July 4, 2012 Bridgeport, CaliforniaPhoto: Moon rise over San Francisco's Bay BridgePhoto: Moonlit Beach by the Golden Gate, October 22, 2011.Photo: Golden Gate October SunrisePhoto: Photo: ZPhoto: Disk of LightPhoto: The Transamerica pyramid from my hotel room.  This is what I expected to be capturing the eclipsed moon next to, but they turned the lights out before the moon moved into position!Photo: Painted ladies in the blue hour shortly after sunset.Photo: Clock tower on the ferry terminal in San Francisco.Photo: Photo: Photo: The Ghosts of BodiePhoto: Taken during one of my photography workshops in Yosemite in 2013Photo: Night Photography Workshop at BodiePhoto: Night Photography at Bodie's Standard MillPhoto: Light Painting Bodie's Standard MillPhoto: Night Photography at Bodie SchoolhousePhoto: Night Photography at Bodie's Boone StorePhoto: Photo: Photo: Yosemite's Tenaya Lake at NightPhoto: Eta Aquarid Meteor, Milky Way and Reflection
A few days ago I suggested that you could go out in the early morning hours, look east, and look for meteors from the Eta Aquarid meteor shower.  All week we've had storms here, so I wasn't able to look for it myself.  Yesterday morning, I finally had my chance.  I did capture many meteors, but mainly as the apparent source, or radiant point, of the meteor shower rose above the horizon starting around 2:40 am.

Then reviewing my shots I saw this one earlier, around 12:23 am.  Was it an Eta Aquarid?  Meteors could come shooting up over the horizon a couple of hours before the radiant point in the constellation Aquarius rose, but I think that was going to occur more centered in this picture.  So the trail of an Eta Aquarid meteor should be pointing down and to the left, towards a point below the center, almost 90 degrees from this one's path.  So although this one appears to the observing camera to be roughly in the sky where many of the meteors did show up 2 to 3 hours later, it doesn't appear to be from the Eta Aquarid meteor shower.  Random meteors happen.

Well, Eta Aquarid meteor or not, this meteor's timing was great, streaking through the Milky Way while the lake was calm enough to provide an only slightly blurry reflection of it.  It's interesting to notice that the star reflections blur towards the camera as slight waves come towards shore in this long exposure, but the path of the meteor is more erratic because it doesn't stay still as waves make the reflecting surface also move.  Too often you'll see a photo with a perfect mirror reflection of the stars.  Can an entire lake be a perfectly flat mirror for the 30 seconds typically required to capture a star shot like this?  A small puddle perhaps, and a reflection in a lake looks mirror smooth for a short sunset exposure, but over the course of a long exposure, lake surfaces move.  I haven't seen a real lake provide a Photoshop-like mirror surface for a long dark sky exposure, but I hope I live long enough to see that night.

Here's a blog post I wrote a while back describing how to capture Milky Way images like this one:
Producing Milky Way Images
http://activesole.blogspot.com/2011/05/producing-milky-way-images.html

Join me June 29 for a Milky Way photography workshop in Bodie State Historic Park with fellow award-winning astrophotographer Steven Christenson: http://activesole.blogspot.com/p/bodie-night-photography-workshops-2013.htmlPhoto: This was the best view of it I was able to get last week.  I'm hoping to get one more shot at it, but we've had hazy skies and it looks like that's what we'll have again tonight.

Updates on Comet PanSTARRShttp://www.skyandtelescope.com/skytel/beyondthepage/185665152.htmlVideo: Independence Day fireworks at Crowley Lake in the Eastern Sierra 2013.  I really want to turn off the GIF-like flashing of this when it is shared to my Stream, but if it's because of Auto-Awesome, there doesn't seem to be any way to turn that off on a per-video or per-album basis.Photo: Anyone can announce a workshop, but are tehy actually a full time photographer?  Ask for publishing credits.Photo: The moon doesn't rise until 4:41 am tonight... Milky Photography is back!  

I can't wait to return to Bodie Saturday, August 30.  This was taken there last Friday, August 15.Photo: Old truck in Bodie, captured during our night photography workshop August 30, 2014.