Sunday, August 26, 2012

Summer Vacation Part-2

Sleeping under the stars. Our tent, Joshua Tree and Milky Way at Walker Pass Campground.
Most Sc-Fi fans probably like looking at the stars. I'm no exception, and have a particular interest the night sky and telescopes and cameras. Living in Los Angeles, however, doesn't exactly make for very good stargazing. You're lucky to see a couple dozen stars at best. So I used the Dark Sky Finder to find a spot relatively close to LA to see what we could see, and try out a telescope, camera, and a few lenses. Check out Summer Vacation Part-1 if you missed it.

1960's vintage Vivitar 500mm f/6.3. I got this from Goodwill! 

Rugged peaks between Walker Pass and Chimney Creek.

My friend's NexStar 6SE telescope.

We went to Walker Pass Campground, which is about 2.5 hours from LA and is one of the closest really dark spots. We got tons of good views of star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies through the scope, and I fooled around with some wide angle pics with my camera and kit lens.

We played with a green laser pointer, which was very fun. It was so dark, you could actually see the beam of the laser. It looked just like a lightsaber!
Milky Way and laser.

The fuzzy object in the center is the Andromeda galaxy.
I still have a lot to learn about astrophotography, but it was a lot of fun. In the daytime, I was able to get a few pics of more earthly objects.

I couldn't remember which side of the tree the moss is supposed to grow on...

This pile of rocks was on the Pacific Crest Trail. I'm convinced it a signal by Sasquatches.

This is Red Rock Canyon, which might be the destination for the next trip :)

A closeup of Red Rock through the Vivitar 500mm lens.
A lonely road and crumpled tin roof.
Red Rock Canyon has campsites that are right next to the rocks. I want to shoot a short Sci-Fi film there. Hmm, or maybe adapt one of the Mythik Imagination stories...
It was sure nice to be able to see all the stars and even the Milky Way. Also very inspirational :) I have a lot of #amwriting and #amediting to do, so I better get back to it.

How was your summer?


  1. Oh, very nice. I'm jealous of your goodwill find. I'll have to start checking mine for such treasures.

  2. Great pics of the landscapes. What camera did you use?

  3. Thanks, Mary. You can also try

    Sometimes they have some cool stuff in their camera section. The best way is find something you like, decide the max you want to pay, then bid at the last second. Because of the way it autobids, most of the time you can win at a lot less than your max. The deals aren't quite as spectacular as they used to be, since collectors have discovered the site. Of course it's a bit of a gamble because you never quite know the real condition of the item until it arrives ;)

    Sarasota, the pics are with a Canon T3i with the kit 18-55 lens. Except the close-up of Red Rock which is the goodwill $36 500mm lens. The last pic of the Red Rock campsite is a snapshot with a Kodak Play - also from Goodwill haha.

  4. Beautiful pictures. I hadn't heard of that app, but it sounds priceless.