Joshua Tree - Climbing San Jacinto Peak,
25-26 May 2013, California
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|Saturday 25 May 2013, continued:
We had climbed Mt. San Jacinto Peak. And later that evening, although a bit sore and tired, I decided to stay up late taking night sky photos in Joshua Tree National Park.
When I'm shooting north-facing photos, I really love to place Polaris as interestingly as I can in the frame. Here, I've managed to place it at the pinnacle of the cliff to accentuate the trails and draw the eye to the pinnacle more.
Title: Quail Springs Rocks Star Trails
Title: Stony Fingers Reaching For The Skies
For this photo, I decided to experiment a bit with the star trails, having them appear as short comets instead of longer trails. This is also the first photo in which I used a Photoshop Action I purchased from Star Circle Academy called Advanced Star Stacker Plus, which I hope will save me from carpal tunnel. Doing star trails in Photoshop is a lengthy process with a lot of mouse clicks and maneuvers, and this sort of action can do much of the tedious work automatically.
Title: Memorial Day Star Trails
For most of the other night sky photos here except obviously for the two star trails photographs, I did a relatively short exposure, usually keeping the shutter open for 30 seconds or under, and often 20 seconds or under. For this, however, I decided to let it go longer to streak the clouds and the stars a bit for a slightly more surreal effect.
I often keep the "regular" night sky photos around 20 seconds because the stars appear as pinpoints of light and don't trail much in the photo. The earth is moving quite a bit, and with long exposure photos, just 30 seconds or more can show appreciable star trails.
Shortly after this photograph, I drove back to the hotel, where Lisa was sleeping soundly. It had been a full day, waking up early to climb Mt. San Jacinto Peak, a 10, 834 ft./3302m peak, then staying up late to take photos. I got back around 1:30 am.
Title: Towering Twins
|Sunday 25 May 2013:
The next morning, we woke up a bit sore from climbing Mt. San Jacinto Peak, a 12-mile round trip at high elevation (for us). We thought a fairly flat hike would be in order, so we drove out La Contenta to the Backcountry Board and began walking up Covington Crest. The Covington Flats/Covington Crest area has some of the largest Joshua Trees in the Park.
|Some of the largest Joshua Trees are located in the Covington Flats and Covington Crest area.|
|A very large, older Joshua Tree along the Covington Crest Trail.|
The Covington Crest Trail terminates in a dramatic precipice above East Deception Canyon, a deep canyon that leads steeply down to the lower south desert. From here, there are magnificent views of the Coachella Valley and the low desert towns of Palm Desert, Palm Springs, and others, with the Santa Rosa Mountains beyond.
To the right, not shown in this photo, is Lone Tree Hill, a nice side hike that we will do next time when we are not wearing shorts.
|Covington Crest Trail, a not-so-visited area of Joshua Tree National Park.|
|The rays of the desert sun peaking through an enormous Joshua Tree at Covington Crest.|
|Not quite content to go back to the hotel yet, we drove through the main part of JTNP to Hemingway, a very popular rock climbing area in the Park.|
|Hemingway, Joshua Tree National Park.|
|Beautiful Hemingway at Joshua Tree National Park.|
|Hemingway at Joshua Tree National Park, with one of the more popular climbing areas to the left of the large boulder in the distance.|
|George was, as usual, an outstanding monkey companion, rooting us on to the top of Mt. San Jacinto Peak, keeping the camera batteries charged for long exposure night sky photography, and warning us away from sharp cacti.|
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Joshua Tree National Park, Climbing San Jacinto Peak, May 2013
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