Thursday, August 4, 2016

Night on the Lost Mesa

In the spring of the year I made a trip to west Texas and New Mexico.  It was a chance to get out west for a week of dark sky and some landscape photography.  My first stop was to make the drive out to the Lost Mesa.  I have wanted to get there for a shot at the spring Milky Way for sometime and decided to make that the start of a longer trip into the Big Bend country.

If you have read any of my other  Blog posts on the Lost Mesa you will find out what a lonely and quiet place this is.  Roughly 1.2 million acres of mostly public land that has no paved roads, no signs to point the way, and where you are a long, long way from help.  A place few have heard of, and only a handful will ever visit.

A truly wonderful place for the adventurous.

I made the drive out and found the high desert grasslands were in their typical dry and dusty conditions.  There was also the severe clear that one often finds out this direction.  That would make for no sunset but I hoped that would in turn, make for a good chance at the Milky Way at 0300 in the morning.

I did a hike across the mesa and around some lonely mountains.  Occasionally I even snapped a photo although the light was harsh.
  
As evening settled in with zero clouds I got to my camping spot and would be close to me selected spot for the Milky Way.  I took a few pictures of the sunset light and probably deleted 98% almost immediately.

As dark settled in, I crawled into my Honda Element which was set up in camping mode, stretched out and slept.  By 0300 the next morning I was up and going.  I walked up a small hill with some ocotillo on top and an angle of view to the southeast.

The Milky Way was rising in the sky just as I had hoped and I set about making images of the scene in front of me.


I had brought both my A7R and A7S and was working both on two tripods.  Photographing with two cameras is very tough, but possible at night as the longer exposures give you time to go from one to the other.  However you stay busy and I always worry about kicking a tripod in the dark.

The ocotillo made some interesting foreground subjects that I did some light painting on.  I also did narrower images where I precluded any foreground and just combined the Milky Way and surrounding mountain peaks.

Before I knew it, the night was fading and dawn was approaching.

The image that I had previsualized was there and I was able to get it.  I had a good shot and it was off across dusty roads toward Van Horn, Marfa, and Big Bend.

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