Red Rock Canyon Field Trip, January 29, 2011
Contributed by: Sue Craft
We got lucky! It was an unusually warm (almost 70 degrees), non-windy day in January, in the Antelope Valley, and thirteen LPA members met up to photograph the beautiful canyons at Red Rock Canyon State Park, with it’s scenic desert cliffs, and spectacular rock formations. We were all excited about learning how to photograph star trails on a moonless night.
David Wilkins, our trip leader, has a passion for star trail photography and scenes in the dark, whether it be by the light of a full moon, or a dark moonless night, or painting the subject with light, and is always willing to share his techniques. He also loves turning nature photos into B/W’s, and the dramatic cliffs and desert flora around Red Rock Canyon make for perfect photo ops. Chris Wilkins was our wildflower guide and pointed out the first “Goldfield” and “Coreopsis” of the season.
After shooting the canyon walls, with all the “people” looking at us (with a little bit of imagination, you can see all sorts of faces in the walls)… we all met up at the picnic area for a BBQ dinner. Hobo Packets on the grill…beef, chicken, fish, veggies, and fast food reheats were all represented on the grill. Ahhhh…. the sizzle and smell… delightful! Cookies by Chris… once you eat, you’ll never forget and want way too many more! Much info was shared among all on camera settings, post processing, and plug in’s available to enhance your photos. Arliss was quick! He brought his laptop to dinner, with all of his pics for the day, already imported into Lightroom, shared and answered all sorts of questions, all on top of a picnic table w/o power, at Red Rock Canyon Sate Park.
Once at our location for photographing star trails… David suggested we all do a fun night photo shot, before shooting star trails. We all were instructed on how to set our cameras up for an experimental shot… ISO 200, wide open on aperture, and set camera for a 5 minute exposure. A few stayed behind to press the shutters, and the rest of the group walked up the trial with their flashlights on to create a way cool photo! It was a group effort and very fun!
After getting instruction again from our trip leader David, everyone found their favorite spot, and set up “camp” to photograph for an hour. We all did our test shots, and played with flash and then got the word from David “NO LIGHTS ALLOWED” and photographed for an hour in the dark. No lights allowed, but conversation and questions continued.
Things I learned from the trip… make sure you have a fully charged battery before you do lengthy exposures, especially in the cold. And, always copy your images from memory card to computer, and back up!
Thank you all for making the trip so fun and all sharing your photo knowledge. It was so nice to get away, take photos for fun, learn something new, and let creativity flow… all while enjoying the company of such great photo friends!!!