David and Chris Wilkins arranged this field trip to Red Rock Canyon to photograph star trails on a cold dark moonless night in January. Seven of us showed up for the adventure (David/Chris Wilkins, Paul/Sue Craft, Bill/Leslie Sutton, and Anita Kratofil).
David and Chris staked out a campsite, tossed the charcoal into the fire pit, tossed a match, and got the coals all hot and glowing, and ready for all of us to toss in our “Hobo Packets” to cook our dinner. A “Hobo Packet” consists of whatever meats and veggies you want, with seasonings, all wrapped up in heavy duty aluminum foil to withstand the heat of being directly cooked upon the coals. The aroma emanating from the hobo packets was heavenly!
As we sat around the campfire watching dinner cook, discussing life and photography, waiting for it to get dark, and waiting for the stars to miraculously appear from the cloud cover, we also discussed an alternate plan for night photography.
Given the heavy cloud cover, David suggested that we trade shooting star trails at Red Rooster for shooting automobile trails and the effects of the auto headlights on the walls of Red Rock Canyon instead.
We light-painted the area to check our compositions and then used the same techniques as would be used to photograph star trails… use your tripod, low ISO, wide open aperture, a long exposure, and noise reduction on your camera. Assistance was available for all and we all worked well together as a group, since once you “click” the shutter on a night time long exposure no one can turn on a flashlight.
Everyone had fun, all learned something new, and got great pics, or at least had lots of fun trying!
Weird thing… on the way home, traveling home along the 14 Freeway between Red Rock Canyon and Mojave, weird wet droplets splatter the windshield and wetted the road, and soon realized it was rain! No rain in the weather forecast.
While not getting Star Trails on this field trip, we all had loads of fun enjoying each others company, talking photography, and being able to come up with an alternate last minute plan and still have great photo ops.
Thank you to David and Chris for arranging another great photo field trip.