In preparation for our upcoming field trip to Mono Lake to photograph star trails, David & Chris Wilkins arranged for a practice session out at Saddleback Buttes State Park. Saddleback Buttes was chosen because of its close proximity and distance from bright lights, and the date because the moon would rise after midnight, thereby allowing for star trail practice on a very dark night.
What wasn’t anticipated was the weather and thunderstorm in progress! On the drive out, bolts of lightning were striking to the east, and travelers encountered rain and even hail! After sitting in our cars waiting for the raindrops to stop falling, we all gathered for a group photo and then proceeded to the picnic area for instructions on “How to Paint with Light and Star Trail Photography”.
The group was walked through setting their cameras up (pre-focusing on a distant object and taping down the focus ring, settings for light painting, etc.) and then did practice shots painting with flashlights and colored gels before forming smaller groups and setting off into the dark desert in search of photogenic Joshua Trees. Instruction was given on camera settings and techniques for doing star trails, hoping that the clouds would dissipate after dark.
Twenty two of us had a great time photographing, and enjoying the company of our fellow photographers. Tips for making Start Trail Shots and Light Painting can be found on the LPA website under Articles/Members Tips. Thank you David and Chris for arranging another great photo adventure for us!