School is out of my schedule for an entire seven days. What’s on the calender instead?
Nothing too extravagant like cross country, but driving up the state of California can be quite an adventure. Point of Departure: Julian, CA – Final Destination: St. Helena California.
Over the past weekend, my friends and I have been camping out somewhere south of Julian. While most are just hanging out and enjoying the break, several have suddenly become obsessed with Mexico.
“If we walk to the fence and take pictures, then our album can be tagged as ‘Mexico’ !”
Yes, we actually requested to be driven to the border but unfortunately, there wasn’t an opportunity to do so. It was decided, however, that the images could still be tagged as Mexico. Why? Because we captured images of the Mexican sky! Yes- let’s just go with that version of the story.
Staring up at the night sky is something sure to take one’s breath away. Of course, this is only true with the exclusion of light pollution. For us, looking up after leaving our daily urban lifestyles was simply amazing. With all the twinkling lights, it was almost as if a whole city was up there.
Soon after arrival, a small group headed out to capture the night sky. The winds were strong and we held on to our tripods for the lives of our cameras. All of the sudden light came out of the darkness.
“Do you need help?”
We turned around. A lone man stood at the edge of the road. We assured him everything was alright. He vanished into the wilderness. We carried on and didn’t realize how late it’d become. Didn’t get back to camp till 2am!
The next day, more people came out, on two different occasions, actually. The first was to photograph a car. The owner really wanted the shape of it to stand out. In the end, we got somewhat of an outline by putting a flashlight behind it. Otherwise, the ambiance was pretty dark!
Probably the most frightening thing was the increasing fear of running into strangers. It was actually really bad. As it got later and later, random fires started popping up in places were there were no campsites. Sometimes they just looked like cars but were stationary among the desert brush. People from our group had a tendency of wandering off and this added to the paranoia. Once we caught someone in the bushes and later another crossing the road. A spotlight was shown on them and everyone would start freaking out including the individual in question. It wasn’t always easy to see who it was but after positively identifying them, we were all good.
The other thing that we had to deal with was wind. Strong, random gusts of wind. Sometime during our outdoor adventure – one of the tripods actually fell over. Thankfully nothing happened to the camera but it was definitely a frightful warning. From then on, we piled weights on them or made sure someone was physically holding on at all times. The wind did win a lot of battles even afterwords. It would rattle the tripod heads in such a way that some of the images came out blurry as a result. Ugh! I might need to get a new one – but I walked 6 miles last week to buy the one I do have >.< not looking foreword to repeating the process.
But anyways… yeah. In the course of time that I’ve been into photography, gotta admit that astrophotography is something that never ceases to amaze. The stars are magical, they are like little windows into a galaxy we haven’t even begun to understand.