Friday, December 23, 2011

Starry Nights in Indian Valley - ABDSP

I picked up an old used Minolta kit lens hoping to try and get better photos of the stars. It is a faster lens at f/1.7 but not very wide (50mm) but it definitly lets in more light and allows me to take shorter exposures and get more stars in the picture. My son also gave me an astronomy book he picked up at the thrift store, it is pretty good and I am still learning more about the stars.

Here is a shot of Orion and a close up of the nebula. I am amazed at what the camera can pick up. 50mm, ISO 1600, f/1.7, 5 seconds
Orion The Hunter and its Nebula. 50mm, ISO 1600, f/1.7, 5 seconds

Here are some star trails above a peak just north of False Sombrero, this lens really lets a lot of light in! 50mm, ISO 100, f/1.7, 34 minutes
Start Trails looking at a hill just north of False Sombrero. 50mm, ISO 100, f/1.7, 34 minutes

Here is Mars above the Imperial Valley. 50mm, ISO 800, f/1.7, 10 seconds
Mars over the Imperial Valley. 50mm, ISO 800, f/1.7, 10 seconds

Orions Belt. 280mm, ISO 12800, f/5.6, 3.2 seconds
Orions Belt. 280mm, ISO 12800, f/5.6, 3.2 seconds

Saturn (middle), Spica (up to right). 300mm, ISO 12800, f/5.6, 1/2 second
Saturn (middle), Spica (up to right). 300mm, ISO 12800, f/5.6, 1/2 second

I don't have a telescope, this is my star gazing kit
Star Gazing Kit

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ghost Mountain Thanksgiving

My son and I spent the Thanksgiving day exploring Little Blair valley and Ghost Mountain. We revisited the jet airplane wreckage and some Native American features he had not seen before. We also took a trip up to the Marshal South home site and hiked over to the top of Ghost Mountain. I was surprised how few people were camping in Little Blair for the holidays.

The Marshal South home site. The old cement pond and what is left of the house.
Marshal South Homesite Cement Pond with cisterns home ruins in the background
Marshal South Homesite ruins
Marshal South Homesite ruins with cistern on the left side

This is the "dump". I found many of the large mouth glass jars common to that era here and also many of the same down in Carrizo at the railroad camps.
Marshal South Dump Site

This is the kiln the South's used to make their pottery. It looks much smaller than the drawings Marshall South submitted to the Desert Magazine articles.
Marshal South Kiln

My son reading the Ghost Mountain register. I had come up here back in June and the next register entry we saw was from November, no visitors for 4 months. You can see Granite mountain in the far off distance. It was a gorgeous day.
My son reading the Ghost Mtn Register log. You can see Granite Mtn in the distance

I saw this nice "Y" shaped cactus at the base of the mountain
Y Cactus in Little Blair Valley

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Salton Sea

The Salton Sea is a very interesting place rich in history geologically. Today it is home to many different types of wildlife, recreational visitors and year round residents who call it home. It is worth a visit if you have a chance.

Old Trees on the semi dry sea bed
Old tree in the Salton Sea

Coyote prints leading off to Red Hill
Coyote Tracks on the dry Salton Sea bed leading off to Red Hill

The beginning of a mud pot
Mud Pots at the Salton Sea

A more mature mud pot
Mud Pots at the Salton Sea

A video of the mud pots

The beach at Obsidian Butte
Obsidian Butte Beach

Three large birds nests
Tree with 3 bird nests in the Salton Sea near Obsidian Butte

An Osprey
Osprey near the Salton Sea

Large boulder of obsidian
Obsidian Butte

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Starfish Cove Night Sky Stars

A quick backpack trip to Starfish Cove with my son showed us a star filled night sky.

ISO 3200, Exposure 30 seconds, Aperture f4, Focal Length 10mm
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ISO 12800, Exposure 15 seconds, Aperture f4, Focal Length 10mm

Same shot as above but 30 seconds exposure and only 800 ISO
ISO 800, Exposure 30 seconds, Aperture f4, Focal Length 10mm
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Alma Wash is known for it's Elephant Trees
Interprative sign at the Elephant Tree Trail

The Trailhead, check out the difference in what a zoom lens vs a wide angle lens will do with the distant landscape in this picture and the next one below.
Elephant Trees Trail with Alma Wash in the background

My son ready to go
Christopher my son ready to head to Starfish Cove

Number #9 on the trail, "the" Elephant Tree. There are many more Elephant trees in the canyon up on the ridges.
Number #9, the Elephant Tree

The entrance to Starfish Cove
Inside the canyon of Alma Wash

My son found a dead lamb
My son finds a dead lamb in the wash
My son's hand for size reference

Lots of Elephant trees up on the ridges
Lots of Elephant Trees up on the ridges

Multiple scat droppings in a single footprint
This looked like 3 different (times) scats in a footprint. The first and second was slightly covered over as if the animal scratched the sand to cover it.

Mandatory scat with bones photograph
Nice and boney scat

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Canebrake Wash / Indian Valley - ABDSP

A trip out to explore the ridge lines of Indian Valley was detoured by the rains and instead turned into a trip out into Canebrake Wash. When I drove into Indian Valley the weather was great. I drove out to the end of the north fork and was going to camp there but the bees were numerous and after about 30 minutes I found myself doing nothing but swatting bees away from me and the inside of my truck so I decided to go back down the road a bit to a nice little sandy area that was bee free. During the night the clouds started rolling in and so did the wind. My truck was rocking like crazy from the wind, it can get really, really windy in Indian Valley. The morning showed me nothing but dark rain clouds hovering above False Sombrero so I decided to go out into Canebrake Wash and explore there instead. Canebrake and Inner Pasture is really just amazing place, it is vast and empty, I am becoming fond of hiking there.

A possible yoni rock carving in Indian Valley
Yoni in North Indian Valley

Mr. Taratula in Canebrake
Tarantula in Canbrake Wash

Agave plant scat..yumm
Agave seed scat, great stuff

Large sand berm in Canebrake (click to enlarge)
View of the large sand dune in Canebrake Wash

The Crawford Ranch
The Crawford Ranch

Looking west-north from the sand berm, is just amazingly vast here..that is Red Top in the distance. You can see the rain clouds moving in.
Canebrake Wash with RedTop in the distance

Looking North into Inner Pasture towards Moonlight is far away.
Looking north towards Inner Pasture

Morteros near some rock shelters indicate Native American habitation

Why do they always crap in the morteros???
Scat in a mortero

Close up showing the hair and bones in the scat
Scat in a mortero

One of the larger rock shelters I found (click to enlarge)
Rock Shelter or possible hunting blind

View north-west from the shelter (click to enlarge)
View from the rock shelter looking west-north

Another smaller rock shelter, little remained
Another smaller rock shelter, little remained

More possible Yoni rock carvings back in Indian Valley
Yoni rock carvings in North Indian Valley

Leaving Indian Gorge a nice rainbow stretched across the road. It was short lived though as the rain was following me and would soon start raining hard.
Rainbow leaving Indian Gorge

Total Mylar balloon count for a 7 mile hike - 6
Total mylar ballon count for the trip - 6