Wild Weds. 38/52 Lady Boot Arch and the Milky Way

Copyright ©2018 Deborah M. Zajac. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

I mentioned in last week’s post here  that my friends and I had ventured a bit further south while in the Eastern Sierras over Labor Day week-end. We went very nearly to the farthest southern end to the Alabama Hills Recreational Area.  If you’ve ever watched any old Western Cowboy movies you’ve seen this area. It’s rugged, rocky, and beautiful.

Also it’s remarkable in that the road to this area is also the road that is known as Mt. Whitney Portal.  One takes this road up to the staging area to begin your trek up Mt. Whitney which is the tallest mountain in the lower 48 of the United States.

There’s a very famous natural arch among photographer’s in the Alabama Hills Recreational Area that features a very nice view of Mt. Whitney. I was blessed and fortunate to photograph the arch called Mobius Arch back in 2012 just before sunrise. Mt. Whitney is framed by the arch in my image seen here.  Back then no one read my blog.  I am thankful for those of you who have found me since then!

For this trip I suggested a less famous, less photographed arch called Lady Boot Arch, or Boot Arch, or…it has a few other names if you do a search on the internet for it.  My friends were open to the idea so we scouted it in the afternoon before the shoot, and were happy with it so we went back to town for dinner then met near the arch before sunset for an evening of photography fun.  We had plenty of time to get our compositions in focus, and set up the lights to light up the arch and foreground rocks.  Laura brought her warm tea lights to light up the arch interior, and I had my trusty flash light with a gel to paint the rocks in the foreground. I’m not that skilled at light painting so, I passed my torch to Laura who does have the touch, and skill in that area.

Here’s the image I made that I like best. It’s a two frame composite image.  I processed the sky/milky way image from the raw file to look very close to how it looked that night, and blended it with an image of the foreground light painted to highlight the rock formations and lighted arch.  I was hoping to get one image that had both sky and foreground close enough to what I saw to be able to edit and develop that, but sadly I didn’t have one with the foreground just right. Which is why you light paint more than you think you need, and plan on blending frames if needed.  I’m chuffed ( read delighted! for those that don’t get British English slang) with the result. It was super fun to shoot, and I would do it again in a nano second!  I hope you like the tale, and image nearly as much as I had fun making it.

Lady Boot Arch

Some technical stuff… Mars is shining brightest in the sky on the left of the Boot and Milky Way, and in the dark lane of the Milky Way very near the left edge  directly across from Mars is Saturn shining bright, out of frame was Jupiter too, but I cropped it out in favor of a stronger composition.  Thank you Peter! He was the best teacher I ever had on cropping for the composition.  When I got all my frames uploaded I saw that this one had several meteors or shooting stars in the frame. One heading into the Milky Way from the left, and one beside Mars, and two lower and to the right of Mars. They’re faint but there!

Did I tell you how chuffed I was?

The sky is filled with billions of stars out here. It’s breath taking, and I can’t explain in words how amazing, awesome, as well as beautiful it is, and just, How. Small. I. Felt while viewing it, and how just as I know it while standing on top of mountain that God is real and there. He was here too.  This is my chapel, my cathedral, my Holy Place. This. THIS Feeds My SOUL.

It’s mid September now, so this is the last image I’ll be making of the Milky Way until next April or May. The Galactic Center…that wonderfully rich milky bit very close to the tip of Lady Boot Arch’s top is headed to the southern hemisphere now. It’s their turn to see the richest part of the arm of our galaxy.  I will miss it, and yearn for its return as I do every year.

I am behind with emails, and blogs again, and I’m afraid I’m going to be behind for a bit longer. I will catch up!

I hope you’re all having a lovely week.

Nikon D810| Nikkor 16mm f/2.8 fisheye lens| Hoodman Steel Digital Film| PS CC 2018

more to come…









41 thoughts on “Wild Weds. 38/52 Lady Boot Arch and the Milky Way

  1. Beautiful! Spectacular idea, lighting your own image out of doors! That’s a wower, fersure. I’m so glad you shared this experience. The things that feed our souls — invaluable. I feel my God outdoors, too. ❤

  2. Simply beautiful, Deborah! I also learned something new. It wouldn’t have occurred to me to use my own lighting to create a specific mood / look in an image. Of course, I know you’ve mentioned it earlier in another photo with the old building, but it never clicked until now exactly what you were doing. It creates a ‘wow’ effect!

      1. It’s been hot, humid & rainy in Shanghai. Haven’t been shooting much as the purpose of the trips are to visit our aging moms.

        Can’t get social media on internet in China so no fb or Flickr. Will have to catch up on things when I return home. I can see your photos on WordPress so it must not count as a social media 😉

    1. Thank you so much Dan! There are a lot of really cool places in Alabama Hills that Hollywood used. Ambush spots, Alien encounter spots…when one just happens to come here thinking it’s going to be amazing and finds desert, and rock formations I can see how that might be underwhelming and a HUGE disappointment. If not for photography I might very well have felt the same…it’s pretty desolate out here…no potable water, no bathrooms, stores, trees, water holes…but there are flowers, natural arches, the sky. OMG, the SKY! It’s one of the few places left on our planet that is dark at night. The stars one can see…there are words… billions, lights, planets, space, how small one feels… but to make all that poetic… I don’t have that skill with words. I hope my images convey just a small portion of what I see.
      You, the Editor, and Faith should come out and see for yourselves! Email me, I’ll meet you there! It’s just that amazing.

      1. It truly is beautiful. The photos almost look surreal compared to what I normally see looking up at night. It’s hard to find dark in our world. I’ve camped a few times in the Cascades where it was dark, but it has been a long time.

    1. Oh, you’re so kind Melissa! I wish I had just a knuckle of your talent in my pinky finger for painting!

      How’s your Pete, and Mister? Both I hope are getting stronger and better everyday. Sending hugs! xx

      1. You’re sweet to say that, Deborah, but you have tremendous talent and skill. 🙂 🙂
        When I picked Pete up yesterday, he felt heavy! Yay, I think he’s finally putting on a little weight although I can still feel his ribs and spine. As for his knee, I’ve decided to forgo the surgery so he skips along but doesn’t seem to be hurting. Mister is walking, and we expect that at his next appointment he’ll be back in his normal shoe! Hooray! I hope all are well and strong in your household.

    1. I’m so sorry I wasn’t clear enough with my process for you to understand it Judy! In the old days with film it was called sandwiching. You’d take one image of the sky like I did, and one image of the foreground like I did and sandwich them together with some burning here which is darkening, and some dodging…which lightening there, and blend the two frame or more together. It was a much smellier, harder process in the day of dark rooms. Today with Photoshop and layering programs it’s tricky in the beginning, and learning curve is steep, but it’s well worth the time and skill to learn to make an image like I did which is taking two image one for the sky, and one for the foreground both taken the night at the same place with the same settings and combining them to make the image I had in my head.
      I wish we were closer together to hang out so I could learn gardening and you could pick my brain on painting and photography stuff. Maybe one day we’ll get to hang out for a day or two and share. That would be so cool! I’ve done that with a flickr friend from New Jersey. I can’t until we can do that again!

      1. Please forgive my left out words and typos! I was so excited to talk to you that I got going and my brain always goes faster than my fingers so, I leave out words. I got a D in typing for that… and typing to slow. My mother wanted me to retake the typing class, but I was oh, so, smug, and full of myself and said I’d have a secretary to dictate to and I’d hire one that would type a damn sight faster, and better than I ever could so, NO. I would not be wasting a semester on another typing class. HUGE MISTAKE! Who knew in just 10 years from then we’d all be on keyboards typing our own emails, business letters, and …everything? MY MOTHER THAT’S WHO!

        In 1978 while working at Intel and learning how to send email to another department for the first time I learned that my mother was and would always be right! I should have retaken typing 101. Today with every left out word and typo she proves that right. I should have known…she was an engineer!

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