Salton Sea Moonrise

Photo by John Warden

John Warden of Camera West in Rancho Mirage went out to shoot the moon last weekend and came up with some beautiful images. Here is his report :

Camera West customer John Schmidt of Cathedral City and I set out last Saturday afternoon for a 45 minute drive to one of my favorite haunts, 81st. Ave and Jackson Road on the northwest shore of the Salton Sea. Our goal, to take photos of the full moon rising over the Chocolate Mountains.

We used the app The Photographer’s Ephemeris which provides time and angle of sun/moonrises and sun/moonsets and the path of travel over your location.  The app worked flawlessly.  We arrived with plenty of time to get set up and enjoy the sun setting over the Santa Rosa Mountains  and all the layers of hills between the Salton Sea and Palm Springs.

We were using a Nikon D200 with 70-200/2.8, 28-70/2.8 and 12-24/4 and a Canon 60D with 18-135 and just for kicks, I brought my Nikon D50 IR Conversion.

The flies were incredibly persistent and a few lost their lives that night.  But, it was worth the annoyance as we were graced with a wonderful experience.

The moon rose right on schedule and at times partially hid behind clouds which added depth and character to our imagery.  The lake provided the white runway to the moon with it’s long reflection.

The seasonal migration has begun so the shores were filled with seagulls, pelicans, osprey, black currant, and a hummingbird or two.  The birds added to our photography options and made for a more complete photo op.

As we were about to leave and after it was quite dark we heard the low deep sounds of thousands of feathers grabbing air.  As the sound grew louder it was amazing and almost intimidating to hear them fly right over our heads.  It was like the sound of a jet fighter flying over the lake.

Once we all understood what we were hearing, the sound was pure beauty.

Photo by John Warden

Photo by John Schmidt

Photo by John Warden

Many thanks to Stan Ford who suggested and demonstrated The Photographer’s Ephemeris for us to calculate moonrise and sunset info.