I was on the road with 3 friends to Big pine town, California after 9 pm. The weather was cold as expected at this time of the year, which was November the 8th 2013. We made a stop halfway through to get more supplies to spend in the Sierra all weekend long. We were all carpooling in one car. After getting what we needed, we filled the car with a full tank of gas, and our stomach with warm coffee.
The day started for most of us as early as 4:30 am. My friend and I met in the south bay area and headed to Perris airport to skydive all day long. We managed to jump nearly five jumps. After we finished, he suggested to me to join him on a trip with a couple of his friends to the Sierra Mountains. I remember telling him the best adventures I had are the one I didn’t planned in advance, so I agreed to do so and notified my Michelle on where I was going.
We reached our destination near Big pine around 3 am Saturday morning. Each one of us took their sleeping bag out, and slept in the open. Although it was cold, there were almost no winds at our location. So the sleeping bag provided enough warmth before Sunrise.
Of course, I was looking at the stars, and I couldn’t pass the low light pollution night sky, and stargazed for a couple of hours. I took few shots of the constellation Orin which lay toward the southern horizon. Then I went to sleep an hour before sunrise.
After sleeping for 2 hours, we get up, and got ready for a day of activities. Two of our friends went to a nearby lake for a half day of fishing. I stayed with the rest of the group. The winds start to pick up. It wasn’t strong, but it was good enough for a short glide. I got to see my friends and photograph them glide over the sierra, and enjoyed the views of the mountains as always. I wasn’t going to glide, so I helped driving the car back down after it took us to the top of the hill where the launch site was.
Soon after around 1:30 pm (nearly an hour and half after it’s true rising time), the Moon starts to peak above the eastern hills with its half illuminated face which made it bright enough to be seen comfortably against the blue sky background in daytime. A view inspired many in all type of fiction and nonfiction work of humanity. The phase of the moon was ~46% and I concluded from its natural cycle, it will be with us until midnight.
No wonder the Sierra was and still is a location of many passions. Just that day alone, we got to stargaze, paraglide, fish, grill and later on rock climb and camp. As if the mountains surrounding the area is blocking the noise of the busy modern world and leave us alone to enjoy life as it is.
After we regrouped with our fishing friends, we headed down south to Lone pine town, a town very near to a famous mountain, Mount Whitney, a mountain in which I have good memories with.
We reached Lone pine, we rock climbed around a nearby area of Alabama hills. I set up my tent, knowing that I will head to sleep very soon, since I didn’t get to sleep as much the previews two nights. However, I couldn’t resist the night sky, and I ended up staying up.
In term of planets, Venus was there as the poetic term evening star, and Jupiter later on with the Hunter constellation.
Although the moon was bright, it actually gave a good luminosity to the exotic beautiful rock formation. I took most of the photographs toward the east anyway. The Pleiades was rising. The Milky Way band was present comfortably to the naked eye even with the bright moon around from south to near north. To give a good sense of measure, the open cluster IC 4665 was also accessible to the eye even with this condition.
Near midnight, after the moon set, I set up the camera next to my tent to take long exposures to generate a star trail photo. I took one last photo of the Milky Way with no tracking mount with the absent of the Moon interference, and I lit up the rocks with a red flash light.
I woke up with the Sunrise, and went to the camera, and changed its battery, and took few last shots of the long shadows of early morning.
We stayed a little more to enjoy the mountains, and head back to reach Los Angeles County by Sunday night.
November – 8th~10th – 2013
Here is the Star trail photo of this Weekend: Star Trail