I’ve been CAP’s photographer and videographer for more than 20 years, and one of my favorite projects was in 2008 when we decided to featured pumping plants on a calendar.
To make sure I captured the best shots, I used a sun position calculator to find out when the face of each plant would be in sunlight. But as I was shooting, it dawned on me that the remoteness of the plants meant complete darkness once the sun goes down, which provided a great opportunity to get some star trails shots.
Next came the technical details…calculating the length of the exposure and deciding whether I wanted moonlight to illuminate the plants. A few test shots using 4”x5” transparency film and I figured out a 4 – 5 hour exposure worked best. You can see the results.
What I didn’t anticipate is how very different the sounds by the canal are after midnight. As I sat alone, the sounds of the wind in the brush and the occasionally fish splashing were amplified in the darkest hours of the night. Although the full sensory experience of my nights in the desert aren’t visible, these star trail shots allow me to share the night-time beauty of our system that is rarely seen.