Night Photography At The Navy Base

This week I did my first night-time trip to the Salton Sea Navy Base.  I had been to the Navy Base in the dark one time before for a photo shoot but that time I went in on foot and it was just before dawn, so the sun was coming up. This time I went in by Jeep with only the light of the moon.  Following the non-existant road into the base during the day is tough enough. Going in at night was quite the challenge and we got lost several times even with my GPS map on the dashboard staring right at me!

The conditions could not have been better.  It had rained a few nights before and the sky was clear and there was very little dust in the air. My only complaint is that the moon was almost full and it’s brightness obscured the Milky Way – but that bright moon also helped us find our way so I’m not complaining too much.

The first stop was the pier which takes on a whole new look in the dark.

A night time picture of the pier at the Navy Base

The pier looking toward Westmorland

Picture of the pier at Salton Sea at night

Most of these photos are long exposures at a very low ISO to keep the digital-noise low.  My friend Giovanni didn’t have his camera but enjoyed just sitting and taking-in the beauty and the silence, broken only by the thousands of birds in the distance.

Photo of Giovanni Arechavaleta stargazing at Salton Sea

Giovanni Arechavaleta stargazing at the end of the pier with Niland in the distance

After spending some time at the pier we made our way to the remaining buildings on the shoreline. I’ve been to these buildings dozens of times in the daylight, but they were completely different at night – eerily beautiful.

The building near the pier at Salton Sea

Building near the pier

Night time photo of building A1 at the Salton Sea Navy Base

Building A1, about 1/4 mile from the pier

We would have stayed all night but it’s almost a 3-hour drive home so we wrapped up after only a few hours.  I think the next time out I will plan on a night with no moon. I think some pictures of the Milky Way above these buildings would be beautiful – next time!

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