Day 13 – October 9, 2016 – Sunday (2nd Presidential Debate)
Finally got into the sleeping bag after having to redo my journal and fell right asleep. I have to admit the new pillow I bought for this trip has been great; not cold to the touch like the old one and much softer. I had to wrap the old one in my fleece jacket to stay warm.
I set the alarm so I don’t sleep through sunrise even though if there are no clouds, it will just be a repeat of yesterday and figured if I woke up earlier, I would make another attempt at the Milky Way. Woke up around 4:10am and would normally just roll over, but I got up and out and went back to the Devil’s Orchard to that tree to see if it lined up better 4-5 hours later. And it did; the profile of the tree was much better. I did the same tungsten and daylight white balances and went down as far as f/4 to try to keep the tree and stars all in focus. Glad I crawled out of the bag this morning.
Headed over to the Inferno Cone parking lot to wait until it became light out. Dozed a bit but realized as the horizon lightened, that the light would be the same as yesterday and I thought to go on the caves trail instead since it is a wide open lava field and should get some good cross lighting. It was good light, but difficult to record. I eventually put a hard-step ND filter over the sky to keep it from blowing out and the gradual split over the bottom to keep my foreground subject from getting overly bright allowing the dark lava a bit more light in the middle ground in order to have some substance there, otherwise it would probably be just blocked up. It was a good experience watching the light work its way into all the nooks and crevices within the lava field, and how it brought out so many of the colors and textures. With all the small plants struggling to survive in the cracks and placing them within the frame of lava without eliminating the sky’s reflection, there was the opposition of warm vs. cool.
Afterwards, I stopped in at Pickles Place for breakfast and it couldn’t light a candle to Wendy at Mel’s. A whole different atmosphere and attitude. I did take a few shots of the bright green outside that seemed to have fewer flies than inside. Went across the street snd photographed the Lost River Hotel which was painted bright colors. Then began the long trip to Rock Springs. The area around Arco is pretty desolate which is probably why the government set up an atomic plant there, just in case there were a mishap.
Finally got checked into Motel 6 around 5pm, and the kind woman behind the desk gave me a magazine with many of the places I saw on the morning of the second day in the book in Starbucks, all listed and a map of where they were. I took a quick shower and blasted out the door to try to get to the Little Firehole Canyon Overlook along route 191. Managed to just get there in time before the sun went down. Unfortunately, the canyon below was in complete shade so I used the same double ND filter set- up that I used this morning at Craters of the Moon. I knew I would miss the first portions of the Presidential Debate tonight, but managed to listen to the first 20 minutes on NPR radio and watched the rest at the motel. Then went to McDonald’s to have dinner and to try to straighten out the mess of the journal entries on their wi-fi. Still conflicted on what to do tomorrow: either move on to Rocky Mountain National Park, or stay here in the Rock Springs area for a day now that I have a good local map.
One final note, although not the usual type, my back has felt tender today but in a different spot. Hopefully it will clear up tomorrow.