Night Photography: Abandoned Mojave Desert Mining Area Gallery

Abandoned school bus in the snow, Mojave Desert -- by Joe Reifer

Abandoned school bus in the snow, Mojave Desert — by Joe Reifer

A new gallery from an abandoned mining area in the Mojave Desert is now available on my website. Shot during the January full moon at elevations of up to 5000 feet, the mix of buildings, vehicles, joshua trees, and snow was incredible. A few of these images were featured on the blog over the last 2 weeks – now you can see them much bigger.

Huge thanks to photographer S.W. Walsh for being part of this journey. Have a look at his images from the trip.

I’ve got another gallery of approximately 10 images from a different desert mining location to process over the next week. I’m also working on a post-processing demo that shows how your high-ISO test shots can be used in exposure compositing for light painted images.

In addition to the photographs, I also learned quite a bit about the latest flavors in freeze dried camping food, the importance of having a GPS when there’s no cell phone coverage, and the limits of off-roading with a Honda Element AWD. If there are any readers who knowledgeable about wheelin’, I would seriously like to talk to you about getting a more capable off-road vehicle. Does a 4wd vehicle exist that performs well off-road (class III or mild class IV), rides nicely on the freeway, has excellent reliability, and still gets good fuel economy (20+ mpg highway)? Up until recently I might’ve said Toyota Tacoma. And no, unfortunately I can’t afford a Rally Fighter. But let’s talk locking rear differentials and bash guards over a Coors. There’s so many cool places to go in the desert that require 4wd.

Honda Element off-roading in the snow -- by Joe Reifer

5 thoughts on “Night Photography: Abandoned Mojave Desert Mining Area Gallery”

  1. Hello,

    Lovely location and top pictures mate Which camera you’re shooting with?

    Last year in my work I was driving for a month Land Rover Defender the square one that hasn’t been changed since. Very “raw” simple car no electronics, nothing just power steering and differential lock. After that time I said to my brother if you ever need to buy 4WD go for Land Rover Defender. This car is perfect for off road trips not so comfortable on motorways, but I like it

    All the best!

    1. Thanks, seb. Everything on this trip was shot with a Canon 5D Mark II and 24-70/2.8L lens, but any modern digital SLR with a CMOS sensor can do night work just fine.

      Unfortunately the Defender isn’t sold in the U.S. – looks cool, though!

  2. Joe, check out Overland Journal. One of the most interesting magazines I’ve come across. Beautiful design, photos, and great writing. Might be overkill for what your seeking. But there will no doubt be other related info and reviews you might find interesting. $10 for a sample copy…

  3. The gallery on your site looks terrific. There are several really nice images. I especially liked the snow caps in the distance and some of the open spaces. I’m sure the snow helps out exposure during night time exposures. Did you notice shorter shutter speeds?

    1. Thanks, Jay. I thought the exposures would be shorter, but most of these shots were either 7.5 minutes at f/8 ISO 200, or 10 minutes at f/9.5 ISO 200. Pretty standard full moon exposures for me. Definitely kept an eye on the histogram to make sure the snow wasn’t clipping the highlights, but didn’t have any problems.

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