Mojave Desert night photography: The Four Aces movie location

The Four Aces is a movie location in the Mojave Desert located east of Palmdale near Lake Los Angeles. This film rental set has a classic Route 66 style diner, gas station, and a 1950′s motel. As you can see from the photos, each portion of the location can be compositionally isolated. The 4-aces.com website has extensive interior photos and floor plans of each set. Thanks to JP for permission to photograph this cool location during the May 2011 full moon.

14 thoughts on “Mojave Desert night photography: The Four Aces movie location

  1. very nice. the wind must have been crazy out there – it was very strong here at the beach over that weekend.

    • Thanks. Weather wasn’t too bad other than the moon was hiding behind the clouds. The previous 2 nights were very cold for May – so cold that my friend fashioned an extra insulating layer out of a trash bag.

    • Thanks, Brad! Fun places to shoot and amazing clouds – turned out to be an excellent trip.

  2. Glad you went back and shot this place. It has a strange “Disneylandish” quality. Did you hit the other movie-set place nearby too?

    • There is an interesting tension after the desert does it’s thing on these constructed sets. I didn’t shoot Club Ed on this trip – the owner said it was OK to shoot from the road, but they don’t allow night access. I did shoot at another film set not too far away.

  3. Wow! What a great shoot. I really dig your lighting treatment to the first image under the Motel sign. Nice work Joe. Sounds like a killer location. Cool that you were able to get the access.

  4. Nice work, Joe. I was wondering where you were this past full moon. I actually like the clouded skies: it makes the light more diffuse, more subtle. No star trails, but it’s an odd lighting that I like.

    • Thanks, Kent. It’s like having a big softbox on your light source. Balancing the longer exposure times needed for lighting the foreground with the reasonably short 2-3 minutes necessary to keep definition in the cloud streaks can be challenging, but when it works there is an otherworldly quality to the light.

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