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Midnight Shipwreck on Mono Lake, California

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I think of all the great shots we got at Mono Lake, this is my personal favorite and my current desktop wallpaper. There is just something about the blue colors that make for a great desktop.


The tufa formation known as Shipwreck seemingly floats along the softly moonlit surface of Mono Lake. The rich blues would seem to indicate that it's more day than night but that's just because of the long exposure. Other towering tufa rock formations stand guard along the shore. Shrubs grow in the salty soil and add some additional greens, oranges, and yellows to the intense color of a long exposure shot. The stars twinkle and dance as the high clouds blow over moving quite quickly.


Though partially covered by clouds, the Big Dipper constellation can clearly be seen. If you can't spot it, check the image in the comment below where I have outlined it.


I am really beginning to enjoy night photography. At 3AM there are few other photographers and with a half full moon, you can really see quite well out in the desert. Long exposures at night can create some wonderful deep rich colors not seen during the day. Night also often calms the lake making for great reflections sometimes nearly a perfect mirror. Early morning is often worth the effort.


This trip turned out to be one of the best things I have done in the last few years and I would like to thank Matt Granz and Miguel (Amigo) for putting up with me on their trip. I hope to do something similar again soon.


Have a great day,



© Darvin Atkeson

LiquidMoonlight Studios

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Taken on October 15, 2011