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Valley of the Toadstools.


Valley of the Toadstools.

Take nighttime Milky Way photos just like this in my March Kansas Workshop. See the end of the description for more details.

The Ah-shi-sle-pah wilderness study area is remarkable but dizzyingly hard to find. There are so many odd and weird formations. Toadstools by the score, petrified wood, fossils and in general a highly unusual geography that is very, very weird (so obviously I have to like it).

I had shot the nearby De-Na-Zin Wilderness before, and this is very much its little brother. The formations here are smaller and less dramatic but equally weird.

It turned out to be a beautiful night, a bit of a breeze but for May very pleasant. A coyote seemed my only companion of the night and even he stayed at a fair distance from the cameras. The only visible to the naked eye lights were from a couple of nearby oil wells. Fortunately, they were mostly behind me. May at 1 AM tends to be frigid in the desert but the temperature this night was only in the 50’s and a coat was enough to keep warm while clambering about.

There is no entrance or markings to find the study area. My GPS on my phone had listed the study area, but without finding an entrance, I had circled it probably 20 times. I felt the need to listen to Billy Prestons “Will it go Round in Circles” as the sun dipped lower and lower in the sky. Literally, with a flashlight, I saw a small sign with a BLM logo and took a chance. I arrived just as the sun was in its last throes and got a very quick look at the layout. I got out with a large flashlight and scouted around for some interesting spots.

As luck would have it, I was very close to a field of toadstools. I decided to take one image from up on top and then descend into the toadstools for some more close up shots (see later this week for one of those.) In all, I ended up with 4 shots from here that are otherworldly. If you can’t see the field of toadstools let me know and I’ll post a blowup of the main area. Also, you can see to the far right the modded camera recording the sky with an 85mm Zeiss lens.

Click below to see more about the rare chance to learn to do this yourself.

Specs: Canon 6Ds 63 images f1.8 ISO 8000

3 thoughts on “Valley of the Toadstools.

  1. Stunning photos David. I’m wondering if a Pentax K-x with a Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 could produce anything near the beauty while on a shoestring budget.

    1. Ed, I think it is possible. It might be a bit more work but your lens choice is excellent.

      1. Thanks for getting back to me David! I suppose that’s one reason lenses can be quite pricey as they can make or break a photo. Your mentioning “a bit more work” is something I’m assigning to post-processing? I’d love to make your class (if it isn’t already filled up) but life is a little hectic right now as my wife and I have been on the road since last July traveling cross-country. We’re presently in Oro Valley, AZ., and head back East the end of April. Is it possible to keep folks updated regarding other classes you might offer? Again, your work is an inspiration!

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