Tag Archives: Los Angeles County

Joe Davies Heritage Airpark – Palmdale, CA


Address:  2001 East Avenue P, Palmdale, CA 93550  [ Map It ]

Joe Davies Heritage Airpark is an outdoor aircraft museum with nods to Plant 42 in Palmdale where all were produced or modified.

While aircraft of all kinds can be found on static display, more aircraft are slated to be added, making this a growing museum.

Here you can get up close and personal shot or some great aircraft, from military fighter jets to the NASA Boeing 747 Space Shuttle transport plane. All eras are represented from World War II to the the Korean War to Vietnam to the present.

Like the Blackbird Airpark next door, the Heritage Airpark is only open Friday through Sunday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm and closed on weekdays. Admission is free.

Posted in Aviation Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , |

Blackbird Airpark – Spy Plane Museum – Palmdale, CA


Address:  2503 East Avenue P, Palmdale, CA 93550  [ Map It ]

A while back I was looking for a movie set out in the desert using Google Maps in satellite view. As I was looking around I spotted what appeared to be an SR-71 Blackbird spy plane on the ground. As I zoomed in, sure enough, it was an SR-71 Blackbird, a long known about but super secret military spy plane that was recently declassified. As I moved into Google Street View, I saw the plane was even visible from the street. Upon further investigation, I found that it is an aircraft museum. This I had to visit.

Blackbird Airpark is a spy plane museum like no other aircraft museum. Here, they have several historical spy planes on display, including the infamous U-2 spy plane and the precursor to the stealthly SR-71, the A-12 single seat spy plane. Also, the ultra top secret SR-71 looking D-12 stealth drone.

If you want to get a close up shot of an SR-71 Blackbird, according to their website, this is the only place in the world to do so.

Staffed by volunteers, Blackbird Airpark is only open Friday through Sunday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, but closed on weekdays. Admission is free but donations are appreciated..

Capturing the Shot: Because the planes are free standing and your head comes up to the landing gear, I mounted my camera atop a monopod and using my camera’s intervalometer, I set it to automatically snap a shot every 5-seconds, I then lifted the monopod high up in the air for a bird’s eye view of the planes for that unique shot.

Posted in Aviation Photography, Photography Tutorials Also tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Vasquez Rocks – Agua Dulce, CA


Address:  10700 Escondido Canyon Road, Agua Dulce, CA 91350  [ Map It ]

The Vasquez Rocks were first made famous in 1873 by a notorious bandit named Tiburcio Vasquez who used the rocks as a hide out and for whom the rocks are named. Later, Hollywood made the rocks famous again by using them in many movies and TV shows. Probably the most famous of which was a popular Star Trek episode where Captain Kirk faces off against the lizard like Gorn Captain.

The rocks’ very noticeable and unique 45 degree angle were formed as a result of the rocks being pushed upward by the San Andreas Fault, and are what makes the rocks stand out both as a great western back drop (Apache 1954 and Blazing Saddles 1974) as well as that of a far away planet (Star Trek 1967, 1986, 1994, 2009).

In pictures of the Vasquez Rocks that I found online, many of them showed cars parked right in front of the rocks (a photographer’s nightmare). For my trip out to the rocks, I planned to be there when the gates opened at 8:00 am so that I could be the first one in and to get my photos before someone decided to park in my shots.

Admission is free and once past the gates, you follow a car safe dirt road down to where the main rock formation is. Arriving at the formation, I quickly unpacked my gear, set up and while I was shooting, a car pulls right into my shot as if I didn’t exist. Giving the occupants a few moments to notice me taking pictures didn’t seem to matter. They exited their car, grabbed some backpacks out of the trunk and were about to head off before my friend politely asked them to move their car.

Capturing the Shot: If you plan on photographing the rocks, I would recommend arriving at about 7:30 am and wait for the gates to open. Arrive later and you will likely find someone parked right in front of the rocks which would ruin any shot for you. Now, if the lighting is good, you can always park outside of the gate and walk in before the gates open and any cars have a chance to get in, and many do just that. Outside parking can be found right outside of the gate alongside of the road.

I visited the rocks on a day slated for good weather, however, not a single cloud could be found in the sky which made my photos appear rather bland looking. I would suggest visiting on a day slated for at least some cloudiness to give your sky some detail.

Once you get your photos of the main rock formation, there are many easy trails that you can follow for some photos of other strange and unique rock formations. The back side of the main formation produces some great shots that show the rock’s flat side seemingly heading off into space at a 45 degree angle. You could spend an entire day walking the trails and various rock formations can be found everywhere. I prefer to shoot unique landscapes but I could easily see posing or laying a model across one of these rock formations for a terrific outdoor shot.

Note: This location is a living desert and desert wildlife such as rattlesnakes do live here (and in rock crevices), so be careful when you’re out hiking and climbing around. Also, Summer temperatures will often hit 100 degrees and winter temperatures in the mornings are very cold. This area is also prone to high winds that can pose problems for camera gear as well. Check your weather report before heading out and dress accordingly.

Posted in Landscape Photography Also tagged , , , , , , , , , |