Lumix Road Trip Salton Sea & Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

ToxicTabasco

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A road trip to Salton Sea and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (OPCNM) was a 27 hour 998 mile adventure for the Lumix cameras. A non stop photo and video challenge starting at 1230 AM on Nov 13, 2018 and ending 330 AM on Nov 14.

Below is a video of the road trip shot hand held with Lumix G9 and GX85 for photos and video.
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While passing through the south end of Joshua Tree National Park, the light of dawn was out, but no wildlife to be seen from the roadway. Thus continued to Salton Sea via Box Canyon rd. However it was closed due to flood damage from Sep 30 2018. With the Subaru Crosstrek, I ventured into Box Canyon on the off road adventure. The entire area was destroyed by flood. Thus, the GX85 hand held was able to capture the pre sunrise video of the area.

Once through Box Canyon, the first stop was at the North Shore Yacht club at Salton sea. Not much happening there at 7AM. But the light was nice enough for a panorama, and my first view of the Salton Sea. Shot with Lumix G9 and 35-100 II.
NS Yacht Club.jpg
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After a breakfast sammich, it was on to Salton Sea State Recreation area for some bird photography with the Lumix G9 and 100-300II. The birds were skittish unlike birds along the PCH. I could not get close to any group of birds, but this one Green Heron was fearless standing his ground and didn't budge. I tried to scare it while attempting pre-burst, but this guy was like a rock. I must have sat there for 15 min waiting for the decisive moment which never came.
Green Heron.jpg
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Below are Black Necked Stilt feasting on bugs along the shoreline. They seem to co-exist with gulls.
13 Nov Stilt.jpg
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Below another bird I saw for the 1st time. I have no clue what it is. But some say it's a Snowy Heron.
13 Nov Salton Sea G9-96.jpg
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From there it was on to Bombay Beach to experience solitude, decay, and art all at the same time. Stepping out on the beach is like going back in time. All that's left is relics, and partial structures of piers and abandon boats.
Bombay Beach (1).jpg
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Bombay Beach (3).jpg
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The town of Bombay Beach is also in decay. But, with a artsy style.
Bombay Beach (2).jpg
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Next I headed to Salvation Mountain near Slab City for some pics and video. It's a very small community of "artist", I don't know if the term Hippy would offend them, so "artist". The surrounding landscape, appears to have abandon ammunition storage bunkers. The strange thing is, there were a lot visitors that were out there, even a tour bus, and ATVs. Below a 5 shot panorama with GX85.
Salvation Mt.jpg
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13 Nov GX85 Salton Sea-29.jpg
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From Slab City area it was on to Yuma AZ to refuel. And on to Interstate 8 to Gila Bend for the drive to OPCNM. Time was of the essence as the off road at Box Canyon took more time off the clock than expected. The drive to OPCNM was uneventful except for the awesome sunset and twilight. Below is a HDR bracket with Luimix G9 and 12-35II. The sun had set and twilight was in motion.
13 Nov OPCNM G9-39_HDR.jpg
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Below a panorama with G9 and 12-35II.
OPCNM Panorama.jpg
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From here, I made my way south to the visitor center. It was closed as expected. And surprisingly many people were there camping. Another interesting fact is, on this stretch of AZ hwy 85, there are 2 border check points, and a UASF test area. Anyway, it was a fail to miss out on the pre sunrise exploration. And I'll return here someday. So, making lemons out of lemonade, I resorted to my other favorite photography, Night photography on the way home. There are some very interesting places along this route, and they make great night photography to push the limits of Lumix G9 and 12-35II hand held. Below are some pix in "Why" Arizona along the AZ hwy 85.
13 Nov WHY AZ-17.jpg
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13 Nov WHY AZ-5.jpg
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13 Nov WHY AZ-14.jpg
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Next on the trip was the town of Ajo. Which is a junction area with a lot of art. Lumix G9 and 12-35 II long exposure hand held.
13 Nov Ajo AZ-3.jpg
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Next place was Gila Bend. Another junction that connects major roadways west of Phoenix. This place caught my eye. A Space Age Lodge and Restaurant in the same area.
Below a HDR Bracket exposure with Lumix G9 and 12-35 II.
13 Nov Gila Bend AZ-11_HDR.jpg
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Below a single shot with G9 and 12-35 II.
13 Nov Gila Bend AZ-22.jpg
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Next up is Wikieup. Not much happening here at midnight. Lumix G9 and 12-35 II long exposure hand held.
13 Nov Wikieup AZ-8.jpg
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From here it was on to Kingman AZ, Boulder City NV, and Vegas. This trip was a worthy expedition of Salton Sea, to OPCNM and many points along the way. From a photo/video aspect there was no one epic or highlight of the trip. Not a fail or win in terms of photography/video. But the experience was exciting. Seeing strange birds for the first time, exploring uncharted off road areas, exploring new territory in the deep south of Arizona, and finding new towns in the middle of nowhere.

I hope this was helpful for anyone traveling to Salton Sea and the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Seems the Lumix cameras from the G9 to GX85 are quite capable of any low light, travel, and bird photography, as well as great 4K video ability. Well, for me anyway. Thank you for taking the time to view the content. If you made it this far into the thread, many more thanks, and kudos for taking the time.

Any comments, suggestions, feedback welcome. Thanks.
 
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Alberta Dave

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Thanks for sharing these pictures. I showed Sue, my partner and she said we should go there while we spending the winter in AZ, LOL. I would like to go to Salton Sea as it looks like a really cool place for pictures....one day maybe. Great set of pictures of an unusual place.
 

ToxicTabasco

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Thanks for sharing these pictures. I showed Sue, my partner and she said we should go there while we spending the winter in AZ, LOL. I would like to go to Salton Sea as it looks like a really cool place for pictures....one day maybe. Great set of pictures of an unusual place.


Thank you Alberta Dave. The road to Organ Pipe Cactus is like Route 66 but without the legacy. If you go in the winter, it does get pretty cold in those parts. But nothing compared to the winters in Canada. Thanks for taking the time to view and comment.
 

ToxicTabasco

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I quite fancy doing the Route 66 trip as well. So much to do, so little time. Your pictures of Route 66 were awesome and gave a different view of an often photographed route. One day maybe.

Thank you Dave. I agree, so much stuff out there to capture. One of the exciting things about driving remote areas at night is the opportunity for night photography.
 
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