Black Rock after dark
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Black Rock after Dark:
Night Photos taken at Black Rock

The dry lakebed of the Black Rock desert is an especially beautiful place in the evening. During the winter, when work is stressful and life is hectic, I've often caught myself daydreaming about getting back out to the lakebed again, not just to fly rockets, but also to be there in the evening...the quiet, the rocketry friends, the scenery, the moonrise, the stars, and, of course, the night launches.

Hopefully, these photos will show you why I enjoy it so...
As twilight approaches, the wind usually calms down, and everyone relaxes. Now that the launching has stopped, lots of families, kids, bicyclers, and dogs begin to enjoy the endless open space. Barbeques are fired up and beers are popped open. Sometimes, me and Timothy break out the UNO cards.

Some of us stay at the hotel in the nearby town of Gerlach. But may others camp out on the lakebed. As the darkness sets in, the launch area is soon peppered with the light of lanterns and campfires. And, depending on the calendar, some moonlight may also be in the mix.

Far from city lights, Black Rock is a stargazer's dream-come-true. Here, Venus, adorns the evening sky.

But we often contribute some celestial objects of our own. Here, rocketeers are preparing rockets with light-beacons for night-launching. The time-exposure shows the ghostly images of moving people.

Special rocket motors, with names like "Silver Streak", spew out brilliant sparks for visual effect. They are hoarded and saved for use in night launches, since they are even more spectacular after dark. Here are the trails of two such motors, caught by time exposures.

Rockets launched at night are required, for safety, to have some sort of light in order to see where they are. Usually, a blinking strobe light is attached somehow into the nose cone. In this time exposure, the blinking of the light beacon can be seen as a rocket touches down under parachute. The constellation Cassiopia can be seen at the top.

For those of us who drive back into town, there is one more treat in store, the trains. Gerlach originated from a train stop, and today the trains still barrel through the town like clockwork. These time exposures show the passing train lights. The trains usually wake us up at night, but I kind of like it...
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