A view from the dark skies of Glamis: The Andromedia Galaxy

Andromeda and Perseus wide field, double click for lightbox large version

Photo taken by Ms. Jen at Glamis Sand Dunes Campground Pad 2.5 with her Nikon D800 and Nikon 50mm 1.4G lens.

Sun 12.22.13 – In my endeavor to see and photograph dark skies at least once a quarter, thus in the last 31 hours I took a trip down to the far part of south-eastern California in the Imperial Valley near Brawley to photograph the night sky from 7-9pm before the moon rose.
Yes, folks, I went to the famed sand sports playground, the Glamis sand dunes with its accompanied cult of Bacchus and Gasoline, to take astro photos. It was well worth it.
It was even worth the darned drunks from The Point Camp bugging me while I was trying to take this wide field photo of the Andromeda Galaxy and the Milky Way with my Nikon D800 and a nifty fifty Nikon 50mm 1.4G lens with no special astrophotography equipment or mounts.
I was racing against time, as the moon was rising and the sky was about to be filled with more light than would allow me to photograph such gems as the Andromeda Galaxy (just below center), the Triangulum Galaxy (top left), C28, and the Perseus Double Cluster (above top right).
The sky was so dark and full of stars that is was near impossible to pick out the constellations at the zenith. And the Dark Sky folks label Glamis as a “Blue” “Rural sky” – due to the lights of Brawley, El Centro, Mexicali, and Blythe nearby. Amazing!
The Andromeda Galaxy was a faint, elongated blurry cotton ball to the naked eye and looked like a Galaxy in my binoculars and through the Nikon lens.
Happy days.