Plan to visit the Very Large Array (VLA) - New Mexico

Discussion in 'Locations' started by Chris Dodkin, Sep 1, 2011.

  1. Chris Dodkin

    Chris Dodkin West Coast Correspondent

    I'm thinking of planning a photo trip out into the high plains of New Mexico, to photograph an iconic structure - the Very Large Array or VLA.


    This HUGE radio telescope has 27 separate dishes, arranged in a Y configuration, with each antenna being 25 meters (82 feet) in diameter.

    The VLA is located 50 miles west of Socorro on U.S. Highway 60 - basically in the middle of nowhere (which is the whole point as it's away from radio interference from mankind)


    Access is unlimited - you can just drive up and walk around, day and night.


    There is a visitor center and even a gift shop :cool:

    As well as the dish array, there is a repair facility you can visit, where dishes are rolled in on rails for maintenance.


    Photography at this location works at any time of day or night - sunrise, sunset, full sun, night-time with the stars as a backdrop.




    Nearest airport is Albuquerque NM - so will have to fly into that airport on a cheap(ish) flight (Southwest) - rent a car, and drive out to the site. The VLA is over 2 hrs south of Albuquerque.

    Probably visit and shoot during the day, then shoot sunset, twilight and night shots before heading off to a hotel and some hot food in the nearest town, Socorro.

    Plan would then be to get up and shoot before dawn through sunrise, before heading back to Albuquerque to return the rental car, and fly out.

    So, not exactly a stroll down the street to take a photo - but then, there aren't many places in the world you can see and shoot a site like this one!

    Anyone else interested in an outing?

    We might run into Jodie Foster! ;)



    All images a copyright their original owners - will hope to have our own after the trip
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2011
  2. Hamish Gill

    Hamish Gill Well-Known Member

    Mate! You gotta do it! Looks like an awesome place!
    Are you going to use that fancy app of yours to determin a good time to go?
  3. Pete Askew

    Pete Askew Admin

    He won't need to. Them aliens that used to follow him around will tell him!! :)
  4. Chris Dodkin

    Chris Dodkin West Coast Correspondent

    Shuuush Pete, they're listening..... ;)

    Will probably just have to make the best of which ever weekend I can get - will use TPE to at least know where to stand for Sunset, Sunrise and Moon (if it's up).
  5. Paul Lange

    Paul Lange Moderator

    Gives me an idea, theres an array near Cambridge. May have to take a trip one evening or morning. Not quite as big as the VLA but nothing ever is in the UK
  6. Chris Dodkin

    Chris Dodkin West Coast Correspondent

    Ah but Blighty has HP Sauce, Marmite, sausage rolls, pork pies, warm beer, and decent curries - none of which can be found over here!

    Oh, and proper chocolate - not that plasticy stuff...

    And the Cambridge array looks rather promising Paul

  7. Vic Shaw

    Vic Shaw Senior Member

    what a great plan, I've not planned a trip like this for ages . the last two I did were The Taj Mahal and Auschwitz. More planning went into the Taj as I had more of an idea of what I wanted.

    I'm going to get my thinking cap on now. it's about time I pull my finger out and started to use a camera again!

  8. Chris Dodkin

    Chris Dodkin West Coast Correspondent

    Any of the UK or US contingent fancy coming along for the shoot?

    US Brian and US Darren??
  9. Brian Moore

    Brian Moore Moderator

    Wish I could join you, Chris. Looks like great fun. Unfortunately I'm tethered pretty close to home for a while. Thanks anyway. (Maybe another time!)

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