By Harley Pebley

White, with a touch of red and yellow

Saturday, August 7th, we’re heading out to the Salt Flats for Hellfire 15. This is an annual, multi-day event sponsored by the Utah Rocket Club where they fire off high-powered rockets. The first couple days are closed to spectators due to safety regulations working with experimental motors, but Saturday they use certified motors and open it up to the public. It’s a bit of a drive and can be hot, but there’s stuff here you won’t find anywhere else.

The range is open 8am to 4pm. I will get there about 8am to stake out an observation area and setup some shade. I’ll probably stay mid-afternoon. Feel free to show up anytime, but morning is better. People try to get the first firing of their rockets in before noon, both for temperature and wind reasons. So, the hours between 9am and 12noon have the most activity. After noon, things slow down a bit. We’ll probably take a group photo between 9:00 and 9:30.

Besides your normal photography gear, be sure to bring lots of fluids, sunscreen, lip balm, sunglasses and a hat. If you’re going to be staying for an extended time, you may want to bring snacks and/or lunch too. I’ll have an awning setup for shade, a cooler to store things in and a couple chairs. You may want to bring your own chairs, just in case.

To get there, head west on I-80 until exit 4 just before Wendover. Turn right off the freeway and then right again a little ways down the road. When the road ends, follow the cones on the salt leading to the firing range.

Plan on spending $10 and 30 minutes at the car wash when you get home. You don’t want to leave that salt on your vehicle.

Comments and discussion on this Flickr thread. If you want to meet others somewhere to carpool, post your interest on the thread and self-organize.

Update: I found an online ride sharing coordination site at I’ve never used this site before but created an event for us to experiment with. The link just mentioned should take you to it. If you go in through their main page, you need to enter lookup code “pwuhellfire15” (without the quotes). After registering, you can post ads to ride and/or drive and find others in your area. We’ll see how well this works.

Here are some more of my images from two years ago.