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Death Valley with Paul's Photo, January 2013 Print

Sue and I went on the Paul's Photo Death Valley photo adventure in 2006 and I have been thinking about doing so again for a while.  Then, Duane told me that he was going as part of his training to be one of the trip leaders for Paul's Photo.  Since it's always fun to take trips like this with Duane, I signed up.  The weather was interesting this time because it rained while we were there (Death Valley gets less than 2" of rain per year).

After loading Sue's car with our gear, we headed for Baker, intending to have lunch at the Mad Greek Café.  Why?  Because it had been featured on Diners, Driveins & Dives on the Food Network (I love that show) and I like to eat at interesting places when I'm on the road.

Photographer's note:  All the images imbedded in this blog are iPhone images.  The REAL photographs are contained in the slide show at the END of this story, and you can see them by clicking once on that thumbnail.

We timed things perfectly, arriving in Baker about lunch time.  We each had a gyro, which was terrific:

 

GyroI also had a siide order of taboulleh, which was quite good.  I'd go back.

We bought gas in Baker because it's always a sure thing that gas prices in Death Valley will be the highest in the nation, and then made way for the Furnace Creek Ranch.  We checked in, unloaded and had dinner with the rest of the early arrivals.

The following day, the adventure began.  After an introductory lunch at the Furnace Creek Inn, we shot in Golden Canyon that afternoon.  I'm not crazy about Golden Canyon, but I went along for the walk anyway because you never know what will catch your eye.  At the end of the day, most of us were attempting to capture something in the sunset.

The group

 

Friday was dunes day at Stovepipe Wells.  We drove out to the dunes and hiked up to those each of us were interested in, setting up before sunrise.  The cloud cover played havoc with the sunrise but there were occasional flashes of brilliance and it was challenging, which is a good thing.  Could have been better, but could have been a lot worse.

Dunes

 

After brunch at Stovepipe Wells, we came back to the ranch and chilled for a while, watching it rain part of the time.  We went back to the dunes for an afternoon/sunset shoot, which once again delivered no real sunset light, but fabulous clouds.  I made some great images (which are in the slide show at the end of this blog) and captured this with my iPhone:

Playa

 

For the Saturday morning shoot, Mark advised (and we agreed) that there was no point getting to Zabriskie Point for sunrise, because it would be clouded over.  We elected to get there at 9:00 a.m. and that worked out very well.  The combination of great clouds and brief flashes of sunlight made for some great images;  I had a 40" x 60" canvas print made of mine and it's hanging in my office as I write.  That one is also in the slide show.  This iPhone image gives you an idea of what the clouds were like. 

Zabriskie

 

After shooting at Zabriskie for a while, most of the group elected to go to Badwater.  Duane and I decided to go to Fingers instead to see what was there.  Neither of us had ever photographed there so it was a good experience.

Fingers 

 

That afternoon we went out to the Devil's Golf Course to photograph the salt pans.  I love it out there and made some great images (also in the slide show) but recorded this one on my iPhone to post on my Facebook page while there.

Devils Golf Course 

 

All in all, a successful photographic adventure.  It taught us (again) that you can't depend on weather and that when life deals you lemons, you need to make lemonade.  It was fun reacting to the challenge and I enjoyed the trip.  Click the thumbnail below once and the slide show of my real images will open;  you can navigate through via the arrows at upper right and left on each image.