Day 3 of my Death Valley excursion. Badwater. Aptly named as this is the lowest point in North America, at the hottest spot on earth, and there’s actually a small pool of water at this point! Of course the amount of salt in the water makes it completely undrinkable…hence the name. An ancient lake bed, this amazing place collects all the minerals and salt from the surrounding land that drain in to the basin during floods. These minerals then form amazing shapes and polygons out on this seemingly endless stretch of salt. As luck would have it this was my one good sunset with clouds…and it was super promising. As I scouted the area I eventually set off on a trek out to find the best examples of this phenomenon that I could. While doing so I came across this particular formation that really caught me. With the late afternoon light it seems as if it were a tree of salt. I snapped this photo and then moved on as I was constantly looking for unique shapes. Of course little did I realize that I would try, without success, to find this spot again once sunset took hold. Glad I stopped when I did 🙂
Arriving in to San Francisco after 4 days in the desert was fun. Back to city life as opposed to deafening silence of the dunes and remote landscapes. I had one evening to shoot and then of course came the big decision of WHERE!? The clouds were looking pretty sexy and the trick was to find a spot to take best advantage of the conditions. After driving around for over an hour I decided to head down to Kirby Cove on the Marin side of the Golden Gate Bridge. Having never been there I figured what a better time than now. As it goes the sunset did get crazy colorful but more to the direct west, and not east where I was facing, however the was plenty of light to go around. This is the very last shot of the evening for me as the color was just about being taken over by the city lights. Stars had already made their appearance but the high cirrus held some of that lovely pink glow. Glad I waited til the very end 🙂
My first sunrise in DV…no clouds…which is to be expected most of the time, however not the most desired for landscape photography. About 30 min after the sun rose a slug of cirrus ish started movin right over head as I saw it traverse the valley. Eek! After shooting a few exposures I realized that they were booking it across the sky and this would be my only time to shoot dunes w/ clouds (at least I always assume that, especially in a place like this). Went in to a frenzy to find the lines that I wanted, change lenses, put on filters and then start the exposure…then sit and wait. Was able to get two shots off before the clouds were gone. The combination of light, lines and clouds really give this photograph a sense of motion!
Had the pleasure of working with Anna a couple of days ago. While standing at the car in the rain we decided to give it a shot and head down to the beach anyway. Over the course of the hour or so the rain abated and managed to get a wonderful sunset out of it! This was shot on the trail down to the beach after the rain stopped using the Brenizer method. I love glowy light! Glad we decided to make it an adventure too 🙂
Leave Las Vegas ~6pm. Head for
batcountry Death Valley. Wind car over dark hills and over mountain passes. The desert is calling.
Enter Death Valley National Park in complete darkness and start decent toward the valley floor and Furnace Creek. See a sign up ahead for Zabriskie Point. Thoughts running through the head, cataloging shots I’ve seen from here. Pull over.
Crescent moon hangs low over the mountains…it’s last bit of light about to disappear. Don winter gear, headlamp on, camera bag on the back. Up to the overlook.
Stand at the overlook. Cold winds wiping at your back. Peer in to the black. Prepare camera for I-dont-know-what.
Press the shutter…time passes by…*click*
After all…it was a “Shot In The Dark”
We now skip ahead to my third morning in Death Valley. Having seen plenty of photographs of Zabriskie Point, admittedly I was not overly enthused about capturing this icon. Dont know why really just the pull to capture it wasnt there. However, after photographing an incredible sunset at Badwater the evening before I had the time, and was in the right part of this huge National Park, to be able to try and catch sunrise from here. Easily accessible it’s one of the first stops coming in to the Valley from Las Vegas. This particular morning it was chilly…quite chilly. Even though much of Death Valley is below sea level this overlook is around 5000ft above the valley floor. Bundled up I made my way out to this spire of earth which placed me in a great spot to capture the unique landforms and colors that this location supplies. As the sky was quite clear (not what photographer’s hope for) the best light was actually about 20min before sunrise during the intense twilight glow that happens before sunrise and after sunset. This special light brought the scene to life and really enhanced the striations in the rock. Now if only there was a hot chocolate stand nearby… 🙂
For more information on this and other recent Death Valley photos please email us through the site or contact any aFeinberg Gallery!
Back on Kauai, I have just spent 4 full days in Death Valley for the first time. Somehow it managed to coincide with the coldest tempertuares of the year as I experienced below freezing weather every night with the coldest being 14F on the last night at the Racetrack. Very bizarre considering the hottest temperature ever recorded was in this valley.
Having seen images from DV for years it was with much anticipation that I was able to visit and see for myself. The park itself is HUGE. Many hours to traverse across it with many roads needed 4wd and high-clearance. My car provided me with decent amounts of both for some good off-roading and washboard type roads. But no boulder hopping this time 😛
While there are many stories and images to share I will start with this photograph made on my first evening at the park. After getting some good advice to visit these remote dunes I headed out after my morning shoot clear across the park…2+hrs away. What I didnt realize is that these dunes were not right next to the road. As I followed the dirt roads I realized that it was going to be a park and hike kinda day. I picked a spot about in the middle of the length of this stretch of sand, packed my bag, water, WARM clothing, put a pin on my phone map so I didnt lose my car…and off I went. Looking out across the wash the dunes loom large…maybe 200+ft high. Hiking across a flood plain made for a unique experience as the evidence of rapidly flowing water (however infrequent) was apparent everywhere. Oh what a sight that must be to see (and NOT be standing where I was).
Making my arrival to my destination after approximately 1-1.5mi of hiking it was time to start finding lines. Often times I am first overwhelmed by the opportunities of locations like this…where to start!?! While taking in the fading sun and shapes that play along the dunes I knew my end goal for the night would be some star work. The sky was fairly clear and the moon was a crescent…so bright enough for some light but not too bright to overwhelm the stars. As twilight arrived I knew I needed a strong composition to compliment this scene. After playing around I settled on this edge of the dune leading up to the big peak. Then to wait. As the sun sets in the desert the temperature drops fairly quickly, that combined with the windy conditions had me in for a good introductory to Death Valley in winter. Just at the boarder of twilight and night it was time to make the exposure. Capturing the end of the magenta glow as the stars made their appearance. The clouds that happened to appear and hang around were some of the FEW that I saw my entire 4 days in Death Valley as was very lucky to have them exist where they did. After I made this exposure I waited a bit longer and did some star-trail work…but that’s for another day 😉
For more information on this and any other Death Valley images please contact us through the website or any aFeinberg Gallery!
Going back through the archives there all kinds of goodies to discover. I’m very well aware that I have a large quantity of work that’s never seen the light of day (pun kinda intended). So it’s a treasure hunt when I start flipping through. This particular image was taken on a fun day with a random group of people off for a walk. When we came to this hillside the simplicity of the scene caught me and reminded me more of the rolling hills of the farming regions of the NW. Midday is notoriously tough to shoot in but here the colors just popped. The clouds of course happen to just lay themselves out perfectly. Now if only you could feel the warm wind while viewing the image 😉
It happens. We’re driving down the road, maybe someone else is at the wheel, and there’s that image that flys by our window. “Man, wish I had a camera”. Photographer or not we have the same experiences. On my last full day in the Eastern Sierra in Oct ’12 I was driving south to go check out the town of Bishop. Having spent the previous 2 days chasing light, I was constantly on the lookout for great arrangements of Aspens. What’s so unique about shooting fall color like this is I’m out in times of day I wouldnt even think about with other landscapes (read: middle hours of the day). The trees just glow when backlit which greatly extends the hours I normally shoot from sunrise/sunset to ALL day! This particular day, as I was booking it south, at somewhere between 70-80mph, there next to me was this cute little line of Aspens. I recall there being a momentarily thought of ‘should I keep going’ and then immediately realized that “I do what I want!” and pulled over (safely of course). Now naturally there was a fence to keep people out which meant it was time to stand on top of my car. If you ever see me photograph you’ll know this is my favorite place to be. Plus the added fun of people driving by me at highway speeds most likely thinking “what the hell is that guy doing!?”. Next step was to wait. Of course, this is landscape photography after all. With the clouds above I needed the sun to pop through to backlight these trees and make them POP. As the clouds parted a bit and the sun snuck (apparently this is not a real word, but we’re making it one) through I quickly captured this scene, climbed down off the roof of my car and was back on the road. All in a days work. 🙂
If you are interested in Collecting this unreleased image please contact any of the aFeinberg Galleries!
Another year down and another slideshow! This year I have LOTS of unreleased/unposted work and decided to sneak a few never before seen images in to this edition. It was an incredible year that I could probably even write a book on. Opened 2 aFeinberg Galleries; Poipu & St. Regis-Princeville. Started traveling to the mainland every 6 weeks and now have been able to greatly expand my portfolio in directions I thought would take a lot longer. Here’s to the future and having you all along for the ride!
Much thanks and Shaloha!
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