Death Valley Field Trip, Feb. 10-12, 2012

Friday, Feb. 10 - Sunday, Feb 12, 2012

Death Valley National Park is a desert wonderland of immense scale, beauty and power. Its 3.3 million acres, the vast majority of which are roadless wilderness, encompass a staggering array of landscapes, unique geologic formations and colorful vistas. The largest National Park in the contiguous United States, Death Valley is both beautiful to behold and rich in history, mood and mystique. Its towering sand dunes, seasonally snow-capped mountains, warm springs and vast empty valleys offer endless opportunity for exploration and ample subject matter for the creative artist. There’s no place on earth quite like it.

Field Trip Goals

This field trip is an opportunity to improve our techniques and your photographic vision by studying color, composition, and light. You should also consider output from Black & White and panoramas. We will also photograph the stars. Our Field Trip will be organized for all to leave Death Valley with great pictures and with a new found appreciation. It will be a memorable and fun experience for all.


Photographing as a Group

When a group grows in size, individuals may have a different agenda for the trip. Any member is allowed to be a part of the group or venture out on their own. There are no commitments to photograph as one big group. Below are suggested spots and times, and may change as weather dictates. Feel free to make this trip your own and get the best images you can.


February 10-12, Friday thru Sunday


What you can expect to learn

  • Color
  • Composition
  • Panorama
  • Star trail Photography (close to full moon)
  • Wild Flowers


Recommended Equipment

  • Lenses of all focal length
  • Tripod and cable release (HDR, Sunrise, Sunset, Star Reflection)
  • CP  (Circular Polarizer) Filter
  • Split ND (Neutral Density) Filter
  • UV Filter (protective)
  • Plastic bags for equipment. The elements are hard on equipment
  • Bring clothes for a mix of temperatures, from cold mornings to warm afternoons. Bring shoes that you are comfortable walking in over rough terrain.
  • Hat and sunglasses
  • Flashlight/Head lamp
  • Colored Gels


Park Pass

Vehicle Entrance Fee





You will be responsible for all travel, meals, and accommodations. Inside the park we can carpool to different locations.



You are responsible for all your own meals and snacks during the trip.


Sunrise/Sunset/Moon Coordinates (~2/10-2/12)

  • Sunrise – 6:40am @ 107.3 degrees
  • Sunset – 5:23pm @ 252.9 degrees
  • Moon is 94.4 percent, 8:56 pm at 97.9 degrees set 7:59 am at 265.6 degrees




Itinerary (subject to change)


We will meet you in Death Valley National Park on at 2 p.m. at Stovepipe Wells Village at the General Store (picnic tables). On this first day we will start with meetup and park orientation. We will focus on composition and nuances of color while photographing the sunset at Mesquite Dunes. As it gets dark, we may want to capture iamges using the moon as a source of light and/or add colored light (flashlight, gels, flashes) to the surrounding.


This will be a full day in Death Valley. We will begin in the Furnace Creek Area by rising before dawn to photograph the sunrise at Zabriskie Point. After breakfast (Furnace Creek Ranch) we will begin to explore different areas in the southern end of the valley including Badwater, Devil’s Golf Course, Artist Point, and more. We will end our day where we will shoot the sunset.

Suggestions while in the Furnace Creek Area

  • Dante’s View: The most breathtaking viewpoint in the park, this mountain-top overlook is more than 5000 feet above the inferno of Death Valley. The paved access road is open to all vehicles less than 25 feet in length.
  • Artist’s Drive: Scenic loop drive through multi-hued volcanic and sedimentary hills. Artist’s Palette is especially photogenic in late afternoon light. The 9-mile paved road is one-way and is only drivable with vehicles less than 25 feet in length.
  • Devil’s Golf Course: Immense area of rock salt eroded by wind and rain into jagged spires. So incredibly serrated that “only the devil could play golf on such rough links.”The unpaved road leading to it is often closed after rain.
  • Badwater:  Lowest point in North America, Badwater Basin is a surreal landscape of vast salt flats. A temporary lake may form here after heavy rainstorms. Do not walk on the salt flats in hot weather.
  • Zabriskie Point:  Surrounded by a maze of wildly eroded and vibrantly colored badlands, this spectacular view is one of the park’s most famous. Zabriskie Point is a popular sunrise and sunset viewing location. The viewpoint is a short walk uphill from the parking area.


Once again, we will begin very early in the morning long before sunrise. We will head north to and the “moving stones” at the Race Track Playa or choose to photograph either the Rhyolite ghost town or Ubehebe Crater (pronounced you-be-he-be), This is a favorite place for many photographers.

Suggestions while in the Stovepipe Wells Area

  • Sand Dunes:  Tawny dunes smoothly rising nearly 100 feet from Mesquite Flat. Late afternoon light accentuates the ripples and patterns while morning is a good time to view tracks of nocturnal wildlife. Moonlight on the dunes can be magical.
  • Mosaic Canyon:  Polished marble walls and odd mosaic patterns of breccia make this small canyon a favorite. The twisting lower canyon is so narrow hikers must walk through it single-file. Some rock scrambling is required. The canyon opens up after ½ mile to reveal the heights of Tucki Mountain, but hikers can continue another 1½ miles.
  • Titus Canyon: One of the largest and most scenically diverse canyons in the park. Within its lofty walls visitors can find multi-colored volcanic deposits, a ghost town, Indian petroglyphs, bighorn sheep, and deep, winding narrows. Titus Canyon is accessible to high-clearance vehicles via a 26-mile, one-way dirt road beginning outside the park. Standard vehicles may reach the canyon’s mouth from the west via a two-way section of road.



In order to reserve your spot in this workshop, you will need to sign up below. Doing so, allows for additional emails in case of changes.

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