Tuesday, April 7, 2009

World's first 2 day photowalk *

Evening Dunes
Wow! What a weekend!
  • 1600 miles
  • 1200 images
  • 48 hours
  • and best of all: 8 new friends
A couple months ago, Trevor Carpenter, a blog acquaintance, included me in an invitation to meet-up in Death Valley for an extended photowalk. I replied with a tentative maybe. This spring was looking to be pretty busy with travel and I didn't know if I could get one more trip in. A week before the event, I made the final decision to go. And I am glad I did.

Thursday, my wife picked up a rental SUV to give us off-road capability and we headed out early Friday morning. We arrived at the Furnace Creek Visitors Center about 3pm. After paying the entrance fee, getting a weekend pass and talking with the ranger for a bit to get the lay of the land, we headed out to the nearest town to get a room. We returned to the Visitors Center at 5:30pm to meet-up with everyone else. The last of us got there at 6:30pm and we set out to catch the sunset at Zabriskie Point. When we finished making as many pictures as we wanted, we headed to 49er Cafe for dinner and to make plans for the next day.

Saturday started dark and early for the 90 minute drive to our sunrise location, Dantes View. For various reasons, half the group didn't make it, so after sunrise we headed back towards the Visitors Center to attempt to make contact. (There was no cell phone service in the park, so we had to go old-school and actually leave written notes.)

On the way to the Center, we got side-tracked by 20 Mule Team Canyon, a cool little drive with big views of interesting formations. When we finally arrived back at the Furnace Creek area, we found one part of our missing company. Since the remaining missing members knew where we were going, we headed off to our next destination, hoping to meet the last of our jolly band. We found them half way there and we all headed off to Badwater Basin.

Following Badwater, we headed north to Natural Bridge, followed by Artists Palette and finishing the day with sunset at Devils Golf Course. Once it got dark, we headed over to 49er Cafe again for dinner and Sunday planning. After dinner, some of us headed over to Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes for some long-exposure night-time photography.

Everyone was tired from Saturday's schedule, so we planned an easier timetable for Sunday. We met again at 10:30am at Zabriskie Point to get a different light than the previous sunset time for this location. From here we went to a Harmony Borax Works, a historic location for processing borax in the late 1800s that had some interesting decaying adobe structures and rusting metal equipment. After lunch at Stovepipe Wells Villiage, we hiked up Mosaic Canyon and wrapped up the weekend with sunset back at the sand dunes.

I had a great time meeting and photowalking with all the attendees. You never know what to expect when meeting a bunch of strangers for the first time, but everyone was fun to meet and willing to share; a super group of people: Jan Bussey, Kristi Gray, Paul Wirtz, Joan Hunt, Mark (last name unknown), Trevor Carpenter (and his two kids Sarah and Tom), Diane Pebley, and me.

Thanks to Trevor for taking the initiative and putting this together and for everyone else for your part in making this a great event. And thanks to my local photography friends Rich Legg, Ed Paz, and Ann Torrence for generously letting me borrow some of their equipment.

Watch my Death Valley Flickr set for new images from this trip over the next week. Or check out this page to see everybody's images (if they get tagged properly).

* As far as I know anyway.
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