I’ve visited Death Valley on a number of occasions and almost always left frustrated by the lack of photos I’ve come home with. It was common to watch beautiful clouds disappear right before sunrise or sunset, leaving a giant hole in the sky of all my photos. On a November trip in 2016, that all changed.
Willie and I flew to Vegas, met up with David Thompson, got a few hours of sleep, and then left super early in the morning to drive to Death Valley. Every morning and every evening was beautiful! Both Willie and I agree that this was one of the most successful photography trips we’ve ever participated in. We photographed two beautiful sunrises over the sand dunes, a colorful sunrise over salt flats, and 3 colorful sunsets at various playas. David, the Death Valley expert, gave us amazing recommendations that turned out instrumental for our success.
On this particular evening we wanted to find a particular playa known for its amazing mud-cracks. We arrived early, hiked in a general direction of what we thought was the playa, and happened to guess right! We ran around looking at amazing pattern after amazing pattern, leaving various pieces of clothing on the ground to mark our “favorite” spots. And of course right as the sun set, a patch of clouds popped in over the Panamint Range and doused the whole scene in beautiful reds and yellows!
Nikon D800 w/Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8:
14mm, f/11, 1/5 sec, ISO 100