Saturday, August 2, 2014

Visiting Death Valley? Five Locations to Consider Photographing

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shot with Nikon 60mm f/2.8G ED AF-S on Nikon 1 J1 fitted with Nikon FT-1 F-Mount Adapter

Death Valley is an amazing place to visit but not all of us have the time/means to take in everything this incredible landscape has to offer. Even if one gets a chance to wander around here for only few days, one should feel blessed. Just like all National Parks, Death Valley has its share of iconic landmarks that most landscape photographers try to have pictures of in their portfolios. Each of the following (except the last one) is a short distance from Furnace Creek:

  1. Zabriskie Point (sunrise)
  2. Artist's Palette (sunset)
  3. Salt flats at Badwater (sunrise)
  4. Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes (sunrise/sunset)
  5. The Racetrack (sunrise/sunset)
The Racetrack is about 70 miles from Furnace Creek. The last 25 miles takes two hours or more of (cautious, slow) driving on a dirt road. Although a high clearance vehicle is recommended, do not let that stop you from going there if all you have is a car (as long as it is decently reliable). Just drive sensibly and you will get there and back just fine.

If time is money, stay in Furnace Creek. Choices are: Furnace Creek Inn (less expensive) and Furnace Creek Ranch (more expensive).

If money is time, Beatty, NV is only about 40 miles (~45 minutes drive) from Furnace Creek. It has a Motel 6 and few other motels. If one is alone, driving from Beatty to (locations near) Furnace Creek in the dark for sunrise shoot and returning to Beatty from Furnace Creek after sunset shoot might be tedious. More so when there are hardly any cars passing by. Do not count on cellular coverage between DV and Beatty. Gasoline is much cheaper in Beatty than in Furnace Creek.

if you prefer camping, there are a few campgrounds as well around Furnace Creek.

Do not forget to stop at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center to pay park entrance fee and get a map. Also for information on road conditions.

I've been to Death Valley four times and I sincerely hope I get to visit again.

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