The Heart of Death Valley

Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park

Death Valley has miles of dry lake beds, river bottoms, salt flats, and rock formations.  A dry river bed exists very near the Mesquite Sand Dunes which I posted about yesterday.  I wasn’t thinking about photographing a dry river but while hiking across it I thought the patterns were very interesting especially this one.

Mesquite Sand Dunes

Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park

Death Valley’s Mesquite Sand Dunes is 2 miles south of Stovepipe Wells Village.  There is a parking lot but you have to hike 2 miles or more to get out to the largest dunes.  I found that if you park 1/4 of a mile north of the lot and off the side of the road you can hike to dunes that the tourists don’t get to.  The importance of that, for a photograph, is there are no foot prints to spoil the pristine nature of dunes.  I took photos at sunset and sunrise and this one was at sunset.

What Was It?

Was it a Rabbit?, Death Valley CA  (1 of 1)

I returned last night from three days in the US’s largest National Park not in Alaska.  Death Valley’s 5269 square miles has to be seen in order to understand and appreciate how large, stark, and beautiful it is.  I’m going to post a photo a day for the rest of this week to, in a small way, show you what I saw.  Some are grand and some simple like this one.

There are a series of dunes named Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes that hundreds of people a day visit so by nightfall their foot prints are everywhere.  The good news is the wind often blows hard at night and erases them.  If you hike out a couple of miles at first light you can see where small animals have traveled.  You can also capture those dramatic scene too.  Those are for later.

Central Coast Snow

This photo is special to me for a couple of reasons.  First, having it snow on the Central Coast of California is very rare.  Secondly, it was taken with Fuji Velvia 50.  I have never used this film and wanted to see for myself what it was like.  I was driving to Santa Barbara this morning to drop off the role for developing and had one frame left.  One of those lucky things.  It was scanned at 1800 with a Plustek 8100.

Central Coast Snow 2_8_2013

The Way if Was?

There is a section of Pismo Beach that allows motorized vehicles to drive out on the sand. During my walk yesterday this old car went by.  Not sure what it is, maybe a Ford.  I did a little cropping and then converted into B&W with Silver Efex Pro.  My way of recreating history.

The Way it Was

Trinity Episcopal Church

I like looking at the photo blogs from Europe.  They have so many interesting buildings to photograph.  If you visit my site, you know I live on the Central Coast of California.  We have many more surf boards and condos here.  Trinity is in Santa Barbara on busy State Street.  I’ve driven on State Street numerous times but never noticed this beautiful structure.  It’s true what they say about people who become interested in photography; they see things differently.  Anyway, I thought I would pretend I was in Europe and take several shots – I liked this one best.  Hope you enjoy my “practice” European shot.

Pelican (Pelecaniformes)

There are numerous sea birds to watch and photograph here on the coast of California.  Normally a zoom with auto focus and the servo mode would be the best choice.  However, considering the theme of this blog, a 5D Mark II and 200MM wouldn’t be appropriate.  So one has to be patient, zone focus, and be quick when using a 35MM manual lens to get birds in flight.  Occasionally it works out like this morning at Shell Beach.

How’s the Fishing?

I’m blessed to live near the coast and like to walk on the beach but don’t do it often enough.  This morning I did.  Me and my camera took a walk and observed these two having a chat about fishing conditions.

Gas from the Past

It’s fun to go on day trips and take roads you’ve never been on.  Today was one of those days.  Standing off under some brush and trees was this gas pump.  There was no price of gas on the meter but I bet it was less than today.