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Best places to photograph Death Valley NP in 3/4th of a Day

Best places to photograph Death Valley NP in 3/4th of a Day

Jun 23rd, 2014, 01:19 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 53
Best places to photograph Death Valley NP in 3/4th of a Day

Dear Friends,

I guess I have been bitten by the California-Yosemite “Photography” bug. I was able to squeeze in another 3-4 days of my version of a “vacation” during the July 4th weekend.

As part of this, I will have around 3/4th of a day to photograph Death Valley NP, so wanted to get some help on the places I should cover on the following DAY

• 5 AM to 7 AM Sunrise Photography at the South Tufa towers, Mono Lake
• 7 AM Leave for Death Valley
• 1 AM Night Hotel reservation at Mammoth Lakes, and I can check in any time late

So I am looking at around 15 hours to reach DV NP, Photograph the place and return back to Mammoth Lakes. Please suggest some absolute “MUSTs” for Photography. I am into Landscape, Waterfalls, Milky way, Star Trail photography

NOTE : I have gone through GOOGLE Maps and have a good idea about the driving distances involved.

manishbit is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2014, 01:31 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 5,904
I would want to get down to the lowest point (I think it's called Badwater) and try to get a photo that would show the sea level sign with some perspective. Also, do check out Artist Pallet Drive, Devil's Golf Course, Zebriski point, Golden , I haven't been to the Beehives, Marble Canyon, Ubehebe crater so can't comment on that. If there is a place on the way in that looks down the valley check the panorama. There is one on the east side if you approach from Beaty.. If you stay till after dark, and it is clear the stars should be awesome.
emalloy is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2014, 03:04 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 7,443
You plan on doing some photography in July in Death Valley? Crack open and egg and fry it-- that should make a good photo. Seriously it can be brutal during that time. Even 5AM can be upper 90's
spirobulldog is offline  
Jun 23rd, 2014, 04:46 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 66,048
>>• 7 AM Leave for Death Valley<<

Not a good idea. It is about 4 hours to Death Valley and longer to the most scenic bits. You will end up trying to take photos at mid day which is 1) bad lighting, and 2) brutally hot.

Forget DV unless you can manage different timing and being there early AM.
janisj is online now  
Jun 23rd, 2014, 07:09 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 2,304
About half of your 15 hours is going to be driving there and back. I wouldn't do that because there are plenty of other places to photograph rather than driving all that way.

Janisj is exactly right, you will get there and find it to be brutally hot and terrible lighting. Normally at mid-day I'd say you would want to focus on the smaller/macro photos rather than big landscapes...but finding those smaller/macro photos takes some time on the ground and that is not realistic due to the heat. I'm thinking close ups of the salt crystals would be good, but no way you would want to be out on the salt flats for any length of time.

My 3 suggestions would be: try to capture the heat shimmer over the valley in a big landscape view, go to the sand dunes an hour before sunset and take pics as shadows change on them, and maybe try for some night photography after it gets dark. However, the sunset is around 8 pm so you'd need to wait til at least 9 or later, and that may be getting too late for your drive to Mammoth Lakes.

I believe there are some waterfalls on the west side and there are two peaks you could climb as well, but you may not have time for that. Either of those would be cool enough in July to be feasible but you won't get the classic Death Valley experience.

Go to the bottom of this page and click on the description for Telescope Peak or Wildrose Peak for directions.

But honestly, if you want to climb a mountain you'd be better off finding something closer rather than driving over 7 hours round trip to do it. For that matter, night sky photography is going to be better at higher altitudes as there's so much haze in the atmosphere so Death Valley isn't really the best choice for that either.
WhereAreWe is offline  
Jun 24th, 2014, 07:01 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10,322
The closest place to get great photos close to where you are going to be is the Bristlecone Pines. http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/inyo/s...telprdb5129900
These are some of the oldest trees in the world.
I did have some other tourist take the picture of me and DW standing behind the sign at Badwater. 282 feet below sea level.
There is a white line painted on the cliff on the other side of the highway labeled sea level.
The Artist's loop (one way) has some interesting photo spots if the rocks are not too hot to touch.
tomfuller is offline  
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