Death Valley work shop

May 7, 2021   |  Death Valley, CA

The first night we met at Stovepipe Wells and drove over to the Mesquite Flat Sand dunes for some nice sunset shots! I learned a few new tricks and found a nice spot for shooting the dunes. Then, we went back to our rooms to take a nap before leaving for the racetrack at 11 PM. We rode in the guides four-wheel drive Toyota down a rough road for about two hours. We arrived around 1 AM, at just the perfect time to see the Milky Way at its peak! We had to get our camera gear ready quickly and walk out onto the desert race track to get our shots. I was having problems with my camera and Casey, our guide helped me figure out how to fix the camera settings. He was literally a life saver as he enabled me to get some great shots. We also took pictures in the direction of the North Star to get some scenic star trails.

After an hour or so, the other two people and Casey went back to the truck to rest. However, I stayed on the playa continuing to take pictures through the night! It was a good night for shooting stars according to the PhotoPills app. There were also a few shooting stars that lit up the sky!

Within about a half hour one of the other photographers came back out to shoot the stars with me and when he came back out, he heard my phone playing Pink Floyd. He said that that was perfect music for the site we were at! Both of us kept shooting while our guide, Casey tried to sleep. I say tried because the gal who was shooting with us was shooting near his truck and going in and out of his truck plus shining her head lamp all over the place! She was even bothering us with light flying all over the place while we were out on the playa but it was much worse for Casey! He had helped her set up her camera earlier. I shot until it was too cold for me because I only brought a wind breaker, and the desert got cold! Then, I went to the truck for a short nap before I went back out for the sunrise. At sunrise we took pictures of the moving rocks on the race track. Just after dawn, the light was perfect! After shooting at daybreak Casey drove us back to the hotel with a couple of more short stops for photos. We got back around 1230 PM and slept until early evening when we headed to the twenty-mule team Canyon to take some nice sunset shots. Finally, we stopped to get a bite to eat at the “Last Kind Words” steakhouse and it was a very tasty meal unlike the greasy food at Stovepipe Wells!

Then, we returned to the hotel to get some rest again, but Casey said no one had ever gone out shooting on that night because they were always too tired. Regardless, I went out into the night shooting the dunes and Milky Way! It was not exactly ideal for shooting, because the wind started blowing hard. Sand flying everywhere and into my face! Despite that I pressed on doing the best I could walking through the dunes and shooting from various spots. After a couple of hours, I headed back to my car to get some more sleep before driving back to the dunes again for a sunrise shot. I got there early and started shooting in the blowing sand. After I shot several pictures, I walked out to where we were supposed to meet at the road. They didn’t even walk in to take any shots because Casey said it was too windy! After that, we went back to the hotel for breakfast and some picture developing. I didn’t bring my laptop on this trip because I had taken his class before. The other two photographers showed up without downloading their photos onto their laptops which Casey had asked them to do. So, Casey lost at least 40 minutes waiting for them to complete that task. Then, he showed them some nice photo development tricks. Finally, we all parted and headed back to our homes. I didn’t get very much sleep but had fun in the desert and took several awesome pictures!

Rock race, Death Valley

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