Death Valley, January 2019

It took getting a new camera for me to remember that still photography is a thing. I’ve been so focused over the last few years of hauling out to a location to timelapse a weather event or meteor event that I forgot how much fun it can be to just take a single photo.

This feels like the hundredth time I’ve been out to Death Valley (and it might be), but this time it was unique: I got to take my 20-year-old cousin out there and introduce her to one of the most remote, disparately grand places on Earth.

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We started at the Devil’s Racetrack after an incredibly cold night at ~25 degrees. Waking up to the sound of complete nothingness and seeing the expanse of that valley, she was already impressed but when we reached the racetrack itself and she saw the moving rocks her mind was blown.

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With a full three days planned to see the western/northern ends of the park, I wasted no time in setting up my cameras to capture the moving skies overhead. We managed to skirt the rain all weekend, which was a blessing since I know how fast the water can accumulate and start wrecking the place.

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From there we hauled down south to Badwater the next day after back country camping in a secret spot I know. The weather did not disappoint – it was cold, but in the low 60s, which was perfect for hiking way out onto the dry lakebed itself. She really got a sense of scale after the first 2 miles and we were only a third of the way to where we were trying to be and not even close to the halfway point on the lakebed itself.

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For me, almost nothing is better than introducing a place like this to a new person who maybe hasn’t seen a lot of what California has to offer in terms of diverse landscapes and interesting places to visit. I also was able to grab about a dozen new timelapses of the various areas we visited since I was rocking my new D850. With a 90MB size for each raw still frame, though, it will be a while until I have time to edit all of them (glad for my fast processor and my 1080 Nvidia card…)

The full gallery is below.

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