During my time in southern California, I have often wanted to go to Joshua Tree National Park. Often I have been deterred by the summer heat, but just somehow never managed to go out there. Finally, thanks to the WTC I was able to visit this park for the first time and brought back a few pics. With a huge storm hitting Los Angeles, I knew the weather would be interesting and it did allow for some dramatic skies. Here are a few from the trip.
The last few images I have from Death Valley this January are some pictures by full moonlight. The first few were taken in Panamint Valley where I stopped on my way to check out the large amount of water that had gathered there from recent rains. Here at about 10:30 or so at night there was not a single sound to be heard except for the occasional car. When a car did come by, either via route 178 or 190 I could hear it approaching from miles and miles away. In fact the sound of a car here at this spot sounded strange as it echoed in the desolate valley around me. When no cars were around I relished the silence as not even a plane could be heard or seen overhead.
Here we see the view from the middle of 190 looking towards Towne Pass.
I picked up a similar view of these peaks on my way out of the park in the afternoon light.
These next few pictures were taken at Badwater Basin from the road. Badwater is the lowest place in North America at 282 feet below sea level. I was scouting to see if I could see water for a return trip in the morning. I was quite tired and did not want to hike out a mile into the basin to see so I took a few captures from the side of the road to see what could be seen. I concluded that there wasn’t much of any water if any (contrary to expectations). Upon looking at the full 21mp pictures however, I can see what might be water in one of the pictures, but alas we never hiked out there to be sure.
Finally, a recent trip back into the Death Valley archives yielded this picture, which I like quite a lot and somehow did not choose before. This is from the Mesquite Dunes. The thick haze was from a sandstorm that was raging on the western end of the dunes. Fortunately where we were the wind was much more calm.
For the final magic hour shoot of the trip, we headed back to the previous morning’s location to once again go after reflections in the morning light. While the sky did not give us dramatic clouds this time, I did walk away with some nice images albeit with some saltwater-soaked hiking boots.
These next few images were taken as I left Death Valley and made a few stops along the way when I felt inspired. First up is a shot going up Towne Pass west of Stovepipe Wells on the way out. I wanted to capture the sun halo that was visible through the high clouds around the sun.
Coming down from the pass, I was struck by what appeared to be an optical illusion. It’s as if the high Sierra Nevada mountains were submerged below a great blue ocean on the other side of the Argus Range. It was very strange to me and I felt compelled to stop and take a picture.
Finally on the edge of the Darwin Falls Wilderness there was a decent helping of snow on the ground around some Joshua Trees. I took many shots to try and capture what i felt but in the end I only was happy with this shot of some trees on a nearby ridge.
One last post from Death Valley is yet to come with just a few moonlight shots. This was a fantastic trip which produced many great images. More importantly, getting out in the wilderness was good for the soul.
Having scouted out the location earlier in the day, we returned for a spectacular sunset. Once the sun descended beyond the Panamint Range, the light began to get interesting.
The light really exploded at the end in a symphony of red and pink.
Before departing I turned the camera towards the symmetrical reflection of Telescope Peak after all the red had faded in the sunset.
This was a fantastic conclusion to the first day of my first visit to Death Valley in over a year. I slept soundly knowing that amazing images would await me the following morning as well as we returned to the same place we started with.