Fall 2014 Death Valley Photo Workshop Recap

group over photographers on sand dune under milky way

Our November 2014 Death Valley workshop was another huge success, with a wonderful variety of locations and conditions. And of course, an awesome group of photographers. None of this would be possible without them so let me first of all thank Jennifer, Elisabeth, Whitney, Stacia, Mike, Carolyn, Srini, and Lisa for making the workshop so fun.

We started the workshop with an unofficial meetup out in the Cottonball Basin. And what a nice bonus it was, as we enjoyed arguably the nicest sunset of the workshop. But the light soon faded and it was back to Furnace Creek for the official meet and greet and a good night’s sleep. We kicked off the first full day of the workshop with a visit to our secret spot on the Badwater Salt Flats, where crusty patterns stretch as far as the eye can see. Next we visited Golden Canyon, which is an amazing place for intimate landscapes. Once you notice all the intersecting lines and patterns in the badlands you realize you could photograph there for days.

In the afternoon we made the short trek out to another of our secret locations where water, mud, and salt all combine into surreal patterns. After sunset we returned to Furnace Creek for a quick dinner and then it was out to Natural Bridge to enjoy the incredible dark skies that Death Valley is famous for. The stars were blazing brightly, as was Jim’s insanely bright torch, and some way cool photos were popping up on the group’s cameras.

The next morning we visited a Death Valley classic: Zabriskie Point. And there was just enough cloud cover to the east to create some stunning patches of light and shadow in the earthy ridges below us. Those ridges were too compelling to resist so after sunrise we hiked down into the badlands to explore them in detail. Here it seemed that the prevalent cracked mud tiles were the star of the show.

In the afternoon our group journeyed out into the magnificent Mesquite Sand Dunes. It had been awhile since the last wind storm so there were lots of footprints to content with, but that made it a great opportunity to focus on the details and small scenes.

On our final morning of the workshop the group convinced us that we should revisit Badwater so that they could take all they learned and apply it to a location they’d already been to. And I’m happy to report there were some very lovely photos being created that morning.

Thanks again to are marvelous group for attending; we had a ball and hope you all did too!

Participants Gallery

This was one of the best photography trips I’ve ever taken. Everyone was great and we really enjoyed you all. Josh and Jim were spot on and I learned a lot – especially about this expensive piece of hardware hanging from my neck. I’m humbled by the photo’s you guys submitted (so much to learn about visualization) and I miss Jennifer’s loud and enthusiastic “THAT’S IT”.

Much love and peace,


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