Saturday, July 18

A pleasant sight to behold in Death Valley National Park

What can I say?  The light was so beautiful!
I actually made several exposures hoping to capture the wafting tissue in an appealing repose. It was almost like music.

What Dolores Delivered

In July 2015, Hurricane Dolores delivered thunderstorms to Central and Southern California after beating up Baja California. A small group of photographer friends was camping under a new moon in Mahogany Flats - the "highlands" of Death Valley National Park - to capture the Milky Way, make star trails and log some time at elevation ahead of an August trip amongst the Bristlecones. On Saturday morning, we packed up camp and headed home to escape gusty winds that had buffeted us on Friday night and to avoid Dolores's impact. Of course, heading south, we were running into the storm.

Emerging from the Panamint Mountains and heading across the low point of Panamint Valley, we had some stunning clouds, so we had to stop on the lake bed to shoot. Below are three frames I shot that morning presented in different wide aspect ratio formats.

What do you think?  Is one stronger?

The files are pretty small so I like to click on any image and open the gallery. The images are still small but I can use the right and left arrows to skip from one to the other.  I'll try to mount larger files soon.

Panamint Valley Storm Clouds I 

Panamint Valley Storm Clouds II
(stitched panorama)

Panamint Valley Storm Clouds III 
(stitched panorama, cropped)

Milky Way over Death Valley National Park


While we were high above the sweltering lowlands of Death Valley, we spent our evenings at the Charcoal Kilns. The night sky was amazing and the Milky Way was prominent. I experimented with off-camera flash to light the kilns while nature lit up the sky. 

I'm still getting the hang of astrophotography or the limited variety of astrophotography that I've been practicing.  In these shots, I didn't know about adjusting the white balance to get a more appealing color balance.  My friend Allan shared a link to Mark Gee's excellent tutorial and there I found an excellent capsule summary of all you need to know to get started. 

I have a few other shots in this Death Valley Highlands Gallery.