2018 late Winter early Spring in Death Valley anyone?

Discussion in 'Meet ups & Events' started by 01Ryan10, Aug 16, 2017.

  1. 01Ryan10

    01Ryan10 Founding Member

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    I'd really like to go to Death Valley for a photog adventure, but I'd rather not go solo. Nothing is planned or set. All I have is the idea to go out there for 3-4 days sometime early next year. I live in Orange County, California, to give you all and idea of where I'd be driving from.

    I'm thinking sometime within a week before or after a New Moon phase in either March or April to get the beginning of Milkyway season too.

    I have no idea of logistics, camping, lodging, photo locations or much of anything. I've seen many beautiful pictures and know I'd like to shoot there.

    Post here if interested.
     
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  2. JimFox

    JimFox Moderator
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    Hey Ryan,

    That's a great idea. I didn't get out to Death Valley this last winter at all. So a trip out there is definitely needed.

    Maybe around March 21st or April 19th? April will be the easiest as the MW rises a bit earlier to then match it with the moon setting for some nice fill light on the ground.

    I usually just camp if I am going by myself, it gives flexibility since often we are out late shooting the stars anyway. But there is decent lodging that is centrally located too.

    Jim
     
  3. Jeffrey

    Jeffrey Supporting Member

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    I go to DV often, but March would be the latest for me. I always camp now, but have stayed in lodging everywhere but the Inn. I've led workshops and 4x4 trips there before. January thru March is my time. That would be a fun place for all of us to catch up.
     
  4. Tex Schneider

    Tex Schneider Founding Member

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    Hey Ryan:

    I would be interested, depending on the schedule. I have been to Death Valley several times, not as much as Jim and Jeffrey. I do feel comfortable going, even going alone. I've made quick trips and just slept in my car.

    If you want a very comprehensive ebook, consider this one written by Sarah Marino and Ron Corsocova:

    https://www.naturephotoguides.com/e-books/death-valley

    It has everything you would want to know about Death Valley from a photographers point of view. Well worth the 20 bucks.

    It starts to get uncomfortable in Death Valley by the middle of April due to heat. You really need to watch the temperatures before going. Remember, there is a reason it is called Death Valley.

    Tex
     
  5. Raina Wessen

    Raina Wessen New Member

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    Hey you guys. I'm new to FocalWorld, but eager to jump in! I went to Death Valley this past July for a Milky Way session, and it was everything you could expect. The amount of (visible) stars were unreal, it was peacefully silent and extremely dark, and the heat was no joke. I drove from Pasadena, CA on a Friday evening, arrived a little after midnight and it was in the high 90ºs outside the park. Once we entered the park it was (on average) 103º with a slight breeze. My friend I slept in the car because it was cooler than outside. But I wanted to say even though the weather was almost unbearable, the images and luminosity of the Milky Way are something you wouldn't want to miss. I would love to tag along once a date is set!
     
  6. JimFox

    JimFox Moderator
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    Hey Raina,

    Welcome again to FocalWorld!

    It would be awesome to have you come with. There is a good chance that we will have more then one trip going to Death Valley.

    And good point about the heat. It certainly can be dealt with, probably lots of us have shot in 100+ temps one time or another. It's just all about being smart to be safe.

    Jim
     
  7. 01Ryan10

    01Ryan10 Founding Member

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    Sounds good Raina. This could make for a nice photog adventure.

    So...I know some of you have experience with Death Valley. I do not, but I do have a lot of "virtual", (Stellarium), experience. As Raina has mentioned, a highlight of DV is the ability to photograph the MW with a high degree of detail and clarity. Here are a couple of points to note for the different travel months...

    MARCH: Assumes a first quarter moon phase travel time for those that want some better landscape illumination at night. First quarter moon falls on Saturday, March 25th.
    • We'll get ~2.5+ hrs, from 3:00AM to 5:30AM to shoot the MW core
    • Temps for March average a high of 82 to low of 55, (perhaps in late March plan for 5+ degree warmer on average)

    APRIL: Assumes a third quarter moon phase travel time for those that want some better landscape illumination at night. Third quarter moon falls on Sunday, April 9th.
    • We'll get ~3.5+ hrs, from 1:30AM to 5:30AM to shoot the MW core
    • Temps for March average a high of 91 to low of 62, (perhaps in early April plan for 5+ degree cooler on average)


    The people with experience should chime in, but I'd prefer early April over late March for the sole reason of getting the extra 60+ minutes to photograph the MW.
     
  8. 01Ryan10

    01Ryan10 Founding Member

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    I will be heading out to DV on Thursday morning, March 22nd and leaving Sunday late morning on the 25th. I've reserved one camp site at Furnace Creek campground. My family will not be going, so anyone that wants to meet would be welcome. I don't really have an itinerary, but I figure, I'd do something like...

    • Thursday Sunset shooting try to get to sleep between 8-9PM
    • Friday morning Milkyway from 2-5AM near Friday sunrise shoot location
    • Friday Sunset location and try to get to sleep from 8-9PM
    • Saturday morning MW from 2-5AM near Sat sunrise shoot location
    • Saturday sunset
    • Sunday morning, I don't plan on doing any MW photography since I'll be driving home 4 hours late morning. So...I'll just go out to shoot a sunrise somewhere close to Furnace Creek.

    I'm not really sure what to do from 9AM to 5PM each day. Even though they are not "perfect" landscape photo times, i'm sure there many great places to shoot during harsh sun. Of course, most harsh sun photos make great B&W images. :D
     
  9. JimFox

    JimFox Moderator
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    That's a good general outline Ryan.

    What locations are you looking at? 3 main options are Badwater, Mesquite Dunes and then the Race Track.

    For during the day, there is always getting in an hour or two nap. And then if you are going out to the Race Track, that takes a bit of driving, so that will fill up a day.

    My suggestion based on your schedule is:
    Thursday night/ Friday Morning shoot Badwater Sunset/Stars/Milkyway/Sunrise.
    Friday night/Saturday Morning shoot at the Race Track for Sunset/Stars/Milkyway/Sunrise.
    Saturday night Mesquite Dunes for Sunset
    Sunday morning for Sunrise shoot either Mesquite Dunes or Bad Water

    Shooting the Sunset at the location you want to come back to for the MW shots is good because it allows you to find compositions while you can see, and you can mark GPS coords so you can find your way back in the dark. Depending how you stay to shoot the sunset/stars, you can even just leave your tripod set up while you go back to sleep for a few hours.
     
  10. 01Ryan10

    01Ryan10 Founding Member

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    Well...as of now, I'm not expecting to go to the Racetrack. I've read too many posts from various forums that it's not a good idea without the proper vehicle. Many reports of flat tires and $1000-$2000 towing expenses. The best option is to have an "offroad" vehicle with fat tires. Many people recommend the Jeep rental place there at Furnace Creek. If it's just myself, I'll probably skip. If people end up meeting me out there and want to split the rental cost, I'm all for it. If someone meets me there and wants to drive their own vehicle, I'll pay $25 for gas and bring the snacks, but me by myself, probably a no go.

    As for the other locations...I haven't really narrowed it down. I'm sure Badwater Basin will be one evening though.
     

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