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Death Valley Trip: Day 2

Whew! It's been a busy, busy week, but I finally got through the images from my second day in Death Valley National Park. To see the Day 1 pictures, click here.

Day 2 was one hell of an experience. Apparently nature didn't think gale force winds at 282 feet below sea level was enough of a challenge for me on Day 1, so she decided to throw some rain, hail and snow at me.

Joshua Trees in Snow - Death Valley National Park, CA

As we made our way out of the park, a storm was making its way in. Luckily, it held off long enough for us to cook a hot breakfast of pancakes, sausage and eggs (my brother and I really know how to camp). As we ascended out of Death Valley into the Panamint Mountains, the clouds got darker, the rain got heavier and, eventually, that rain turned into snow.

Needless to say, I had to pull over and take some time to document this awesome weather. With the wind still blowing strong, the snow seemed to come in at a 90-degree angle, almost scraping across the ground instead of falling on it. We froze our asses off, but it was a lot of fun.

Snow in Death Valley National Park, CA

As we continued out of the park, I stopped at a gorgeous overlook of Panamint Valley. The storm clouds were hanging low over the mountains, creating layers that only a painter could appreciate. It was begging for a panorama, so I have 2 here that are slight variations (click each to view a larger version).

Panamint Valley Storm - Death Valley National Park, CA

Panamint Valley Storm - Death Valley National Park, CA

Storm in Death Valley National Park, CA

Storm in Death Valley National Park, CA

Intermittent rain with a short bout of hail made taking pictures quite a challenge. I don't worry too much about rain hitting the camera so long as it isn't a downpour, but keeping droplets off the front of my filters was a never-ending battle. I don't like having to hold an umbrella over my camera, so I resorted to blocking it with my hand during shots and wiping them clean every few snaps. It ended up working out okay.

I thought I was done taking pictures for the trip after this stunning view of Panamint Valley, but then we saw the Joshua Trees down the road...Joshua Trees in a snow storm.

I've been dying to photograph Joshua Trees in snow for years. Although these shots aren't exactly what I had in mind (due to the lackluster overcast sky and accompanying drab lighting), I was thrilled to finally capture some of these desert yuccas blanketed in snow like a Christmas Tree.

Joshua Trees in Snow - Death Valley National Park, CA

Joshua Trees in Snow - Death Valley National Park, CA

I don't normally convert my images to black and white or add vignettes, but this image was asking for it.

Joshua Trees in Snow - Death Valley National Park, CA

That's all of 'em! I hope you enjoyed looking at my pictures from Death Valley. I can't wait to go back and try my hand at some of these locations again!