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Private Workshop in Death Valley: Part 1

Salt Flats at sunset in Death Valley National Park, CA

Last week, I met a student out in Death Valley National Park for a 3-day, 2-night private, one-on-one photography workshop. We stayed in Panamint Springs and spent the trip photographing hot spots like the salt flats, sand dunes and Devils Cornfield. 2 sunrises and 2 sunsets later, we'd seen and photographed some of the most unique landscapes this country has to offer. If you'd like information on planning your own private workshop, drop me a line.

Day 1 brought us through Artists Drive, which is a short one-way tour through a section of the Amargosa Mountains that is stained with colors from various mineral deposits in the rock. Truthfully, this area is tough to photograph because the colors are pretty faint pastels. In midday, the light is harsh and washes out the colors. At sunset, the yellow light blends all the colors together. Great clouds, though. That being said, we did the best we could with what we had.

Artists Drive in Death Valley National Park, CA

Artists Drive in Death Valley National Park, CA

Artists Drive in Death Valley National Park, CA

Artists Drive in Death Valley National Park, CA

The real fun came from the salt flats at sunset. The polygonal shapes of this dry lakebed is unlike anything else on earth. I've been to the salt flats twice in my life and being out there is truly the most surreal experience I've ever had. It's a truly magical place.

Salt Flats at sunset in Death Valley National Park, CA

Salt Flats at sunset in Death Valley National Park, CA

Salt Flats at sunset in Death Valley National Park, CA

Salt Flats at sunset in Death Valley National Park, CA

Salt Flats at sunset in Death Valley National Park, CA

Stay tuned for Part 2!

Video From Death Valley Trip

If you're a regular here at my blog, you may remember this post from back in November detailing my trip to The Racetrack in Death Valley National Park. Well during that trip, my friend documented our journey using a GoPro HD Camera and compiled the footage into an awesome short film. Check it out!

[vimeo width="550" height="309"]http://vimeo.com/39350321[/vimeo]

Keys View in Joshua Tree National Park

It was my birthday this past Monday (the big two-five) and to celebrate, I took a day off from work and went out to Joshua Tree National Park to off-road, enjoy the change of scenery and get some photos.

The weather was rough with lots of cloud cover, some rain, some hail and strong winds. So, the light wasn't exactly phenomenal, which made getting decent photos pretty much impossible. Gray skies over the desert just don't make for great shots. But I still managed to check out Keys View, which is a high point in the Little San Bernardino Mountains that overlooks the desert cities below.

The view was gorgeous, the temperature was just above freezing and the wind was biting. Here's what I got:

Keys View in Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Keys View in Joshua Tree National Park, CA

Due to the heavy cloud cover, the sunset was basically non-existent, so I didn't get any sunset photos. But the real fun came on the drive home along the 10 Freeway.

As I drove along the 10, the heavy rains turned in to snow right around Banning, CA. For those unfamiliar with the area, Banning is a desert city at only about 2400 feet above sea level. Snow is not a common occurrence here, to say the least.

I love me some snow...and I really love me some snow when it's coming down in areas with palm trees and cactus. So, I pulled off the freeway to get some video and photos of the unusual weather. Unfortunately, it was completely dark by this point and Banning isn't exactly...how do you say this...uh, scenic. I did the best I could with what I had, but the photos from Banning won't be anything I hang on my walls. Still, though, it was fun getting some pictures of palm tress covered in snow.

Snow on Palm Trees in Banning, CA

Snow on Palm Trees in Banning, CA

And here's a quick video of the snowfall taken from my iPhone.

[vimeo width="550" height="309"]http://vimeo.com/37772834[/vimeo]

All in all, the trip and the freak weather made for a fun, memorable b-day.