Death Valley

Winter rain clouds over Badwater and mountains, Death Valley national park, California

Photo: Winter rain falls over Badwater, Death Valley national park, California

The full moon and forecast of rain saw me heading out of town for the deserts of Death Valley national park.  I figured it would also be a good place to contemplate turning 30.  Though the weather didn’t work out quite as planned. Wind gust to 50-60 mph and Sahara like dust storms – basically dust just everywhere.  Have I mentioned I hate dust! – meant it wasn’t the most productive trip.

Most the time was spent sitting in the back of my truck.  I tried to be somewhat productive and start the writing on a project I’ve been working procrastinating on.  Didn’t go so well, just basically stared at a mostly blank page until my laptop battery finally died.  Saved!  I’m glad I never took it upon myself to be a writer of any sort, would’ve been an even more unsuccessful pursuit than photography.

Cooked dinner inside my camper shell as the light faded, reading the instructions on my stove specifically saying not to cook inside.  Are my windows open enough?  What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?  Ack, my instant noodle soup’s boiling over onto my bed!  At least I managed to go the whole week without spilling the melt water of my cooler all over my bed, usually a common occurrence. Luck was definitely on my side this time!

This was only my second time to visit the Eureka dunes, located in the isolated northern park of national park and only reached by dirt road.  On my first visit the weather was bad so I didn’t take any photos.  Had slightly better conditions this time, but still not ideal.  The dunes are best photographed at sunset, but by late afternoon clouds would fill the sky before the sun was low enough to the horizon.  At sunrise, mountains to the east block the sun for the first hour after sunrise, so by the time the dunes are lit, the sun is already fairly high in the sky.  Hopefully I’ll make another visit next month.

The blog will still be a bit slow for the next month.  Still trying to catch up on things and get organized with other projects.  I’m going to start posting some sort of ‘series’ of content so that I can try and keep things a bit more regular.  Will probably be something related to the Lofoten Islands, maybe just a single photo some behind the scenes info or whatnot.  I’ll see…

Eureka Dunes Death Valley

Photo: Eureka dunes rise into the desert sky, Death Valley national park, California

Eureka Dunes Death Valley

Photo: Self portrait of view from Eureka dunes, Death Valley national park, California


san simeon pier

Photo: Sunset over San Simeon Pier, California. February 5, 2011

I’ve been back in California for two weeks now, trying to get adjusted to life back over here.  I’ve been pretty busy with several photo shoot in the last week, but they are for other things not related to travel or landscape photography, that’s why it will be a bit quite here for a little bit more.

The weather here in Santa Barbara has been amazing.  After so many months in the UK, I had almost forgotten what a nice sunny day was.  And to be able to go outside in a t-shirt, I don’t think I’d done that since last August!  I’ve always said that the winters in California are often better than the summers.  Or to put it more specifically, there’s no fog in winter, so the average day is often better.  Now I just have to avoid getting too sunburt.

Over the past weekend, I did take one short trip up to San Simeon to photograph the northern elephant seals on the beach up there.  Got some pretty good photos which I’ll post sometime soon.

Trying to put together a more regular travel schedule for the next few months, with the hopes of spending at least 1 week per month out shooting.  Next week I’m off to Death Valley.  March will find me down in San Felipe, Mexico for the Baja 250, then again out in Death Valley and perhaps Mojave national preserve as I really like the Kelso dunes and I need to explore that area a bit more.  I’m also trying to put a trip together to go out the the Channel Islands off the coast here.  I’ve looked at them across the sea most of my life, yet have never been there.  A bit pathetic I think!