Salton Sea – Bombay Beach

Bombay Beach, Salton Sea, California panoramic stock travel photography

Bombay Beach, Salton Sea, California.

Bombay Beach, Salton Sea, California stock travel image

Bombay Beach, Salton Sea, California stock travel photos

Alabama Hills – California

Mobius arch at Alabama Hills, near Lone Pine, California

Mobius arch, Alabama Hills, Owen’s Valley, California

I think one of the coolest things about the Alabama Hills is that no matter how many times one has been there, there is always something new to photograph.  Be it exploring some new area, different weather, or different time of year. The hills and mountains are always changing.  One of the reasons it is one of my favorite places to go.

Granite rock formations of Alabama Hills with Lone Pine peak and Sierra Nevada mountains in background, California

Granite rock formations of Alabama Hills Sierra Nevada mountains in background, California

Lone Pine Peak

Lone Pine peak and Sierra Nevada mountains panoramic image

Lone Pine peak in dawn light, Sierra Nevada Mountains, California.

Mount Whitney Sunrise

Mt. Whitney and Sierra Nevada mountains, California panoramic landscape photo

Winter sunrise over mount Whitney and the Sierra Nevada mountains as seen from the Alabama Hills, California.

This is a location that is better photographed in winter/early spring.  Besides it not being 110˚ F as it can be in summer.  The main reason is that the winter sun rises further towards the south, which creates better patterns of shadow and light on the mountain ridges than occur in summer.  And then there’s always something nice about the day’s first light on freshly fallen snow.  I find in summer this scene can also appear slightly ‘tired’ and dry, for lack of a better description.

Racetrack Playa – Death Valley

rare winter water fill dry lakebed of devils racetrack playa - death valley, california

Winter rains flood the playa at the southern end of the Devil’s Racetrack, Death Valley, California.  February 25-25, 2010

Prior to this recent trip I’d only twice been to Death Valley national park.  And on those two previous trips I was only in the ‘valley’ itself and not any of the more wild areas only accessible by dirt roads.  Based upon my prior trips, I had a total lack of understanding of the true size of the park, which in fact the largest US national park outside of Alaska.  Somehow looking at distance numbers on a map, 17 miles here, 27 miles there, doesn’t always properly translate to the true length of the journey.  Especially when it is on some of the most bone jarring, bolt loosening, tire shredding, knocking-cooler-over-and-spilling-water-all-over-my-bed, wash-boarded dirt roads I have ever driven.  You know the roads, the ones that are so full of stutter bumps that you have two choices:  Drive 5mph and arrive sometime in the next millennium or drive 50mph to ‘skim’ over the bumps while totally destroying your tires.   I really don’t know what is worse those though.  Being subjected to endless bumps for hours on end, but knowing that it’s not as bad as it feels and you should eventually arrive.  As opposed to just going for it to get it over with in a shorter amount of time with the constant clatter of rocks flying loose inside the wheel wells and then just holding your breath as you see some large washout appear that there is no way to slowdown for.   So driving nearly 70 miles of this in one day from the Eureka dunes in the far north of the park down to the Racetrack playa was a long day that I don’t look forward to repeating anytime soon, or at least not with my truck.  If someone else wants to drive, I’d be happy go along.

rare winter water fill dry lakebed of devils racetrack playa - death valley, california. February 2010

Normally the lake bed playa is totally bone dry, but some years in winter, a small lake will appear towards the southern end.  This is also the location of the moving rocks for which the Racetrack is most famous for.  Unfortunately the water and mud meant I couldn’t get near them, so I guess I do have to go back again.  Though I think it was interesting to see this somewhat rare event.

Dry mud patterns in devils racetrack playa dry lakebed, death valley, California

landscape photography, devils racetrack playa, death valley, california

Dry mud patterns in devils racetrack playa dry lakebed, death valley, California

travel and landscape photographer Cody Duncan stands on dry lake bed at Racetrack playa, Death Valley, California

Footprints Everywhere! Wanderings Among the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes – Death Valley

Panoramic landscape photo - Mesquite flat sand dunes, Death Valley, California

Mesquite Flat sand dunes, Death Valley national park, California.

It was a frustrating exercise in futility wandering among the dunes, in search of the Dune that I had in my mind.  The Dune with that perfectly sculpted ridge, gently rounded and allowing the late afternoon shadows to gently fall across.  The untouched patterns of a thousand years of wind blown into the sand, like a sea of snakes racing into the distance.  The Dune, rising alone into the sky above all others, casting ever growing shadows as the sun determines the day has been long enough.

Judging by the amount of footprints, half the world must also be searching for that perfect dune.  I wandered for miles and hours.  In straight lines, circles, and zigzags.  To the tops of the highest dunes and into the lowest valleys.  North, south, east, west, and at one point, clear across the whole of the dunes.  My water bottle empty, mouth dry, I still wandered.  And everywhere, footprints!

It’s mostly my fault though.  The Mesquite dunes are right on the side of the road in a fairly popular national park, so what should I expect other than that lots of people walk among them. If  I was in some middle of nowhere place in north Africa and experienced the same, then I would be a bit more frustrated.  And winter is the best time in Death Valley as the temperatures are tolerable.  This year especially, with higher than average rain has probably drawn more people to the park to see the normally dry lakes not dry.

California landscape photography - Mesquite flat sand dunes, Death Valley national park

Panoramic landscape photo - Mesquite flat sand dunes, Death Valley, California

California travel photographer Cody Duncan - Self portrait on sand dunes in Death Valley

Badwater Rain – Death Valley

panoramic landscape photography - Rainclouds over Badwater Basin, Death Valley, California. February 27, 2010

A stormy morning at Badwater basin in Death Valley national park, California.  At 282 feet below sea level, Badwater is the lowest place in the North America.  Normally the lake bed is bone dry with 1.9 inches of average annual rainfall in the valley, but this year has been an above average rain year so there is a fair bid of water flooding the basin at the moment.  In this photo though it actually looks dry due to the fact that the wind was quite strong and litterally ‘pushed’ the water away, while on the previous day this area had been submerged.

Two Vertically shifted photos from Nikon 24mm tilt-shift lends for the vertical panorama.

Kungsleden Photo Gallery

Kungsleden mountain landscape, Singi, Lapland, Sweden

Kungsleden photo gallery: Click here

I’ve created a image gallery from my hike on the northern section of the Kungsleden trail in Swedish Lapland.  Weather was pretty bad – Sept 17 was the first day I was snowed on – so most of the pictures are of clouds.  When I go back again one of these years, I think I would like to be there for the beginning of September.  Though I was told that the autumn/winter came early last year and that it was colder than normal, so maybe I just had a bit of bad luck.  Still, it’s an amazing place so I would not complain about going back and wandering around for a few weeks.

Panoramic landscape stock photography: Mountain landscape, Kungsleden, Lapland, Sweden

Outdoor lifestyle photo - Solo hiker on Kungsleden trail, Lapland, Sweden

Brecon Beacons Winter Photo Gallery

Pen Y Fan at dawn winter snow, Brecon Beacons, Wales

Brecon Beacons December 2009 photo gallery

I’ve uploaded about 40 new photos so far from the mountains after the snow in December.  I made a few trips up Corn Du and Pen Y Fan and once up Fan Fawr.  Recently added photos appear at the top of the gallery, which I’ll still be adding to during the next weeks as I get more photos processed.  There’s also a few old photos from 2006, you can tell which ones they are as there’s no snow.

Fan Fawr with winter snow, Brecon Beacons national park, Wales

Claerwen Reservoir Dam – Elan Valley, Wales

Panoramic photo: Claerwen Dam, Elan Valley, Wales

Water overflow after heavy rains, Claerwen Reservoir dam, Elan Valley, Wales