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1 day photographer itinerary

Seattle, Washington
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1 day photographer itinerary

Need help. I will be in Vegas for a conference starting this weekend and have all day Sunday to get my photos. Please suggest best times of day and locations for fantastic shot opportunities. I arrive on Saturday so could also spend 1/2 day then, but have to stay in Vegas, so would it be worth all the driving to do both days?

What do you think of:

Dante's View - get lay of and and panorama shots

Zabriskie Point

Furnace Creek

Salt Creek

Devil's Cornfield

Mesquite Flat Dunes - are the dunes viewable from the car or is a hike needed? Is this the best spot for dunes?

Badwater for. 30 min walk

Artists Palette - don't know what to expect here?

Golden Canyon

Dante's View return for sunset?

I borrowed from earlier posts (thanks) but don't have a sense for time To get from place to place and light.twilight?..

I know it's lots of car time but no way to avoid that. Thanks in advance for any suggestions.

Uden, The...
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1. Re: 1 day photographer itinerary

Hi

You can do this in one day if you start early from Las Vegas. The order of places you've planned is good. You can see the dunes from the parkinglot. Devils cornfield is at the other side of the road. On your way to Badwater is a short sideroad to Devils Golf Course. On the way back you can drive via Twenty Mule team canyon.

Stoke on Trent...
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2. Re: 1 day photographer itinerary

Hello Mary V. If you are a keen photographer you will no doubt favour the beginning and end of the day for the best light. Unfortunately it just isn't possible to visit all of the locations at that time in one day :-)

To travel to DV for ½ day on the Sat and return to Vegas would be a lot of driving. Is there not a possibility of staying over? If you don't have an option but to stay in Vegas on Sat and you don't want to sightsee there, then the Valley of Fire would make a good half day trip, staying for sunset.

Back to photo opps in DV though. I haven't been to Dantes view, though I understand it is gorgeous and one photographer recommended late afternoon / sunset for there being better than dawn. A lot depends on your style of photography and whether you like to take your time, doing fewer places more thoroughly rather than rushing to see them all.

One possibility could be to leave Vegas really early to get to Zabriski Point for dawn (wonderful). You could then go to Badwater and walk out onto the salt flats to see the shapes in the salt. You will need to walk out for at least 20mins so make sure you have adequate sun protection and water.

The Devils Golf Course isn't far off the road on your way back up Badwater Rd to Furnace Creek (breakfast?). You will now have lost the good light but you could head for Stovepipe Wells and the Dunes visiting Salt Creek and the Devils Cornfield on the way. The Dunes are lovely but you really need to be on them for the golden light at either end of the day. You will be looking at a good 20 min walk to get away from the footprints. The heat may be an issue if you want to do this.Take a look at the help I got on this forum - www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php… If you read through, one poster gives the coordinates for going onto the dunes (away from the parking lot). It may be worth having a look to get the feel of the place ready for your next visit :-)

You could then head back past Furnace Creek and do Artists Drive in the later part of the afternoon, leaving early enough to get to Dantes View for sunset. Artists drive is lovely to see but I would imagine that you will find Dantes View more photogenic. It would be a full and tiring day but worth it.

You can have a look at …smugmug.com/MY-MOMENTS-IN-TIME/TRAVEL and you will see that I have two Death Valley galleries to give you some idea of what is where.

Good luck with your travels and let us know how you got on. I'm quite envious.

Edited: 05 April 2012, 16:07
Washington State
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3. Re: 1 day photographer itinerary

I'll echo blueaerodynamique's suggestion for a half day at Valley of Fire State Park. tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g28949-d10…

Napa, California
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4. Re: 1 day photographer itinerary

Hello Mary V,

I just got back from Death Valley and I was there specifically for photography. I'm still going through my images and will hopefully have my trip report done this weekend. My computer screen died and I could not do a "live report". However, all of that does not answer your questions. So....to answer your questions....

As stated above, it all depends on what your photo interests and level is. The best time to shoot Death Valley (or anywhere for that matter) is the golden hour at sunrise or sunset. I did not have a 4 wheel drive so did not consider other spots (on this first trip) which would be great like The Racetrack. Since I'm not sure what type of photography you are interested in, the below should help a bit. I spent numerous hours scouring these boards and this is what I came up with and where I went:

- Sunrise Spots: Sand Dunes, Zabriski Point, and Badwater. My favorite was the Sand Dunes. But yes, you do have to hike out to get into the dunes to get decent shots of them.

- Midday Spots: Artists Drive and Artists Palette. I went here four times at different parts of the day. I loved it.

- Sunset Spots: Badwater, Dantes View, Artists Drive, and Zabriski Point.

The above should help you narrow your choices with the short amount of time you have. Just remember that you will be driving a lot! I was only there for 3 1/2 days and it was not enough time. The other factors I had to consider was the best sunset was my first night there (Friday). Another photographer I met out there said that he was at Badwater and it was incredible. There were also 50mph winds all weekend long which did not help the view of the Valley floor (from Dantes View) or the sand dunes.

Hope this helps you a bit. Remember that time will go by fast with all the driving you will do and if you decide to hike anywhere like the sand dunes, Golden Canyon, or into Artist Palette. Let me know if you have any other questions. Good luck!

San Francisco
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5. Re: 1 day photographer itinerary

Plenty of fine ideas from everyone, almost no need for anything from me. :)

Due to the lay of the land, there are more photogenic sunset locations than sunrise. The Panamint range, the west wall of the Valley, is higher than the east wall (the Amargosa range (which includes the Grapevine, Funeral, and Black Mountains) and provides a dramatic backdrop as the sun goes down. So places like Dante's View, Zabriskie Point, even Hell's Gate, which is not that high but looks southwest down the Valley, are good for sunset.

Not that sunrises aren't gorgeous. Death Valley has no bad views. Maybe my favorite is the Sand Dunes. When the sun is low, the dunes and ripples make dramatic shadow patterns. Also true at sunset, but morning offers an extra treat. Many desert critters are active in the cooler nighttime, and they leave tracks in the sand that are best seen and photographed in the a.m. when they are fresh, before the wind picks up or people have been walking around. You can find prints from coyotes, kit foxes, birds, even beetles. The sand is very fine, and beetles that look like a big black olive with legs leave tracks that look like zippers. If you're lucky, you might see the trail of a sidewinder, a rattlesnake with a unique gait. Reptiles can’t regulate their body temperature, so the sidewinder protects itself by moving in looping motions like a Slinky toy, putting only small patches of skin on the ground at a time. The tracks look like a series of loose S curves. Often you’ll see a jumble of different tracks and disturbed sand, so you know someone caught dinner.

You do need to walk onto the dunes for the best views. People often park on the road shoulder, but the shortest walk is from a paved parking area a couple miles west of the Devil’s Cornfield. You’ll be maybe 150-200 yards from the dunes. This lot has a restroom but no other services, and like all parking areas at natural sites, no drinking water.

Salt Creek is a surprise to many DV newcomers. It’s a stream with lush vegetation growing where the water is saltier than the ocean. Taste the pickleweed that grows right along the bank (a succulent plant with clusters of bright green bud-like structures). You’ll see birds and lizards, and maybe pupfish, a lively, finger-size fish that lives only in this one place. There are half a dozen pupfish species around the region, but none can survive in each others’ habitat because each was trapped in a separate remnant of water as the Earth warmed up and became drier. The elevation, water salinity and other mineral content, air and water temps, plant life, and food sources are different at all of them. How many and how active depend on weather and water conditions. One of the most exciting sights in the desert is seeing them dart around the creek, trying to perpetuate the species before hot weather sends them into estivation, the summer equivalent of hibernation. The girls are silver and the boys silvery-blue. Even if you don’t see lots of fish, the creek itself is fascinating. There is a boardwalk with descriptive exhibits.

You could go to Artist’s Drive in mid-afternoon, before heading to wherever you want to see the sunset. The whole drive is colorful and scenic, with one hillside in particular (Artist’s Palette) intensely dyed by mineral oxides in the rock. You’ll see pink, purple, green, black, and more. The hillside faces west and the colors are more vivid when the sun is low (but not setting behind the Panamints). Artist’s Drive is one-way northbound, and limited to vehicles 25’ long or less because of the dips and curves. You could go there after Badwater if your timing will let you get to your sunset spot in time. (From the Artist’s Drive exit to Dante’s View or the Sand Dunes is 30-35 miles, and you won’t be going 65 mph, so give yourself maybe close to an hour travel time to be sure you don’t miss any of the beauty of the sunset).

Charlotte, North...
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6. Re: 1 day photographer itinerary

All great ideas.It is too hard to choose where to be for sunrise/sunset. all the posts have been awesome.We are going late June with 1 day jeep rental. The only problem is that I can't find a place to get milage/distance to estimate the drives in the park. I hope going at this time helps because we have more daylight in the jeep so we are not driving in the dark. (we do want to do the racetrack) We plan on 3 days.

Edited: 09 June 2012, 22:18
San Francisco
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7. Re: 1 day photographer itinerary

All mileages are rounded off.

SOUTH & EAST:

Las Vegas to Pahrump 65 miles.

Pahrump to Death Valley Junction 30 miles.

Death Valley Junction to park boundary 30 miles.

Dante’s View Road round trip 27 miles. OK to drive up there even before paying your park entrance fee, as long as you are headed toward a fee payment location with the intent of paying.

Dante’s junction to Zabriskie Point 8 miles.

Zabriskie Point to Badwater Road junction 4 miles.

Badwater Road to Badwater 16 miles. Down-and-back trip including Devil’s Golf Course, Badwater, Natural Bridge, Artist’s Drive, and Golden Canyon will be closer to 37-38 miles with the scenic ride on Artist’s Drive.

Badwater Road Junction to Furnace Creek Ranch and Visitor Center 1 mile.

Badwater Road from 190 junction to S park boundary 68 miles; to Shoshone 72 miles.

CENTRAL AND NORTH:

Furnace Creek to Salt Creek 15 miles; to Devil’s Cornfield 21 miles; to Sand Dunes 23 miles; to Stovepipe Wells Village 25 miles.

Furnace Creek to Rhyolite (via Beatty Cutoff) 45 miles.

Rhyolite to Beatty (food, gas, etc.) 6 miles.

Titus Canyon one-way road from just W of Rhyolite, 27 miles, usually hc and/or 4wd. End at the Castle Road 22 miles S of Scotty’s and 33 miles N of Furnace Creek.

Furnace Creek to Scotty’s Castle on Hwy 190 and Castle Road 55 miles.

Castle Road to Ubehebe Crater 5 miles; 28 miles farther to the Racetrack.

Stovepipe Wells to Scotty’s Castle 45 miles.

WEST:

Stovepipe Wells to Emigrant-Wildrose junction 9 miles; to Panamint Springs 30 miles; to Lone Pine and Mt. Whitney 85 miles.

Emigrant-Wildrose junction to Charcoal Kilns Road 22 miles; to Ballarat 44 miles.

UNPAVED SPUR ROADS:

Twenty Mule Team Canyon 3 miles.

Devil’s Golf Course 2 miles.

Mustard Canyon Road 1 mile.

Salt Creek Road to the boardwalk 1 mile.

Mosaic Canyon Road to trailhead 2 miles.

Skidoo Road to townsite 9 miles.

Aguereberry Point Road to Harrisburg and Eureka Mine 2 miles; to Aguereberry Point 8 miles.

Charcoal Kilns Road to kilns 8 miles.

Ballarat Road from Trona Road to townsite 2 miles (outside the park).

Edited: 09 June 2012, 23:50
Charlotte, North...
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8. Re: 1 day photographer itinerary

Wow! I can't thank you enough. I have been searching for this for a while and I really don't know exact distances from the map. This is a great tool for anyone to have, as the gps/phone may not work. I don't know what the overage is on the jeep rental, but I'd rather pay a little more than not go. This really helps with the planning . I think we can do Titus and the racetrack in one day by leaving early so we are not driving in the dark. It will be very helpful when gauging times without the jeep. (and hit the sunrise/sunset)

Once again I can't thank you enough ..the posts have really helped, and it's great to see the honesty in what can and can't be done, great reality check for an overachiever , needing to slow down and enjoy the view. (the heat will help with that too!) thanks again, Jeannine

Charlotte, North...
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9. Re: 1 day photographer itinerary

I also recomend going to Flickr and search death valley, and then specific points you want to photograph. Check the time the photo was taken, and the date for the light you are looking for. This has been one of the hardest trips to plan due to lighting and distances.3 days will not be enough, and I'm sure we will be back..

Uden, The...
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10. Re: 1 day photographer itinerary

I haver not done Titus and the racetrack in one day but a friend did and it took him a total of 9 hours with the rental jeep from Farabees starting at Furnace Creek and back. Titus first and the racetrack after that.

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