Observer

A few days ago I was taking a photo of chairs in a park behind an office building. While trying to find an interesting pattern in the seemingly random location of the chairs I had an interesting thought. There might be photographers who’d come to a scene like this one and rearrange it in the way it is appealing. I on the other hand just looking at it, from different angles, from different point of views, trying to read its stories the way they are.

I do the same while photographing a landscape. I never rearrange a scene, moving only my camera trying to find an interesting picture. I appreciate the scene for what it is, for what it tells me. I just need to be a willing listener.

At the trip to the Death Valley last December I visited Racetrack Playa for the first time. I’ve dreamt about visiting this place for so long, about seeing its sailing stones – stones moving across playa leaving tracks in clay that covers the playa.

With dismay I discovered that the place is mostly ruined by the visitors. There were a lot of tracks with stones stolen from them. Some tracks had stones that clearly did not belong there. In addition there were signs of vandalism: tracks left by motocycle and truck tires. It took nature many years to create this unique place. It took humans just a few years to ruin it.

Death Valley Trip Wrap-up

Finally, I’ve published all my notes from Death Valley trip. I’m glad I’m done. Now I can move on to all the images that I’ve already captured after the trip to Death Valley.

Here are some final thoughts on things I’d do different on a trip to Death Valley.

I’d go to Death Valley in November-February. The sun stays lower thru the day, sunsets and sunrises are longer, and there is more time for night photography and sleep. The reason I went this end of March was because a few years back there were a lot of wild flowers blooming at about the same time. But it was an unusual year with more rains than normal. That happens only once in lifetime.

I’d take at least one tilt-shift lens to get sharpness through the scene while photographing dunes and canyons without locking aperture all the way down.

I’d drive to Eureka Dunes from Big Pine, it is much easier and safer road (could be faster too).

I’d rent a smaller car to travel to Death Valley and to get around and I’d rent a car with heavy duty tires in Death Valley to go to Race Track. Having big car is not helpful. Heaving heavy duty tires or couple full size spares is what is really needed.