Death Valley; the mere words conjure up an image of a dry, desolate, barren and inhospitable place. Although this to a large extend holds true, it is also a place of indescribable beauty.
Located in the northern part of the Mojave Desert, Death Valley is the largest National Park in the USA within its 48 contiguous states. This vast area encompasses an incredibly varied topography: the lowest place in the USA is found here; at 282 feet (86 m) below sea level, Badwater Basin is the second-lowest point in the Western Hemisphere. Salt Flats, many different sand dune areas, and stunning side canyons are just some of the many options to visit and photograph. All of this is surrounded by soaring mountain ranges, the highest of which is Telescope Peak, reaching an altitude of 11,049 ft / 3,368m. These majestic mountains offer a dramatic backdrop to the Valley they surround.
Living in Phoenix, Arizona, puts me at a manageable driving distance of six to seven hours, and traveling by car makes it possible to bring all of the needed photography and camping equipment. With Death Valleys vastness, it is possible to find remote areas to camp in; this gives one the opportunity to immerse oneself fully into this rugged place, experience the sometimes swift and extreme changes in weather conditions, and getting a glimpse at its soul.
On this particular trip, I was fortunate to have this area all to myself, so the dunes were unmarred by footprints. It was a wonderful experience to freely move around the dunes, not worrying about other people, free to work this place from different angles. Eventually, this was the composition I settled on. The sun had already set; a long exposure allowed the twilight to work its magic, bathing the scene in this gorgeous light. Under most weather conditions, this is without a doubt one of the most photogenic places on the planet, and on this occasion, the storm clouds and the ongoing sand storm gave this image the final touch, adding a bit of drama to this already breathtaking moment in time.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor