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A trip to Los Angeles in California to attend an exhibition at the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art where my work was being exhibited was the perfect opportunity to explore the Death Valley area to the north and west of the city. This area had appealed to me ever since meeting another photographer whose work featured some images of the area.
Having rented a car in LA we allocated several days to explore Death Valley and the Mojave desert and after leaving LA stayed overnight at Ridgecrest then on to Stovepipe Wells which was central to Death Valley.
The route we took required the ascent of two mountain passes with some amazing views but the occasional terrifying drops at the roadside. After Stovepipe Wells and some local exploration we moved on and stayed at a tiny village at Shoshone which was very basic and unspoilt with a great bar and eatery, shop, museum and great views. The next leg of the trip was to go via the CA127 to Baker then the interstate and visit the ghost town at Calico and on to Barstow before returning to LA.
The CA127 is a small highway through San Bernadino county with vistas either side of desert and mountains in the distance and when we had not got too far a dust storm in the distance at the base of the mountains presented itself. The image presented itself with a dramatic sky above the mountains with the dust storm swirling around the base and with desert sand and sparse shrubs in the foreground which led into the picture. The colours and textures were perfect. The light was very intense and bright requiring a high shutter speed and medium aperture to capture the moving dust storm while also achieving a depth of field to get both close foreground and horizon in focus.
It was obviously very hot but well worth it and a visit is thoroughly recommended but do your research first and plan the trip carefully as it certainly is a very hostile environment. Make sure that you rent a vehicle with good air-conditioning and good brakes as they are essential through the very steep passes.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor