Death Valley, California, USA by John Brooks

Picture Story

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 is classed as the hottest place on earth so be prepared to be “cooked”!

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.

In exploring the area local to Stovepipe Wells and Shoshone, we took the route along the 127 highway to Tecopa then continuing to wards Baker which overlooks the Saddle Peak Hills and the sand dunes of the desert.

Having stopped at the shoulder of the highway the late afternoon light on the mountains revealed the amazing multi-colours of the mountain rock being purple, blues, mauves and black in striations along the length of the range. The immediate foreground of desert then gave way to the gentle curvilinear forms of sand dunes in the middle ground with the mountains behind. The dunes varied in height and length and colours which ranged from brown, to yellow, to cream, to almost white. The late afternoon shadows added the sense of scale of height to the scene along with a dramatic but gentle sky cloud formation going from white to blue to steel grey to compliment the colours of the landscape.

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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