In June of 2017 my wife and I took a trip that was a big loop in central California, taking in several national parks and other scenic locations. However, there were a number of things that we could not do because some roads were still closed from the previous winter's snow. We decided to go back in the fall of the following year to pick up the things that we had missed, and to see some new ones.
One of those new places was Death Valley National Park, which is particularly dry, and rather by definition a difficult place for anything to live. We deliberately made it the last stop on the trip so that it would not be uncomfortably hot. There is a lot to see here, and we stayed for 3 nights.
On the first morning, I went out early to the Mesquite Sand Dunes. Climbing the dunes is a bit difficult, as your foot tends to slide down the slope almost as far as the length of your step. Eventually, you do make it up. After about an hour and a half of shooting the dunes, I turned back toward the car but chose a different route than the way I came out.
From a new dune crest, I noticed a white outcropping ahead of me. Approaching in a wide circle, I found the cracked patterns to be visually interesting and I set up low to the sand to take this shot. The distant mountains and the sky were a contrasting blue. It was beautiful, but not an easy place to survive for long. A couple small desert shrubs were the only living things to be seen.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor