Led by Jeff Sullivan and Lori Hibbett, PSA Representatives: J.R. Schnelzer, APSA, EPSA, AFIAP· and John M. Davis, Jr., HonPSA, MPSA·
10 Participants, 2 Available, 0 on Waiting List
Registration opens: January 27 at 11:00am, US Eastern Time
Register for this trip - REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN.
We'll explore Death Valley's sand dunes, salt flats, eroded badlands, and spectacular vistas. It also has sites with a rich history of gold, talc and borax mining. Nevada's dramatic basin & range landscape is sprinkled with gold mining boom towns that grew as large as 20,000 people. Now many are "ghost towns" with 200 residents or less, but historic buildings, cars and artifacts remain. Nevada residents Jeff and Lori explored Death Valley extensively for Jeff's guide book "Photographing California Vol.2 - South," and for dozens of landscape and night photography workshops.
Covering ecosystems from below seal level to 7500 feet, temperatures may range from below freezing to high 90s. In the California desert and Nevada high desert, spectacular photogenic variable weather is possible, with wind, rain and even snow.
Some of the best locations may be a mile each way from the vehicles. Your physical and medical fitness for the trip, and your preparation for the workshop, should be a part of your decision to participate. Safety is our priority. All transportation will be in large SUVs. No private vehicles will be used or authorized.
Pictured right: Lori Hibbett and Jeff Sullivan
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The total package cost for the workshop is $1774.00 which includes all trip costs beginning in Las Vegas, Nevada, except for motel and meal costs. Participants are responsible for their own travel to and from the workshop. The PSA participation fee is included in this amount.
Optional arrival day – Sunday March 15
Day One – Monday March 16
Day Two - Tuesday, March 17
Day Three – Wednesday , March 18
Day Four – Thursday, March 19
Day Five – Friday, March 20
Day Six – Saturday, March 21
Day Seven – Sunday, March 22
Day Eight – Monday, March 23
At 3.4 million acres, Death Valley National Park is America's largest park outside Alaska. It includes spectacular geography and geology, with the often snow-capped 11,043-foot Telescope Peak looming over the exotic cracked and ridged salt flats of Badwater Basin at -282 feet elevation. Available to us are colorful rock deposits and eroded badlands, slot canyons, and several major sand dune complexes.
The lower elevations receive only 1.9 inches of rain per year, but Joshua tree forests thrive in middle elevations. For the 2019-20 season so far, recent Pacific Ocean heat seems to be sending a healthy amount of moisture our way, with at least two storm systems that have contributed to water collecting in Badwater Basin for the past five weeks. Plants including wildflowers seem to be responding well to the soil moisture. Based on assessments from mid-December and early January, I'm currently optimistic about having an above average wildflower season, if not a full blown "super bloom" in certain areas. We're likely to find "desert gold" wild sunflowers, sand verbena, golden evening primrose, desert dandelions, and many more.
The Park's subjects of photographic interest also include historic sites related to borax, talc and gold mining. To expand upon this we'll spend a couple of nights at the end exploring some of Central Nevada's historical mining towns.
Most of Death Valley's roads are unpaved, so to access the best locations we'll be transporting our group in comfortable, large, high clearance 4WD vehicles.
We’ve been exploring some amazing landscapes, historic towns and mines in Nevada for the past decade, and we’ve worked out the logistics of providing lodging-based trip to show you some of the coolest site and subjects.
What types of photography will we pursue?
Death Valley will primarily offer landscape photography, Nevada mainly historic sites, cars, and artifacts, plus a some large art installations. Our emphasis will be to explore the best scenes at sunrise, sunset, and during golden hours, but we can also consider doing some night photography such as light painting and star trails. If there's sufficient interest, we may even pursue the galactic center of the Milky Way in the sky before sunrise (before astronomical twilight starts at 5:20 am).
Who This Workshop Is Best Suited For
This trip is intended for avid intermediate to advanced photographers. To maximize our pursuit of photography, we may compromise on meal times to be shooting in the best light, or pick up portable meals (such as Subway sandwiches) to access a more remote location.
The vast majority of Death Valley National Park is wilderness (91%), and the best photography vistas, subjects and foreground textures are not located immediately adjacent to the roads and parking lots. The walk to optimal locations will sometimes be about a mile, so with a little exploration, your sunrise or sunset exploration may show up on your smartphone activity tracking app as 2-3 miles. Average in a lower walking location like Zabriskie Point (a 1/4 mile climb up a steep paved path), and the total daily mileage may be 3-5 miles. We'll do what we can to accommodate everyone, but we only have two vehicles, so we can only divide the group in equal halves, so for a given site such as Mesquite Flat sand dunes, the two groups will likely be divided into moderate and higher activity levels. For our December workshop, both groups logged an average of close to 10,000 steps per day. Many of the walks are fairly level, but occur on uneven cross-country terrain such as rocks and gravel, rock salt with solid raised ridges, or sand dunes.
Gear and Clothing
The best photography can occur before sunrise after sunset, and at night, so modern DSLR and mirrorless cameras are appropriate, and tripods are essential. March temperatures average 55 low and 82 high in Death Valley, but may range up to 99 degrees. Elevations may range up to 6900 feet in Death Valley and 5800-7500 feet in Nevada, where freezing temperatures are not uncommon at night and early in the morning. Layers of clothing will be needed, including warm parka, warm hat and gloves.