Events & Trips


March 16-23, 2020 - DEATH VALLEY SPRING & NEVADA GHOST TOWN WORKSHOP

WITH JEFF SULLIVAN PHOTOGRAPHY 
for PSA Individual Members only


Contact: ✉ hq@psa-photo.org with questions on registration. Contact ✉ John M. Davis, Jr., HonPSA, MPSA· with questions on workshop details


Led by Jeff Sullivan and Lori Hibbett, PSA Representatives: J.R. Schnelzer, APSA, EPSA, AFIAP· and John M. Davis, Jr., HonPSA, MPSA·


Availability: 
10 Participants, 2 Available, 0 on Waiting List
Registration opens: January 27 at 11:00am, US Eastern Time

Registration: 
 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 


Select links, below, to reveal or hide its information. To see all available information, choose "Show all."

    Show All / Hide All
  • Registration and Cost
    Costs:  

    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. 


     
    REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN.

    Registration begins at 11:00am US Eastern Time on January 27, 2020.  Seats for the trip may fill up quickly. If you try to register after the seats are filled, you can ask to be put on the waiting list. If there is a cancellation, contact will be made with the person at the top of the waiting list. Once you have completed the registration form, you will be sent a link to make a credit card only payment. Your registration with PSA will then be confirmed to you.

    CANCELLATION FEE, TRAVEL INSURANCE
     
    If the Tour Operator receives written notification of cancellation of your participation to myphotoguides@gmail.com more than 20 days prior to March 15, you will receive a full refund of the Tour Operator’s fee, a 50% refund if notice is received between 10 and 20 days prior to March 15, and no refund less than 10 days before March 15; if there is a substituted participant, such as from the waiting list, you will receive a full refund.  It is recommended that you consider travel insurance as a way to deal with travel, medical, or other issues related to cancellation.  Trip cancellation by the Tour Operator (Great Basin School of Photography LLC), while unlikely, isn’t impossible due to natural disaster, unforeseen permit or insurance issues or medical issues.  In such a case, your Tour Operator’s fee will be fully refunded.  Neither Tour Operator nor PSA will be responsible for reimbursement of participant travel costs such as airline tickets.  


    Download, print, sign and date the:
    » PSA Release and Indemnity Agreement: pdf and
    the Great Basin School of Photography LLC dba Jeff Sullivan Photography Acknowledgement of Risk - pdf.

    These both must be completed and sent back electronically to hq@psa-photo.org and mailed to John Davis, P.O. Box 4511, South Colby, WA 98384.


    If a PSA member wishes to bring a family member or friend, that person will first need to register as a PSA member. An adult inside the US, Canada or Mexico can join for $45 for a digital membership. We welcome them to the Photographic Society of America!
  • Workshop Itinerary

    Optional arrival day – Sunday March 15

    Day One – Monday March 16

    • Meet 2:30 pm at Best Western McCarran (702) 798-5530, Las Vegas, Nevada  (specific spot to be determined)
    • Drive-in participants: parking available for the duration of the workshop at $8.99/day
    • Departure 3 p.m. for lodging at Tecopa Hot Springs Resort(760) 852-4420, Tecopa, California (1 night)
    • Dinner in Tecopa
    • Sunset shoot

    Day Two - Tuesday, March 17

    • Sunrise & golden hour sand dunes/wildflowers in Death Valley NP
    • Portable breakfast items & drinks
    • Check out from Tecopa Hot Springs
    • Lunch in Shoshone or Furnace Creek
    • Visit various locations in Death Valley en route to Beatty
    • Check into lodging in Beatty, NV: Motel 6, (800) 899-9841, Beatty, Nevada (4 nights)
    • Dinner at the VFW Beatty Post in Beatty
    • Sunset and/or night photography at Goldwell Open Air Art Museum

    Day Three – Wednesday , March 18

    • Depart Beatty 5:15 am to shoot 6:55 am sunrise & golden hour, Zabriskie Point
    • Breakfast 8:45 am Inn at the Oasis, Furnace Creek
    • Meals on the road

    Day Four – Thursday, March 19

    • Depart Beatty 5:20 am to shoot sunrise & Golden Hour 6:55 am Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
    • Breakfast in Stovepipe Wells
    • Visit various locations in Death Valley
    • Meals on the road

    Day Five – Friday, March 20

    • Depart Beatty 5:00 am to shoot sunrise & Golden Hour 6:55 am Badwater salt flats
    • Lodging in Beatty NV
    • Visit various locations in Death Valley
    • Meals on the road

    Day Six – Saturday, March 21

    • Breakfast in Beatty (Denny's adjacent to hotel)
    • Grab sandwiches in Beatty (Subway adjacent to hotel)
    • Check out of hotel and drive to Tonopah NV
    • Explore area on the way to Hotel
    • Check into hotel in Tonopah  Mizpah Hotel or adjacent Old Brewery Hostel, (775) 482.3030  Tonopah NV (2 nights)
    • Meet for dinner
    • Dinner in Tonopah
    • Sunset and/or night photography in Tonopah area

    Day Seven – Sunday, March 22

    • Breakfast in Tonopah
    • Explore Goldfield Nevada
    • Tour miscellaneous historic sites: mine, rail yard, etc.
    • Lunch in Goldfield
    • Dinner in Tonopah
    • Night photography in Tonopah/Goldfield area

    Day Eight – Monday, March 23

    • Breakfast 7 am in hotel
    • Check out & depart at 8 am for Las Vegas – approximate drive time is just under four hours. Expect to arrive in Vegas around noon,  "Best Western McCarran" (702)798-5530, Las Vegas, Nevada  
    • Optional overnight rate negotiated.
      or Shuttle to airport to catch flights.
  • Additional Information and Questions

    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.