Tuesday, November 24, 2009

In A Sea Of Dunes

In A Sea Of Dunes, originally uploaded by Jeff Sullivan.

Another day, another playground made of sand. A playground for kids (young and old), a playground for photographers. Let the play begin!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mesquite Flat Dunes

Mesquite Flat Dunes, originally uploaded by Jeff Sullivan.

The extensive dune field near Stovepipe Wells is by far the most heavily visited sand dune complex within Death Valley National Park, but even here you can find great views within a few short steps of the parking lot.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Return to Death Valley

Walking The Ridgeline, originally uploaded by Jeff Sullivan.

The last time I took my kids to Death Valley, we had a list of places we wanted to visit, so although we had a blast on the Eureka Dunes, we had to leave before we reached the top so we could make it to The Racetrack in time for sunset.

This time we had no such agenda, so we took our sweet time wherever we went, and thoroughly enjoyed each stop. I've been to the Eureka Dunes several times, and I've captured some nice landscape images, but I really like capturing people on the dunes. We're really small in comparison, and even our footprints are nothing more than temporary intrusions. The dunes themselves often take on sinuous shapes, and the lighting of the sun can enhance our perception of the subtle curves.

The forgiving nature of the soft sand also invites playful interaction via rolling, jumping, rolling and sliding across it. The Eureka Dunes are closed to skiing and sand boarding due to several endangered species that exist only on this one dune field, but I'll definitely consider taking old ski gear with me to the other dunes in Death Valley. Life too short to avoid playing with gravity!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Quick Stop in Death Valley

Zig Zag, originally uploaded by Jeff Sullivan.

One of the things I like about traveling to Utah is that I get to pass through the Eastern Sierra and Death Valley on my way out and/or back! In this case I visited a few spots to re-take some old shots with my new camera.

Dune fields in particular can be exciting to re-shoot. Not only do the dunes themselves change, but the light changes literally from minute to minute, so not only are your shots new compared to the last visit, but you'll get entirely different results at different times of day.

It's particularly rewarding to shoot dunes in Death Valley, where a little sweat equity will get you to remote sands untouched by human footprints. Just make sure that you visit at a time of year when the weather will be mild, and that you bring survival supplies, particularly plenty of water. They don't call it "Death Valley' for nothing!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Monument Valley, Eastern Approach

The popular shot taken from mile marker 13.

Snow Arrives in Arches

What a difference a day makes! Arches National Park, Moab, Utah.

Clouds, Light Rays, and Sandstone

Sandstone Fins, originally uploaded by Jeff Sullivan (in Utah).

Partly couldy days can create some spectacular shooting opportunities at Arches National Park.

Ever Get That Feeling...

That you're being watched?

Light painting on Balanced Rock at dusk in Arches National Park, Moab, Utah. I like to use flashlights for light painting, since I can control in real time the beam of light and what is lit. For larger objects such as this I use a spotlight.

On another night we went up to Delicate Arch...

Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Sunrise at Mesa Arch, one of the most popular dawn shots available at Canyonlands.

Goblin Valley State Park, Utah

Doesn't it look like a massive collection of terra cotta lawn gnomes?

Waterpocket Fold and Capitol Reef

Waterpocket Fold, originally uploaded by Jeff Sullivan (in Utah).

This is one of the water pockets...

Capitol Reef National Park, Utah.

Bonneville Salt Flats Dawn

Now I need to wash off the salt slush caked onto my car!

Off to Utah...

Nevada Forest, originally uploaded by Jeff Sullivan (in Utah).

This is what you see for about 8-10 hours crossing Nevada.