There is Something about Death Valley

What a great time I had in Death Valley! I just returned from a trip there with my buddies Brian and Richard. My brother even joined us for several days. I also ran into several photographers who I know and made a couple of new friends along the way to top it off. It was awesome. After more trips to Death Valley than I can count, it was fun to be there with a couple of first-timers and to see the area through their eyes and to experience it through their senses. We went to many familiar places for me as well as some new ones, at least from a photographic perspective.

Each time I visit Death Valley, I fall more in love with it. The photographic opportunities there are endless. The diverse scenery satisfies just about any landscape photographer’s desires, including grand scenic views, intimate landscapes, and everything in between. And then there is night photography. There are very few places in the continental US that compare with the dark skies in Death Valley. Without a doubt, the night sky is the icing on the cake of any trip to Death Valley!

But there is a lot more to Death Valley than just photography. There is something about this place that I can’t quite explain with words or capture with images. Try as I might over the years, I now realize that it isn’t possible for me to convey this “something” about Death Valley. The best I can say is that there is a sense of oneness I find there. A sense of oneness with nature and a sense of oneness with the cosmos. I don’t know exactly why, but it is unique to Death Valley. Possibly, it has to do with the immense scale of the area. Death Valley is huge. If it were a state, it would rank as the 48th largest state ahead of Rhode Island, Delaware, and Connecticut. You can stand at places like Aguereberry Point or Dante’s View and see for hundreds of miles. Vistas like that are rare. Maybe, in my never-ending search to find myself, these vistas offer a view of the big picture and a chance to discover how I fit into it. Whatever the reason, I can tell you that I started going to Death Valley for the photography, but I keep going back for this “something.” I’ll leave it at that.

Here are a couple of images from the trip. One is from Dante’s View and the other from Aguereberry Point. The image from Aguereberry Point is looking directly into the sun, while the image from Dante’s View shows the salt playa of Badwater Basin complete with water from the recent rains. I hope the images convey some small sense of what I’m trying to describe. I know they won’t, so you’ll just have to go to Death Valley sometime yourself to see what I mean!

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