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Author Topic: Death Valley location?  (Read 7103 times)
blueaerodynamique
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« on: May 05, 2011, 09:15:22 AM »
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I am hoping that someone can  help me. I'm going to Death Valley again in September and I'd like to visit the Dunes near Stovepipe Wells. I've seen a few shots where there is an area of dried cracked mud in the foreground and I was wondering how far into the dunes these areas are? Could anyone give me an idea of how to find them?
Due to my husband being a wheelchair user, I can't go wandering off for long, so I am hoping that I'll be able to reach them fairly easily.
Many thanks
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neile
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2011, 09:56:58 AM »
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Do you mean racetrack? Looks like this: http://www.danecreekphotography.com/dvalley.html?id=9.

Neil
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francois
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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2011, 10:13:46 AM »
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I am hoping that someone can  help me. I'm going to Death Valley again in September and I'd like to visit the Dunes near Stovepipe Wells. I've seen a few shots where there is an area of dried cracked mud in the foreground and I was wondering how far into the dunes these areas are? Could anyone give me an idea of how to find them?
Due to my husband being a wheelchair user, I can't go wandering off for long, so I am hoping that I'll be able to reach them fairly easily.
Many thanks
The dried mud patches are not that far into the Mesquite dunes. IIRC, I can't give you a distance but you should find the first ones around 800m (1/2 mi) from the road - maybe less.
That being said, I wouldn't let anybody sit in the car, even in September. The Stovepipe Wells village is nearby. It's a better place to wait.

Edit: looking at my old photos, it looks like it took me about 10 minutes to reach the first interesting ones. The time is takes depends on sand condition, heat, wind and of course your fitness level.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2011, 10:24:36 AM by francois » Logged

Francois
blueaerodynamique
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2011, 10:22:38 AM »
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It isn't the racetrack ( though I would love to go there!)
It is on the dunes next to Stovepipe Wells. I hope I haven't done the wrong thing in linking to someone elses website. I have seen these areas of cracked mud forming the foreground of photos and there were some spectacular black/white ones in our room when we stayed at Furnace Creek Ranch.

http://www.davevalvo.com/Landscapes/SouthWest-USA/Death-Valley/6546187_XBmgw#432788709_tby3U

Thanks
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blueaerodynamique
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2011, 10:24:33 AM »
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Thank you Francois. We have a room booked at SPW so I'll go early morning and leave him in bed :-) It still doesn't give me long though. Half a mile sounds ok.
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francois
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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2011, 10:26:40 AM »
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The place is wonderful but watch your clock and take water! It's easy to spend a lot of time in there without noticing.
Have a good trip.
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Francois
Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #6 on: May 05, 2011, 10:38:38 AM »
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The Racetrack is a long way from Stovepipe Wells.

If you enter the SW Dunes right where the sign is, you have to slog across a large number of linear dunes, which is very tiring and time-consuming. If I recall correctly, that sign is maybe about a half mile east of Stovepipe Wells Village, where the hotel and gas station are. A better entrance point to the dunes is from much nearer the village, I think about a quarter of a mile east of it. Here you cross a fairly level area with a lot of the dried mud patches, called "Playa", before you get to the dunes.

Do go early in the morning before there are too many footprints.

Yes, this is the Mesquite Dunes. Here is a snap of the cracked mud.

Eric
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francois
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« Reply #7 on: May 05, 2011, 10:47:11 AM »
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If you enter the SW Dunes right where the sign is, you have to slog across a large number of linear dunes, which is very tiring and time-consuming. If I recall correctly, that sign is maybe about a half mile east of Stovepipe Wells Village, where the hotel and gas station are. A better entrance point to the dunes is from much nearer the village, I think about a quarter of a mile east of it. Here you cross a fairly level area with a lot of the dried mud patches, called "Playa", before you get to the dunes.

Google Earth might be helpful to find the best way to enter the dunes area but I've heard that they built a new parking lot lately.

As far as I remember, Eric, your description is about correct.
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #8 on: May 05, 2011, 10:59:56 AM »
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I've just returned from Death Valley.  All of the above information and advice is accurate.  The new parking lot provides the easiest access for a first-time visit to the dunes and it's about a mile or so east of Stovepipe Wells.

If you arrive at the parking lot just before sunrise, you'll maximize your valuable time at this challenging, target-rich location.
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blueaerodynamique
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« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2011, 11:02:21 AM »
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Thank you Eric, this is most helpful. That's exactly what I am looking for. I plan to have a little scout around the day before then go for sunrise. Francois you are correct, it will be easy to forget time and stay longer than planned.
Thank you everyone for your help. We don't have long in DV and I don't want to waste it scouting for the areas I want. I'd love to see the Racetrack but it is too far for the time we have. Another time maybe.
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NashvilleMike
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« Reply #10 on: May 05, 2011, 12:45:53 PM »
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coming into this a bit late, but I offer this:

I've shot at DV the past 5 years, and work the dunes a lot.

Location wise: My (car) GPS has N 36.60482 x W 117.13067 as a spot along the road which is close to what I think is the easiest/best access to the dunes - as others have stated, this is not the parking lot / typical tourist entry point to the dunes, but rather a spot off the road in between stovepipe wells village and said parking lot - it's a LOT easier to head into the dunes from this approach than it is from the lot. It's still a 20+ minute walk to the dunes though.

That being said, every time I go, I choose a slightly different entry point and approach angle as the compositions are quite varied.

Good luck, great place to shoot.

-m
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blueaerodynamique
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« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2011, 03:21:18 PM »
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Many thanks to all who have replied, I am most grateful. Nashville Mike, thank you for the coordinates, I will use them to fine tune my approach to the dunes. A 20 minute walk (40 minute return trip) is doable for me if I leave hubby in bed. I am getting so excited about the trip now. I'll report back afterwards and let you know how I got on.
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Paul Sumi
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« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2011, 03:23:45 PM »
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Location wise: My (car) GPS has N 36.60482 x W 117.13067 as a spot along the road which is close to what I think is the easiest/best access to the dunes - as others have stated, this is not the parking lot / typical tourist entry point to the dunes, but rather a spot off the road in between stovepipe wells village and said parking lot - it's a LOT easier to head into the dunes from this approach than it is from the lot. It's still a 20+ minute walk to the dunes though.

That's also roughly where I enter the dunes - between Stovepipe Wells and the Mesquite Dunes parking lot.

Here's pic of the cracked mud:

http://www.pbase.com/pauls/image/133408378

Paul




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blueaerodynamique
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« Reply #13 on: May 06, 2011, 02:36:32 AM »
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This is exactly the kind of image that has inspired me to go there! Thank you for sharing. Just one more question though, will I be ok leaving the car at the side of, but off the road? I don't want to pick up a parking ticket!
« Last Edit: May 06, 2011, 05:16:46 AM by blueaerodynamique » Logged
NashvilleMike
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« Reply #14 on: May 06, 2011, 07:58:41 AM »
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So far (knock on wood) I've had no problem parking on the side of the road. The location I gave you has a very wide shoulder, so to speak, and you shouldn't have any problems finding a place to pull well off the side of the road.

BTW, I don't remember if you mentioned when you were heading out there, but from mid May on through summer, stating the obvious here of course, it has the potential to be *insanely* hot out on the dunes. Getting to the dunes 20 minutes prior to sunrise helps a lot as it's (relatively) cooler then, but if you choose to do late afternoon, pre-sunset shooting, get ready for some heat. Do not skimp on water, no matter when you go. Those dunes reflect a lot of energy back up at you, so sunscreen of course is a must.

As for sunrise vs set, I've had good results both ways. Far less footprints if you shoot sunrise, and you want to be there before the sun crests the mountain range and hits the dunes to set up your shots. The light for those first 20 minutes (or so) after the sun peeks up and starts hitting the dunes is magical, and it changes quickly.

-m
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blueaerodynamique
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« Reply #15 on: May 06, 2011, 10:04:16 AM »
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Thanks Mike. We will be there on the morning of Sept 23rd and need to be back in Vegas lunchtime on Sunday 25th for our flight back to the U.K.

I will probably do sunrise as I can leave hubby sleeping:-) I've two of each to plan (sunrises and sunsets). Sunrise on the Sunday will be Dantes view as we head out of the Park. I'm thinking one sunset on the salt flats at Badwater (did sunrise there last time). The dunes may be sunrise Sat. My husband fancies Zabriski Point at sunrise again though I'd like to do somewhere I haven't done before.

Thanks for the tips about the heat. We were there in June 2010 and got a taste of it then. Loads of sunscreen and a hat, though I am fortunate in being able to tolerate it quite well. I was quite surprised at how much water I got through.
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2011, 10:29:36 PM »
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Sunrise on the Sunday will be Dantes view as we head out of the Park. I'm thinking one sunset on the salt flats at Badwater (did sunrise there last time). The dunes may be sunrise Sat. My husband fancies Zabriski Point at sunrise again though I'd like to do somewhere I haven't done before.


Dantes View is an incredible place to be, let alone photograph.  Sunrise there is spectacular.  Cooler up there, too.  : )



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blueaerodynamique
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« Reply #17 on: May 12, 2011, 03:54:54 PM »
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Lovely photograph Peter, we will certainly be visiting there. I'd imagine there will be hoardes of photographers there at dawn.
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #18 on: May 12, 2011, 05:34:10 PM »
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I'd imagine there will be hoardes of photographers there at dawn.

Actually, at dawn at Dantes View, I was alone.  The first visitors arrived hours later.

Thanks for the kudos.  That's a self portrait.  Grin
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #19 on: May 12, 2011, 07:24:36 PM »
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Right. At dawn all the photographers are lining up down at Zabriskie Point, although even there I managed one morning with only a couple of other photographers, in January. Dante's View is indeed spectacular.

Eric
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-Eric Myrvaagnes

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