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Author Topic: Death Valley  (Read 5799 times)
vazuw55
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« on: January 05, 2013, 12:47:57 PM »
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Looking for information , advice on Death Valley. I'd like to be there near the spring bloom. I'm also interested in the more upscale places to stay. Thanks
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kikashi
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« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2013, 06:21:01 PM »
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I was there a couple of months ago. I stayed at the Furnace Creek Inn (not the ranch). I liked it a lot, although the service in the restaurant left a little to be desired. It's expensive.

I loved it, particularly a great sunset visit to the Mesquite Dunes at Stovepipe Wells, about a half hour drive from the Inn. Dawn at Zabriskie was wonderful as well.

I spent only two nights there, alas, and barely scratched the surface of the place. I shall be back as soon as I can manage it. I envy you!

Jeremy
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Schewe
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« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2013, 12:19:20 AM »
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You definitely want to stay at the Furnace Creek Resort. (the ranch is more like a motel). Personally, I liked the place (been there 3 times) but remember, you are in the middle of nowhere so it's not gonna be a 5 star anything. The net access was iffy...

There are literally a ton of places to shoot before 10AM and after 4PM...the light kinda sucks in between because, well it's down and not across...

The one place that is worth the effort but tough to get to is Race Track. The reason why it's tough is that it takes a LONG time to drive from Furnace Creek to Race Track...and the road into Race Track is really, really rough (all-wheel or 4-wheel with good ground clearance required, don't even try it in a "car"–seriously!!!).

There are a lot of places to shoot, but some are better at sunrise and some at sunset. Some are easy to get to: Zabriskie Point, Artist's Palette (sunrise or sunset) and others take a trek: the sand dunes & Badwater Salt Flats (perhaps either sunrise or sunset). Remember, Death Valley is in a valley, so getting light on things happens after sunrise and before sunset...

Dante's View is a pretty long drive but gives a high view of almost all of Death Valley. Scotty's Castle is a tourist trap (Google it) and the ghost town Rhyolite is prolly a waste of time (the buildings are now fenced off and look crappy).
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neile
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« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2013, 10:25:58 PM »
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If you don't have an appropriate high-clearance vehicle to get to Race Track you can rent one from Farabee Jeep Rentals. It's a little spendy but they are great folks, they know what they're doing, they give you a tea kettle for the junction, and... they're the only game in Death Valley for a Jeep rental Smiley

My photos from Death Valley are up at http://www.danecreekphotography.com/dvalley.html. It's a beautiful place, you'll have a great time.

I stayed at the Ranch and didn't mind it at all.

Neil
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2013, 11:23:21 AM »
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Dante's View is a pretty long drive but gives a high view of almost all of Death Valley.




Dante's View is a must-see if it's your first time in DV.  The drive is spectacular, the view when you arrive even more so. 
Morning is best.  These snowy peaks are west of the camera.

Image is a 6 image stitch.  A self portrait on the occasion of my 65th birthday.  Cheesy




Frequently overlooked are Eureka Dunes in the far north end of the park.  Their singular advantage is also their disadvantage.  They're a long drive, but you'll have them pretty well to yourself.  The road is good.  Any vehicle will do.





Also, you get to park right at the dunes, rather than a half-hour hike away.



There are occasional visitors, but their stay is usually brief.

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Smoothjazz
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« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2013, 03:20:49 PM »
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Are the Eureka dunes better at sunrise or sunset?
It would be helpful to know in planning my next trip.

Thanks.
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2013, 04:38:54 PM »
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Are the Eureka dunes better at sunrise or sunset?

Either one. I stayed there for two days.  The above image is mid-morning, looking approximately south.

Other than a pit toilet and campsites with fire rings, there are zero facilities.

(edit)  There are concrete picnic tables.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2013, 10:53:02 AM by Peter McLennan » Logged
Rand47
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« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2013, 01:03:27 AM »
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Looking for information , advice on Death Valley. I'd like to be there near the spring bloom. I'm also interested in the more upscale places to stay. Thanks

The racetrack is wonderful, as Jeff says:



And while there don't neglect the Grand Stand on the northern section, I found it more fascinating than the moving rocks, to be honest:



Here's Tea Kettle Junction, kinda fun:



And the Ubehebe crater "on the way" to Race Track:



I even found Moses' burning bush on one of the mountains! :-)



In and around the well traveled spots you're OK on your own, but if you plan to go more remote take water, appropriate clothing for the weather, and file a general travel plan with someone.

For my money (if there are constraints at all) I prefer the Furnace Creek Ranch.  I'd rather stay a few days longer for the same lodging cost. It is decent, and has a great old fashioned huge swimming pool.  But if upscale is no problem at all the "Inn" is all there is that comes close to truly upscale.  A bit spendy for what you get IMO.  Rates run approx $345 / night and up. 

Have fun!
Rand
« Last Edit: January 08, 2013, 01:27:02 AM by Rand47 » Logged
Peter McLennan
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« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2013, 11:02:24 AM »
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A bit spendy for what you get IMO.  Rates run approx $345 / night and up.  

Wow.  I had no idea.  $345 and up is a lot of fuel.  



I prefer this style of accommodations.  At dawn, I'm a hundred feet from the dunes.

Lovely images, Rand. I'm afraid The Racetrack is off-limits to Frito, though.  I did try, but turned back.  It's just too rough.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2013, 11:04:26 AM by Peter McLennan » Logged
Rand47
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« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2013, 11:29:07 AM »
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Peter,

I know this drags this thread off topic, but I'd be fascinated to see more of the interior of your vehicle.  I've toyed with the idea of a customized sprinter for photo expeditions!  So, with apologies to the OP, show us more of the interior!

I did the road to the race track in the dark in order to be there before sunrise.  4wd w/ decent ground clearance.  Beat the snot out of the vehicle trying to go at a decent pace. 

And thanks for the kind comment on my photos.

Rand
« Last Edit: January 08, 2013, 11:36:21 AM by Rand47 » Logged
vazuw55
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« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2013, 12:06:44 PM »
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Thanks so much for the Great advice, and Info.  Grin
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Rajan Parrikar
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« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2013, 12:32:13 PM »
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I have stayed at both the Furnace Creek Inn and the Furnace Creek Ranch and I prefer the Ranch by a long margin.  The Inn has pretensions to luxury but succeeds in matching the Four Seasons in price and price only.  The Ranch is much better (get the Deluxe rooms instead of the Standard if you are a light sleeper).  The wi-fi internet has improved a lot now and is included in the room rate.  And you get cell phone signal now in and around Furnace Creek.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2013, 12:34:21 PM by Rajan Parrikar » Logged

Rajan Parrikar
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« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2013, 12:37:53 PM »
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...and the ghost town Rhyolite is prolly a waste of time (the buildings are now fenced off and look crappy).

Alas, true.  I had to position myself behind creosote to obscure the fences while composing shots of the ruins.
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kikashi
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« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2013, 01:18:48 PM »
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Alas, true.  I had to position myself behind creosote to obscure the fences while composing shots of the ruins.

I was disappointed by Rhyolite as well. On the other hand, I did get one shot there that I'm going to use sooner or later in a lecture. Show first image (top half); comment that "Appeals to people's better nature often carry more force..."; show full image; "... when reinforced by threats".

Jeremy
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2013, 02:35:58 PM »
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Here ya go, Rand.  More Sprinter info than you can stand. 

The short version?  This is the perfect landscape photography vehicle.



http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14166&highlight=frito%27s+bulkhead

http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15640&highlight=Frito%27s+Excellent

http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7135

http://sprinter-source.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7473&highlight=shuttle+launch+road+trip
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Rand47
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« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2013, 03:03:03 PM »
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Here ya go, Rand.  More Sprinter info than you can stand. 
. . .

Many thanks!  Enjoyed the writing & photos as well.

Rand
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Rajan Parrikar
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« Reply #16 on: January 08, 2013, 04:26:27 PM »
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Peter, those are delightful photos, especially the plane buzzing you.
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #17 on: January 08, 2013, 05:41:11 PM »
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Peter, those are delightful photos, especially the plane buzzing you.

Thanks, Rajan.  Coming from you, that's a heck of a compliment. 

On the F-18 shot, I must confess:  I had a rehearsal.  There were two of them and the first time they buzzed me, I was away from the vehicle, camera-less.  I watched them circle the dry lake and I barely made it back to the camera in time to grab a few images when they gave me a second chance.  I estimated their height at about 200 ft.  The sound was beyond description.

I'll be back in Death Valley in a couple of months for my (I'm guessing) tenth visit.  I can hardly wait.
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Frank Sirona
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« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2013, 02:23:34 PM »
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Are the Eureka dunes better at sunrise or sunset?

Neither nor, unfortunately. They are encircled by mountain ranges, so throughout the year they will never catch rising or setting sun. Nevertheless they are well worth a visit. But be aware that the road there is pretty rough, and it´s quite a distance to go. So definitely make sure to bring not only lots of water, but also a spare tire and tools to change tires.
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pluton
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« Reply #19 on: January 23, 2013, 04:15:25 AM »
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Neither nor, unfortunately. They are encircled by mountain ranges, so throughout the year they will never catch rising or setting sun. Nevertheless they are well worth a visit. But be aware that the road there is pretty rough, and it´s quite a distance to go. So definitely make sure to bring not only lots of water, but also a spare tire and tools to change tires.

However, the E. Dunes are much farther away from the mountains on their west, much closer to the mountains on their eastern side, so you can get almost horizontal light on them at sunset.
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