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Author Topic: Death Valley  (Read 6804 times)
Roman Racela
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« Reply #20 on: January 24, 2013, 08:36:25 PM »
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Did you come from the south entrance of the park or through Big Pine from the north going to Eureka Dunes?

I went to Eureka Dunes in December from the south so I'm trying to find out if the northern route is much better, shorter and easier.

Thanks.





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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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #21 on: January 24, 2013, 11:17:10 PM »
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Did you come from the south entrance of the park or through Big Pine from the north going to Eureka Dunes?
I went to Eureka Dunes in December from the south so I'm trying to find out if the northern route is much better, shorter and easier.
Thanks.

I entered from Big Pine, exited down Death Valley Road southwards.  That road is rough, slow and flat. If you're bound for the rest of the southern park, it's a tossup which is better - continuing south or returning to Big Pine and entering via Town Pass. The road in from Big Pine is paved for a large part of the route but the last ten miles or so are rough gravel.  No clearance problems, but if you value your vehicle, it's 10 mph.

pluton is correct.  The lowest available angle of light (and hence the longest "magic hour") would be at sunset, not sunrise.  The close mountains to the east probably delay direct sunlight by as much as an hour.

If you value desert solitude, Eureka Dunes is it.
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Roman Racela
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« Reply #22 on: January 24, 2013, 11:25:23 PM »
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Not sure where Town Pass is. Is that the same road that you would usually take to get to White Mountain? I am planning on heading out there next week and was wondering if you think there is a possibility of road closures because of snow. I'm bringing a Jeep with 36-inch (diameter) tires so it should be fun driving but it does get old after your jaw has been rattling constantly for over an hour.

Thanks for the info again.


I entered from Big Pine, exited down Death Valley Road southwards.  That road is rough, slow and flat. If you're bound for the rest of the southern park, it's a tossup which is better - continuing south or returning to Big Pine and entering via Town Pass. The road in from Big Pine is paved for a large part of the route but the last ten miles or so are rough gravel.  No clearance problems, but if you value your vehicle, it's 10 mph.

pluton is correct.  The lowest available angle of light (and hence the longest "magic hour") would be at sunset, not sunrise.  The close mountains to the east probably delay direct sunlight by as much as an hour.

If you value desert solitude, Eureka Dunes is it.
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pluton
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« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2013, 01:04:24 AM »
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Roman, Townes Pass is the pass on CA route 190 as the road crosses the Panamint Mountains; you cross it as you approach Death Valley from the west(Panamint Springs, Lone Pine);  You're already in the park at Townes Pass.  If by 'White Mountain' you mean the White Mountain Peak, where the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is, that's roughly 100 miles farther north.  Check out the "Morning Report" on the DVNP website for road conditions---it's usually updated daily.  Expect snow accumulation only at high elevations(7000 feet plus).
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2013, 11:51:50 AM »
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Roman, Townes Pass is the pass on CA route 190

pluton, thanks for the correction.  It's Townes Pass, not "Town Pass", as I incorrectly stated.  For those not familiar with it, it's a superb drive.  Here's the approach from the west.

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Roman Racela
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« Reply #25 on: January 27, 2013, 10:20:46 PM »
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The first time I went to Eureka Dunes I used the Scotty's Castle/Death Valley Road route from Stovepipe Wells. Looking for a different route, bit for some reason I cannot find Townes Pass from CA 190 on Googel Maps. There seems to be another way from Big Pine via CA 168 then head south on Death Valley Road to Eureka Dunes. I guess I'll uew the old route again if I can't find Townes Pass.

Thanks for the tips though.


Roman, Townes Pass is the pass on CA route 190 as the road crosses the Panamint Mountains; you cross it as you approach Death Valley from the west(Panamint Springs, Lone Pine);  You're already in the park at Townes Pass.  If by 'White Mountain' you mean the White Mountain Peak, where the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest is, that's roughly 100 miles farther north.  Check out the "Morning Report" on the DVNP website for road conditions---it's usually updated daily.  Expect snow accumulation only at high elevations(7000 feet plus).
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Peter McLennan
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« Reply #26 on: January 28, 2013, 10:33:31 AM »
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The pass is not shown on Google Maps.  CA 190 is the road from Panamint Springs to Stovepipe Wells.  Take it and you will traverse Townes Pass.
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spreeg
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« Reply #27 on: January 28, 2013, 05:16:21 PM »
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This last weekend was particularly interesting there as the storm clouds settled into the valley for a rare look for Death Valley, here is a first and last frame of a timelapse I did just after sunrise from Dante's as the clouds moved like waves through the valley.
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Roman Racela
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« Reply #28 on: January 28, 2013, 05:23:57 PM »
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Thank you both, Peter and Pluton.  I hope this road is accessible and without snow this weekend when I go or I'll just take my usual route to Eureka Dunes.

I'll show some images on this thread when I get back from the trip.

BTW Peter. You Sprinter van makes me want to build one like yours!!! You can looks so sweet!!!

The pass is not shown on Google Maps.  CA 190 is the road from Panamint Springs to Stovepipe Wells.  Take it and you will traverse Townes Pass.
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Frank Sirona
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« Reply #29 on: January 29, 2013, 04:37:05 PM »
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There is an interesting phenomenon that can be observed at Eureka Dunes. From a distance, the sand appears to be plain gray. At a closer look, though, youŽll find that the dunes consist of two different sorts of sand grains: dark, anthracite colored ones and a second sort that is light gray. The amazing thing is that there must be some physical parameter distinguishing both (density, I guess) which prevents them from forming the uniform mixture you would expect to form. Rather, it looks as if mixing and separating would be competing, resulting in patches of two-colored patterns formed by the wind. You can see an example of such a pattern in the attached JPG, together with a closeup (actually, an extreme crop from the original 5x7 slide) where you can distinguish the two different sorts of sand grains.

Who said that entropy always wins?
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Frank Sirona. Large format photography of the Desert Southwest.

www.franksirona.com
kgelner
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« Reply #30 on: January 31, 2013, 12:02:38 AM »
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I wanted to also mention an alternate way to shoot the Dunes in the middle of the park (by Stovepipe Wells). 

The normal way to shoot it is to park nearby on the road and walk in, like so:



But there's an alternate approach, which is to park to the east of the dunes and walk in from the side/back - to do so instead of turning towards Stovepipe Wells, at the junction you turn onto Scotty's Castle road, and take the first dirt road off to the left into a parking lot there and walk:



The main approach is nice, but I think a little taxing (because you are walking up and over a series of sand dune peaks) to get into the more interesting dunes.  There are also a lot of people, meaning a lot of tracks. 

You can find some examples of shooting sunset there from a recent trip I took:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kigiphoto/sets/72157632627635454/

With shots like:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kigiphoto/8421635972/in/set-72157632627635454


http://www.flickr.com/photos/kigiphoto/8420529551/in/set-72157632627635454




The back approach is a much longer walk as you can tell by the map.  But that is offset by the walk being much flatter, and as you reach the dunes you are generally wandering through dune valleys to get into the dunes, and not up as many peaks.  But it is far more remote so make sure to bring lots of water, and it's probably a good idea to go in with someone...  it's also probably a good idea only to do this when the temperatures are still low (like early spring).

Also the back area has almost no-one in it, so the dunes are less tracked.  And there are interesting dried and drying mud patterns along the way, possibly small ponds depending on the rainfall in Death Valley that year. 

Some examples of the back side:

Water in this set:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/kigiphoto/sets/72157615145445011/



and some drying mud pattern images:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/kigiphoto/5411943642/in/set-72157625963963490


http://www.flickr.com/photos/kigiphoto/5411381793/in/set-72157625963963490

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Roman Racela
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« Reply #31 on: January 31, 2013, 03:51:42 AM »
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I actually took that alternate route when I shot this sunrise on Dec 2nd...

It was worth the hike and waking up early.

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Scott O.
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« Reply #32 on: February 04, 2013, 12:59:29 AM »
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Doesn't appear that this will be a booming wildflower year. Death Valley has had less than 2" of rain since last July. I am going for a week at the end of the month, but don't expect to be spending much time shooting flowers.
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Roman Racela
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« Reply #33 on: February 04, 2013, 02:07:28 AM »
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I just got back from Eureka Dunes but visited other areas of the park. Looks like no blooms this year. 4 years ago West Side Road had some flowers. I haven't seen that since...

I took the Scotty's Castle route going to Eureka Dunes and took the Big Pine route on the way out. The Big Pine route is maybe 85% paved. There was a Toyota Coralla at the dunes so I know even a low clearance vehicle will make it to this spot...but I did take a Jeep so going over 60mph off-road was fun.

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