Just prior to arriving at Zabriskie Point in Death Valley our tour passed this formation that was a rainbow of colors reflecting the copper, borax and other minerals abundant in these mountains. With limited time to shoot, I bracketed 5 shots a stop apart and finished it as an HDR image using Photomatix Pro and Lightroom.
We took a side trip from Las Vegas to Death Valley for the day. My preconceptions of Death Valley were basically shattered as we found a National Park with a huge range of geological formations in addition to its trademark salt flats. With 3.4 million acres of desert and mountains, Death Valley is the country’s largest national park. Just down from the Furnace Creek Visitor Center is Zabriskie Point. With the light, texture and colors in the rocks, I could have shot there all day. It also helped that they were in the middle of a cold spell where it was about 40 degrees versus 120! Not a trip I would make in the summer months.
We were lucky to select Bindlestiff Tours for a day trip to Death Valley from Las Vegas.
Bindlestiff was formed by several guides from other tour companies that wanted to focus on affordable small group adventure tours that would enable them to deliver a quality experience. We can say that they met all of our expectations and more. Our guide, Chris, has 9 years of experience guiding in the Southwest US, Alaska and Australia and was an encyclopedia of information on the area. The trip took approximately 2 hours from the Strip and although there were only 3 couples on our trip, the van could have comfortably taken four. The tour concentrated on the Furnace Rock area, kept a good pace and requests for photo stops were encouraged – although Chris was on target both with his selection of stops as well as the time of day we visited them. Left the Strip at 8:15 am from our hotel and we were back by 5:30 (a tour is unlikely to include sunrise and sunset like a photo tour/workshop but we were really looking for an overview of an area that we had never been before on a limited time schedule). Bindlestiff has single and multi-day tours that leave from Las Vegas to such other nearby areas as the Grand Canyon, Zion and Bryce as well as Los Angeles and San Francisco. They frequently put together custom tours to include other National Parks as well.
We would use them again without hesitation.
More information can be found by clicking HERE
Red Rock Canyon is a great place to visit when in the Las Vegas area – just about 15 miles west of the Strip off State Highway 159. It is part of the National Landscape Conservation System and features a set of red rock formations as you enter the area and sandstone peaks and walls comprising the Keystone Thrust Fault. Access is from a one-way 13 mile driving loop which starts at the Visitors Center and has plenty of spots to pull off for photo ops or access to 19 hiking trails. Beth and I went out there last Friday. Clouds moved in just as we arrived and I was able to capture the last bit of sunlight out the back door of the Visitors Center before it disappeared. Then as we progressed around the driving loop it snowed for the rest of our visit…..Snow in Las Vegas…..
For those of you in the NYC area, I can recommend “Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop” at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The exhibit is comprised of approximately 200 photographs from the 1840’s through the 1990’s that have been manipulated in some manner. It’s quite an extensive exhibit running through several exhibit rooms. There is also a separate smaller exhibit of images manipulated during the digital age which can be found directly across from the entrance to the main exhibit. More information can be found by clicking HERE.
For those of you that can’t make the Exhibit, there is a free App that can be found by clicking HERE called “Faking it” by The Metropolitan Museum of Art that presents some of the images from the exhibit.
The Museum has also published an extensive book containing the images from the exhibit and the history behind them entitled “Faking It: Manipulated Photography Before Photoshop” and that can be found by clicking HERE.