As I mentioned in my previous post, we had two beautiful nights in the dunes during our recent Death Valley workshop. Photographically, the dunes work really well both day and night, as the sculptural quality of the sand that works so well with low-angle sunlight also lends itself to light painting.
One night we stayed out in the dunes through the wee hours of the morning, photographing star trails, then the Milky Way, followed by the moonrise and moonlight on the dunes. And when the sky started to lighten we decided we may as well wait around for sunrise.
We had left Stovepipe Wells the evening before in darkness, as the electricity was out. Sometime during the night Claudia noticed that the lights seemed brighter toward Stovepipe Wells, so we hoped the power had been restored. When we got back around 8:30 a.m. the power was indeed back on – yay! California Edison had brought in two generators. However they weren’t serving breakfast, as they hadn’t yet been resupplied with food. No one in our hungry and tired group wanted to make the hour-long roundtrip drive down to Furnace Creek for breakfast, so we pooled our resources and shared whatever food we had on hand, which turned out to be plenty. Then we crashed in our now thankfully air-conditioned rooms.
Both nights were beautiful – serene and quiet, with a million stars overhead. As far as I could tell we were the only people out in the dunes after dark. They were unforgettable experiences, made even more special because we shared them with a wonderful group of people.
— Michael Frye
Michael Frye is a professional photographer specializing in landscapes and nature. He is the author or principal photographer of The Photographer’s Guide to Yosemite, Yosemite Meditations, Yosemite Meditations for Women, Yosemite Meditations for Adventurers, and Digital Landscape Photography: In the Footsteps of Ansel Adams and the Great Masters. He has also written three eBooks: Light & Land: Landscapes in the Digital Darkroom, Exposure for Outdoor Photography, and Landscapes in Lightroom: The Essential Step-by-Step Guide. Michael has written numerous magazine articles on the art and technique of photography, and his images have been published in over thirty countries around the world. Michael has lived either in or near Yosemite National Park since 1983, currently residing just outside the park in Mariposa, California.