Death Valley & Eastern Sierra — January 2013

Gathered GrainsDunefield Dreamin'HeadwallReplicatesPortentDelicacyCollaboration


I just spent a little while out in far eastern California.  I spent some time in Death Valley National Park and in the Owens Valley.  Both places that I love to explore.  Each time I visit one of them I feel like I discover that there’s immensely more territory that needs exploring.  Oh well, I hope to return early and often!

In Death Valley I set out to visit two of the more remote sets of sand dunes.  The Ibex sand dunes are in the far southern region of the park and are located a mile and a half or so from the nearest (rough!) dirt road.  The Eureka sand dunes are in the far northern part of the park and involve a 50 mile trip from Big Pine, CA on about half dirt roads.  Both were quite different.  The Ibex dunes were a relatively small complex with great exposure to the setting sun in the winter months so that they really glowed with that late day light.  The Eureka dunes lie in an absolutely immense valley and are extremely tall.  Make sure you give yourself ample time to explore them as they look  smaller than they really are.  I ended up huffing and puffing up them in about half the time I should have allotted before the sun when down.

After spending time in Death Valley I turned my sights to the Owens Valley.  I spent some time tracking down a petroglyph north of Bishop that had eluded me for a few trips.  Found it! Now I just need to get back there when there’s good conditions for sunrise or sunset.  On the final day of the trip I headed north so that I could cross the Sierra Nevada.  I photographed the final sunrise of my trip at Convict Lake and was happy to see the first clouds I’d seen all week then.  Finally, I ran into some amazing conditions in the Mono Basin where an thick layer of frozen fog had settled down.  The light and texture down inside that fog were great and I was rewarded again when I ascended out of the fog at the northern edge of the basin.

I ended up driving about 1,400 miles and (thankfully!) didn’t need either of my full-size spare tires.

All in all this was a very productive trip!  I hope you enjoy the images!

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One Comment

  1. Ted Truex January 16, 2013 at 12:38 am #

    Awesome set of images. What a great trip. I really liked ‘Dunefield Dreamin’ and ‘Portent’