End of the Trail – Titus Canyon

All good things must come to and end, and so it was with my first trip to Death Valley.  Our Visionary Death Valley workshop group had intended to spend the early evening and sunset hour at Cottonball Basin, but as the winds were picking up, we detoured several miles to the western end of Titus Canyon.  With failing light, we didn’t have much time to explore, but there were still some small photo opportunities.  I spent several minutes with a small marble shelf that had been cut out by water, but the light was just too flat to bring out the latent colors.  Giving up, I moved just a few more yards into the canyon and found this intimate scene, which really, to me, seems to speak of the area; something quintessentially Death Valley.

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Death Valley Sand Dunes

One thing I learned from my journey to Death Valley is that  shooting sand dunes isn’t easy.  My original intention was to come away from this trip with several classic, black & white, abstract images of dramatically side-lit dunes, just like the old (photography) masters. But, that is not how things turned out.

As I mentioned in my initial Death Valley post, I was really taken by the colors of the desert, which, frankly, I have not been prepared for. Nor was I prepared for the quality of light that I experienced in the dunes at either end of the day, when the sky is still bright, but there is no direct sun on the dunes.  It is during these times that the subtle colors of the desert become apparent. I was fortunate, also, that the dunes were not simply a yellow monotone as I had expected as recent rains in the valley had not been fully absorbed, leaving patches of darker sand that helped to further define the shapes of the dunes.

The images in today’s gallery were all captured in the Mesquite Dunes near Stovepipe Wells, primarily during those times of  “in between” light.

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