Pack your bags, your gear, and grab a tent. Yes, a tent. Join us for our now annual guided workshop photographing Death Valley National Park. Our workshop will be led by Art Fernandez, who has photographed extensively throughout Death Valley over the years and has led our previous expeditions here.
Our sessions will run all day from pre-dawn to late evening with set breaks in between shoots and time for some self-guided exploration if you so desire. You will have access to on-site instruction shooting with Large Format, Digital, and Film Based Cameras. This trip is open to members of all experience levels with a passion for exploring the great outdoors and landscape/nature photography.
The focus of this year’s trip will be primarily on celestial and long duration photography in some pretty remote spots of the park with a few requiring 4WD vehicles. Most of the places we will go will be off the beaten path away from where most tourists go for photographs and will navigate there as a group using GPS Coordinates. The organizers have shot in many of these places before and will be planning the day based upon the best time of day and location to shoot from.
Some of the places we will go include:
- Racetrack (Overnight Camping, Celestial Shoot and pre-dawn shooting)
- Father Crowley Point
- Dante’s View
- Ryloite Ghost Town
- Salt Pan Polygons
- Mosaic Canyon
- Zabriskie Point
A detailed itinerary, with GPS coordinates, meeting locations, and other information of what to bring will be published and shared with confirmed participants.
Like all shoots in the national parks, we will adjust the schedule on the ground as the weather and circumstances dictate. We do promise that you will have a great opportunity to learn, explore, and share with some very passionate landscape and nature photographers
The RSVP PROCESS and Administrative Fees
This trip will be capped at 10 people maximum with preference to members that have previously participated in our long-distance field trips in the past.
Due to the distance, the extreme amount of time, and advance planning required we will be charging a $60.00 non-refundable trip fee to all participants.
We will be requiring the signature of a liability waiver that falls in line with our groups Terms and Conditions for participating.
For more on why we are charging for this trip, please read the FAQ at the bottom of the trip description.
Park Fees, Lodging, Meals & Directions
Park Fees, Lodging, meals, and transportation are not included. It is the responsibility of each participant to coordinate meals, lodging, and transportation for this meetup.
We strongly suggest staying in the National Park (either park hotels or campsites) and encourage camping if at all possible. Many of the shoots we have planned will depart from a central location very early in the morning before dawn. Remote lodging in Beatty, etc is definitely doable but landmarks in the valley are sparse and it will be hard to find the group (nonexistent to spotty cell service -- SEE FAQ on Cell Phones)
Art will definitely be camping for the duration of this meetup. The campsite we secure for the group will be the central rallying point for all shoots we have scheduled in the park. If you are interested in sharing a site with Art, please contact him directly.
A couple things to know about Camping:
- Each campsite can accommodate a maximum of two vehicles and/or 8 people.
- Rates are approximately 18.00/day.
- We will need to know very soon whether you intend to camp so Art can make a single reservation. A Drop dead date will be announced within the week.
- Reservation Fees collected by folks wishing to share campsites will be non-refundable.
For those not wanting to camp or just want to have more comforts of home, we recommend the following accommodations in the National Park:
We will take a break mid-day, each day, for lunch and rest. There are many restaurants in the area as well as for dinner.
General Directions and an Online Park Map can be found at: http://www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/directions.htm
Transportation to and from the park is up to each participant. We highly encourage carpooling to minimize the environmental impact on the park and to reduce the number of cars that are traveling from site to site for our shoots.
If you have a 4WD vehicle and would like to bring it, we recommend it as a couple of spots we are going to visit are off road and hard to get to.
Additionally, we encourage folks to arrange for carpools to those remote locations.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Why are you charging for this Field Trip?
These trips are Destination Trips. A lot of upfront planning, research, preparation is taken by the organizers. This planning runs from timing of the trip, shot locations, best time of day, to on the ground logistics so everything can go smoothly. This is why the last Death Valley trip and many other Destination Trips have gone so well--the organizers take the time to plan it all so you just show up!
As organizers who donates their time, personalized instruction/guided trips, and experience of where to shoot, when is best as to this as a labor of love, we can't afford financially to do these trips if people are going to drop out at the last minute. After 1.5 years of running this group, it has gotten to be a problem. So we are making a change.
The fee serves 3 purposes none of which creates any sort of profit:
- creates incentive for you to show up and reduce no shows
- provide insurance to the organizers who spend all this time to plan these trips, take time off, etc that people are going to show
- Cover any additional research and planning that may be required...e.g., special shoots that people have requested advanced scouting etc.
Does weather ever alter or cancel events?
Only if conditions pose a safety risk. Often, poor weather can make for dramatic photographic opportunities, so if rain is forecasted, pack a light jacket or rain poncho and bring something to keep your camera dry (a hotel shower cap is ideal).
What should I expect?
Be prepared, as this field trip involves being outdoors in the elements, which can include rather severe or challenging weather conditions. All trips require walking, and usually some hiking, on uneven terrain. You will want to wear the right clothing, footwear, and keep in mind you could get a bit of a workout!
Will my cell phone work in Death Valley?
Cell phone service is extremely erratic to non-existent inside the National Park regardless of your cell phone carrier. There is also a great deal of radio interference from the nearby China Lake proving grounds. This makes what cell service you can get to be very dicey. You should definitely bring your cell phone, but do not rely on it for communications with the group or for any emergencies.
Also, if you have walkie talkies, you may want to consider bringing them. 2 way radios like this are useful for keeping in touch with the group when we caravan to locations.
While the destinations and hikes we are planning for the trip are safe, there can be unforeseen and inherent risks in using the National Parks. The organizers do not assume any liability for sponsoring and organizing this trip. By agreeing to join this trip and participate in all scheduled activities associated with this trip, you agree to assume all risks and release the organizers from any liability.