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Author Topic: Death Valley  (Read 2217 times)

bgran8

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Death Valley
« on: November 23, 2012, 09:40:21 PM »
My wife and I are heading off to Death Valley tomorrow and would like a few pointers from those with experience of the area.

My plan now is to head to the racetrack tomorrow afternoon and stay for sunset and some star pictures at night. I don't have a ton of experience with star pictures or light painting, but would like to try both. I plan on using a Rokinon 14 mm f2.8 for the night pictures. Is it possible to use a flash in a 30 second exposure to get one of the sailing stones in the frame or am I limited to using a flashlight--if so is an LED one okay?

Also, I am wondering if Zabriskie Point or Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes are better for sunrise. We will only be there for one sunrise, so I have to choose one or the other. Would the sand dunes be okay for photos midday?

Thanks for your help!




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Death Valley
« on: November 23, 2012, 09:40:21 PM »

bycostello

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Re: Death Valley
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2012, 10:04:07 PM »
sand dunes you want to do first thing (last thing) when the sun is low and casts a shadow across them...

ryebrye

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Re: Death Valley
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2012, 11:45:11 PM »
Since you say you don't have a lot of experience with light painting, I'll guess you might not have a ton at night photography too - so here are some general tips to speed things up when you are out in the middle of nowhere.

The biggest time saver is to test things at your highest ISO first to work out your approximate exposure times -
For testing your ambient exposure out for light painting stuff - crank your ISO to your max ISO and use exposure math to figure it out.

(e.g. 1/15 sec at 12800 ISO = 8 sec at 100 ISO... or 1/8 sec =  seconds, etc)

To meter it too, you can use your max ISO (12800, etc) and get a value there and then adjust it down to a >30second value - so if your meter says 5" at 12800, it'd be 10 sec at 6400, 20 sec at 3200, 40 sec at 1600, 80 sec at 800 and 160 sec at 400 - 320 sec at 200 and 640 sec at 100 -  you can try a test shot at the 12800 setting to see roughly what the exposure of the ambient stuff (prior to doing any light painting) looks like - and then work back to your desired one.

(It sucks to do a 60+ second exposure only to find out that you only needed a 30 second one and the entire image is blown out)

DWLsp

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Re: Death Valley
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2012, 11:49:11 PM »
I was at the Racetrack two weeks ago. You should be aware that the sunsets at the Racetrack aren't that great, as the sun dips behind the mountains surrounding the Racetrack (and, I think, the Sierras just to the west) well before it nears the horizon.  Having said that, it seems that late afternoon (when I was there) or possibly early morning are likely the best times to go, as the sun hits the Playa fairly steeply, which brings out the surface texture of the ground and the tracks of the stones.

The road there is pretty crappy too, so be prepared for a long hard drive.  But it's worth it.  It is a fascinating place.  Head directly to the parking area at the south end and walk across to the south east part of the playa, where most of the rocks are.

I also found the sand dunes more interesting than Zabriski for sunrise.

RomanRacela

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Re: Death Valley
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2012, 01:00:59 AM »
I was going to head out to DV over the weekend too but forecast is that there won't be clouds until Sunday. For me, no clouds mean boring sunrise and sunset photos. :(

The place is awesome though and you'll have fun exploring and driving around DV.
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bgran8

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Re: Death Valley
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2012, 12:21:39 PM »
Thank you, everyone for the tips. I wish there were more clouds in the forecast, but maybe we'll luck out and get a few. Any tips on where exactly to go to get a good picture of the Furnace Creek dunes? It will be dark when I get there in the morning, so any suggestions on where to park and how far I need to walk would help out. Thanks again.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2012, 12:26:01 PM by bgran8 »

cayenne

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Re: Death Valley
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2012, 12:46:34 PM »
My wife and I are heading off to Death Valley tomorrow and would like a few pointers from those with experience of the area.

My plan now is to head to the racetrack tomorrow afternoon <snip>

OOps...when I first read this, I thought you were on your way to LSU Stadium (Death Valley).....and was going to suggest a good 70-200 f/2.8 L USM, IS...for some good sports photography.....

Then, it occurred to me that yesterdays game wasn't in Death Valley..but in Fayetteville, AR, and you might be somehow talking about somewhere else.

:)

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Re: Death Valley
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2012, 12:46:34 PM »

DWLsp

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Re: Death Valley
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2012, 08:58:27 PM »
Thank you, everyone for the tips. I wish there were more clouds in the forecast, but maybe we'll luck out and get a few. Any tips on where exactly to go to get a good picture of the Furnace Creek dunes? It will be dark when I get there in the morning, so any suggestions on where to park and how far I need to walk would help out. Thanks again.

Stovepipe Wells, about 30 min from Furnace Creek.  Parking is signed - probably a 15 min walk from the lot to the dunes.

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Re: Death Valley
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2012, 08:58:27 PM »