Death Valley Backcountry Adventure
Capture the spectacular textures and patterns of pristine salt flats, vast mud playas, and sand dunes on this Death Valley Backcountry Adventure!
Death Valley National Park is the largest national park in the United States and one of the most interesting places on the planet to visit and photograph. Featuring the lowest, driest, and hottest locations in North America, the park is surrounded by mountains that rise to over 11,000 feet. Yet, most photography workshops barely scratch the surface of what this amazing park has to offer because many of the Park’s “best” locations are only accessible using 4×4 high clearance vehicles on rough backcountry roads.
Using our 4×4 vehicles, we’ll trek to three of the most remote and spectacular areas of the park that seldom get seen: the Racetrack Playa – the only place in the world where the “sailing stones” are found, the Eureka Sand Dunes – the tallest dunes in California and possibly North America, and the Ubehehe Crater – a half-mile wide volcanic crater located in the northern half of Death Valley. We’ll photograph these unique locations at sunrise and sunset as the light creates stunning landscapes and abstracts. We’ll also visit a number of the iconic Death Valley locations near Furnace Creek, some of which include Zabriskie Point and Golden Canyon, the Mesquite Sand Dunes, Dante’s View, Badwater Salt Flats, and Cow Creek.
In the intense heat and harsh light of the day, the desert can appear colorless and lifeless. But during the sunrise and twilight hours of the day, the rich textures and patterns of the canyons, dry washes, and sand dunes come alive in the golden light.
Itinerary & General Information
- Arrival – Arrival at hotel in Furnace Creek / 5 PM Meet-and-Greet and group dinner.
- Day 1 – Our first day will start with sunrise at Zabriskie Point where we’ll capture the rich textures and patterns of the canyons and dry washes as they come alive in the golden morning light. After breakfast, we’ll move to Dante’s Point, perhaps the most dramatic overlook of the entire Badwater Basin. We’ll spend time after lunch reviewing our images from the morning, make a day trip to the Mesquite Sand Dunes, and then focus on getting prepared for our big day the following day.
- Day 2 – Our second day will start very early as we drive through the dark to get to the Eureka Sand Dunes for sunrise. We’ll spend several hours capturing the abstract textures and formations of the Dunes as the sun rises over the mountains. After breakfast at the Dunes, we’ll stop at the Ubehehe Crater on our way to the Racetrack Playa where we’ll spend the remainder of the day and sunset there. Depending on how tired the group is, we may stay to shoot the stars.
- Day 3 – We’ll use the morning of the third day to review our images and relax from the previous day. After lunch, we’ll spend a leisurely afternoon in the Badwater Basin, shooting the salt flats and the Devil’s Golf Course. We’ll capture the golden colors of the desert with sunset at the Mesquite Sand Dunes.
- Day 4 – On our last full day, we’ll visit a number of iconic locations near Furnace Creek, some of which include the Artist’s Palette, Mosaic Canyon, Cow Creek, 20 Mule Team Canyon, and Harmony Borax Works. We’ll end the day with a group dinner.
- Day 5 – We’ll spend our final morning critiquing our images in the classroom before concluding our adventure.
John Bosma Fine Arts Photography is an Authorized Permittee of the National Park Service.
What to Expect
The majority of our days will start early, before sunrise. After a quick cup of coffee or tea, we’ll be off to get into position at a location in the best light of the day with breakfast in the field in order to maximize our shooting time. We’ll often continue until mid-to-late morning before heading back to Basecamp.
Back at Basecamp, we’ll have time for off-loading memory cards, classroom lectures & instruction, working on our images, one-on-one guidance, or time to relax. Then, in the mid-to-late afternoon, we’ll head out again to capture the evening skies, getting the most out of the sunset and/or shooting the stars in the night sky.
More important than just getting you to some of the best and most remote areas of the park at the best times of the day, this five-day landscape photography workshop will challenge you to take your photography to the next level and to develop your own photographic voice.
In the Field:
Out in the field, we’ll explore different approaches to scene visualization, ground/sky/sea compositions, and how to manage complex highlight and shadow scenes using techniques such as dynamic bracketing, focus stacking, framing, and neutral density filters.
In the Classroom:
In the classroom, we’ll spend time developing your post-production workflow – learning when Lightroom is enough and when you need to move your work into Photoshop – using techniques such as luminosity masks to create and solve contrast, color, and blending issues.
You’ll benefit from our guidance, hours of capture time in the field with an instructor by your side, and classroom instruction as you learn new techniques and strategies for creating dynamic images. We’ll help you take your photography to the next level.
Tuition & Payment Terms
What’s Included in Your Tuition:
- 5 nights lodging / 4.5 training days
- Field meals and snacks
- All ground transportation during the workshop
- Workshop course materials
- In-the-field photographic training
- Online prep & orientation classes prior to the workshop
- Post-production classes and techniques during the workshop
- Online post-production classes after the workshop
What’s Not Included in Your Tuition:
- Transportation to/from your home to Basecamp
- Lodging beyond the 5 nights included in the workshop