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Winter in Death Valley

  
 
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Winter in Death Valley


I'm back from the first of a couple of visits to Death Valley this season. (I'll be back again in late March.) Here are some photographs from the first batch that I've been working on. Enjoy!

Dan







"Interrupted Dune"






"Creosote, Shadowed Dune"






"Dunes and Hills, Evening"






"Wash and Alluvial Fan"






"Desert Ridges, Morning Haze"






"Sunset Sand"






"Desert Mountains and Dunes, Morning"






"First Light, Desert Mountains"






"Creosote and Dunes, Evening Light"

and one more...






"Badlands Detail"


Edited on Feb 03, 2022 at 02:54 PM · View previous versions



Feb 01, 2022 at 07:17 PM
junglialoh
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Winter in Death Valley


Professional aesthetic work - impressive and gorgeous image set


Feb 01, 2022 at 07:54 PM
Ross Martin
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Winter in Death Valley


Beautiful work Dan.


Feb 01, 2022 at 09:25 PM
keepclicking
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Winter in Death Valley


Dan, amazing set of DVNP. Love the way you composed your shots. Hard to pick a favorite. Your set earns my vote. Thanks for sharing. 👍🏻


Feb 01, 2022 at 11:11 PM
Douglas L
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Winter in Death Valley


Beautiful set Dan! A treat to view.


Feb 02, 2022 at 04:52 AM
DanielJStein
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Winter in Death Valley


Amazing, loving the golden glow in many of these!!


Feb 02, 2022 at 06:57 AM
sathsy2017
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Winter in Death Valley


Excellent set. The dunes picture tells a story!


Feb 02, 2022 at 07:22 AM
Brad Williams
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Winter in Death Valley


Great work as always Dan! I really like the "Desert Mountains and Dunes, Morning". Nice set!


Feb 02, 2022 at 09:55 AM
1bwana1
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Winter in Death Valley


I was just there a couple of weeks ago myself, so it is nice to see your images and learn from them.

Your set is superb work. Thanks for posting.

-Steve-



Feb 02, 2022 at 10:39 AM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Winter in Death Valley


Thanks for all of the comments everyone. I appreciate them!

I've been going to DEVA for more than two decades now, and for the past 15 years or so I've gone at least once each year specifically to make photographs. One of the amazing things about this place is that there's always something new to see or a new way to see something familiar — I never run out of subjects. (There are still several unvisited areas of the park on my to-do list.)

I have planned two visits for this year so far — the late January visit from which I just returned and an upcoming late March visit. I like the winter time frame because it is easier to find solitude and because, well, the weather is cooler. (Sometimes it is downright cold, believe it or not.) The later time frame, up through about the first week of April, can be more crowded — at least in the popular areas — but there is more potential for wildflowers and similar subjects. The latter appeal to my wife, who is a macro photographer.

All of the photographs in this set, plus a few others, will appear at my website over a period of a few weeks. The posts there include background information that I have left out of my post in this forum.

Dan



Feb 02, 2022 at 11:30 AM
 


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Starfire8
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Winter in Death Valley


Exquisite work, Dan! Pure art and a pleasure to view! Thanks for sharing!

Best regards, David



Feb 02, 2022 at 12:38 PM
Ross Martin
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Winter in Death Valley


Dan, did you switch to Fuji GFX? It looks like you have quite a few 4:3 ratio and some 16:9.


Feb 02, 2022 at 12:41 PM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Winter in Death Valley


Ross Martin wrote:
Dan, did you switch to Fuji GFX? It looks like you have quite a few 4:3 ratio and some 16:9.


Good question!

I've long been a fan of the 4:3 aspect ratio — probably dating to my earliest experience shooting film decades ago and printing, way back in the day, in "squarer" formats like 8x10 or 11x14.

I continue to be very interested in the GFX miniMF system and there's a lot about it that attracts me. I've gone so far as to test-shoot one of these cameras a few years back, and I was impressed by the experience. And landscape photography is one genre in which the balances of pluses and minuses of the larger format can favor miniMF in many cases. If the right lenses were available, there's a good chance that I'd move that direction.

However, I currently continuing to use a 50MP FF system that produces fine results and which provides the lenses I prefer to use. (A lot of my landscape photography uses rather long focal lengths.) Yes, that means that I intentionally crop the ends of the frame — in fact, I set my the rear display on my camera to show the cropped 4:3 view

As to the 16:9 aspect ratio photographs, I'm not sure why but I've been increasingly interested in that recently. I have done some 2:1 ratio work in the past, but it is a distinct minority of my photography. I think the little bit of extra height in the 16:9 format works for me.

BTW, my thinking about aspect ratios really just amounts to a matter of personal preference. I don't think that any format is better than any other in a general way. It is more about how each photographer sees.

Dan



Feb 02, 2022 at 02:30 PM
Burnard
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Winter in Death Valley


Nice high quality work Dan. Interrupted Dune jumps out for me but the whole series is fine.


Feb 02, 2022 at 03:24 PM
dakel
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Winter in Death Valley


Gorgeous images Dan. Especially like #1


Feb 02, 2022 at 05:46 PM
Ross Martin
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Winter in Death Valley


gdanmitchell wrote:
Good question!

I've long been a fan of the 4:3 aspect ratio — probably dating to my earliest experience shooting film decades ago and printing, way back in the day, in "squarer" formats like 8x10 or 11x14.

I continue to be very interested in the GFX miniMF system and there's a lot about it that attracts me. I've gone so far as to test-shoot one of these cameras a few years back, and I was impressed by the experience. And landscape photography is one genre in which the balances of pluses and minuses of the larger format can favor miniMF in many
...Show more

Great post Dan, agree with all of that. I love to see photographers cropping fullframe to other ratios, letting the composition dictate what it wants to be. I too have always loved 4:3 and lately am finding 16:9 very intriguing, a cinematic feel.

I tried out the GFX 100S last year but sold it off after shooting it for a couple months, and am happily back to fullframe for my landscapes. The Fuji left me cold ergonomically, and in terms of color rendering, and I REALLY missed my Nikon lenses.




Feb 02, 2022 at 09:19 PM
Brian Woolf
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Winter in Death Valley


It is always a pleasure to see your work, very beautiful.
Brian



Feb 03, 2022 at 12:17 PM
kdacharya
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Winter in Death Valley


what a lovely series, Dan. Hard to pick a fav, but the 1st would be the one for sure. voted.


Feb 04, 2022 at 11:21 AM
Derek Weston
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Winter in Death Valley


Great series here. Hard to pick. Probably enjoy the "mountain candids" since they're so unique.

Out of curiosity what sort of focal length were these at? 70-200 range, or further out?

Thanks.



Feb 04, 2022 at 01:38 PM
gdanmitchell
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Winter in Death Valley


Thanks for all of your comments since I last checked in!

Derek asked about about focal length. Although I carry lenses covering 16mm to 400mm (and longer with a TC), on this trip I never used a lens shorter than a 70-200mm and most often was using a 100-400mm. I know — that's not supposed to be a "landscape lens," but sometimes it is right for what I'm doing. There are several situations where the long lenses work well for me with these subjects.

1. I like picking out small elements of the larger landscape, and sometimes they are simply in inaccessible locations — e.g. there would be no way to get closer and use a shorter FL. For example, some of the photographs here of the Panamint Range and that last photograph of the eroded gully.

2. The narrow angle-of-view from longer focal lengths lets me limit the width/height of parts of the scene behind the main subject and let those backgrounds go softer via DOF limits. See the creosote photographs for examples.

3. The light changes very quickly in some of these places, notably in the sand dunes, where I like to photograph in the moments right around sunrise and sunset and on the boundary between light and shadow. I can't move quickly enough from place to place in those dynamic conditions, and a productive alternative is to work from some distance, use longer focal lengths, and focus on short-term effects as they occur across the landscape. Some of the dune "light and shadow" photographs here are examples of that.

4. I often leave the sky out of my landscape compositions — unless there is something special about the sky conditions — and the narrow angles-of-view of long focal lengths allow me to do that in more situations. The first photograph is a good example. I photographed from some distance, with the camera aimed up from my position, and was just barely able to keep sky out of the composition.

I'm continuing to work on photographs from this visit and I may share a second set before long.

Again, thanks.

Dan



Feb 04, 2022 at 01:50 PM
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