A Tale of Two Desert Experiences

She Loves Me: When Mother Nature Shines Favorably…

Back in February, when I visited Death Valley and the surrounding desert areas, I didn’t realize how fortunate I was that the weather cooperated  perfectly. During the day, the temperature was mainly in the low 70s. At night, the thermometer dipped down to the mid-forties and then to the mid-thirties by first light.

Best of all, the days were largely windless, save for an infrequent gust hitting 10 mph, and for the most part, I was easily able to change lenses without fear of sand and other debris getting on the sensor and other parts of my camera bodies.

The still conditions not only made life easy but contributed to the sense of timelessness in many of the photos from the trip. Some of these images will appear in my next exhibition, “H20 Extremes,” which juxtaposes photos of the desert with photos of Iceland. (If you’re near Boston, I hope you can make the reception on May 3 at Drinkwater’s, 2067 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, Massachusetts.) The video below provides a preview of the images that will be on display. (Note: The images in the show were produced by Digital Silver Imaging, which specializes in  custom fine art printing and framing. Highly recommended.)

She Loves Me Not: When Nature Doesn’t Shine Favorably… 

How different things can be when the weather doesn’t play so nicely. Several weeks ago, a friend and fellow photographer, Don Hurzeler, told me about his upcoming trip to the desert. It sounded great. Don and his wife, Linda, also an accomplished photographer and his partner in Lava Light Galleries (Kailua Kona, Hawaii), had planned to spend a week exploring the dunes and various canyons. I was envious until I got this email:

“We got blown off the face of the earth in Death Valley…60 mile an hour wind gusts, higher in the canyons. It will take me a month to clean my gear. I saw a car door blown off the car and a guy whose leg was crushed and probably broken by a car door slamming shut.  We had several inches of sand inside our unit at the hotel…and no power one night. Sand was in the air…everywhere. It was pretty much a disaster so we cut the trip short.”

The conditions must have been REALLY dreadful for Don to vote for cutting his trip short — his photo explorations often involve getting close to lava spewing volcanoes, swimming with sharks, and taking night forays onto cliffs that simply stop at the edge of an abyss.  You can see samples of Don and Linda’s stunning work here.

Oh, and as I would expect, Don concluded his message on an upbeat note: “Will just have to redo the trip soon!”

I admire Don’s attitude. When I go back to the Death Valley (hopefully, early next year), I’ll be grateful for every day that doesn’t toss an epic sandstorm into my camera.

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