Wait a minute, where did 2023 go? It's been a whirlwind year, indeed. Life, as it unfolds, brought its share of tragedy, trials, and many moments of sheer joy. As the adage goes, 'without darkness, there is no light,' and this year profoundly embodied that sentiment. This held true not just in my personal life but in my photography as well.
In typical fashion, I fell behind on my backlog of images. It wasn’t until this fall that I gained some traction. I managed to release a gallery of fall photos, but the story of our latest trip to Death Valley is for another time. For now, I'll share just a few images from this extraordinary journey, saving the rest for later. Suffice it to say, Death Valley was exceptionally generous to us. The subjects and conditions were nothing short of incredible, and the healing embrace of the land was much needed after a challenging year.
The image above might raise some eyebrows. Wasn't the Racetrack road closed during the Geminids meteor shower? Indeed, it was. However, due to the flooding-induced closures, the park initiated a special program to support the affected guides, granting access to existing CUA holders through a 'Closed Road CUA' issued by the NPS. Most roads are now open, but having the Racetrack to ourselves for this event was an unforgettable experience. Despite the chilly night, dropping to 18 degrees Fahrenheit, my 0-degree sleeping bag kept me comfortably warm as I watched the meteors.
In creating the image above, I took some creative liberties to capture the essence of the experience. To clarify, this image is a composite, featuring all the large meteors I captured throughout the night. Each meteor was carefully rotated to align with the radiant point in the sky. These were then superimposed onto a background image, where I employed a fog filter to accentuate the constellations, particularly Orion. The foreground of the image is a twilight exposure, taken in the early morning hours.
A note on the Racetrack: the flooding unfortunately erased many of the iconic tracks left by the moving rocks. The water lingered long enough to soften and reset large areas of the playa. Although a few tracks remain, as seen in the image, they are a mere shadow of their former glory.
I have much more to share, but time is pressing as we leave for our winter workshop in Yellowstone tomorrow. I look forward to bringing back new stories and images from this adventure as well.
I wish you all a Happy New Year!