**Click the links below to visit all of my galleries from my Western Trip or to purchase a Seth Berry Photography print:
Yosemite National Park | Death Valley National Park | Sequoia National Park | Kings Canyon National Park
Mono Lake, CA | Bodie, CA | Nevada Deserts | California | San Francisco
Determined to go back to the origin of Clemson's Howard's Rock to obtain a rock to replace the broken off and vandalized piece of the iconic stone that was damaged this summer, we set out west on HWY 160 from Las Vegas to drive to Death Valley, California...
...just kidding...that's not why we decided to go to the hottest place on earth during the middle of the summer. BUT, I did wear my Clemson Death Valley shirt!
Death Valley National Park is a perfect example that beauty comes in different fashions.
A lot of people don't think of going to Death Valley as a fun and exciting vacation trip and are turned off because of, well the name for one, the dangers, extreme heat, dry desert land, and of course the forever fear that your "car will break down in the middle of nowhere". Well, a lot of people miss out.
However, Death Valley National Park was one of the most interestingly beautiful places I've ever seen. With so many different colors and formations of rocks and mountains, endless landscapes, the bright and barren salt flats, and the pattern filled sand dunes - Death Valley is very interesting, beautiful...and HOT!
Also seeing Death Valley in a beauty kind of way serves as a good reflection of God's love for us. Even as sinful, messed up, and imperfect as we are, God still views us as beautiful in His eyes when we turn to Him! I hope these pictures of Death Valley give you examples of how to find beauty in things that otherwise wouldn't seem so beautiful. After all, God created ALL of these beautiful places...I was just able to take the photograph!
But back to the trip, Death Valley is often called the "land of extremes" as it is the hottest, driest, and lowest place on Earth. Needless to say, we didn't do any 9 mile hikes in this National Park, but a little 120 degrees didn't stop us from getting out of the car and exploring Death Valley a little! Death Valley provided some excellent photography subjects, so I think you'll like these pictures! The drive through Death Valley took us all day, with all of our stopping and getting out of the car and the long trip itself. But we eventually made it to Lone Pine, CA where we would sleep for the night - which was a little tiny western movie town...one I really loved and will tell you about in the next blog post!
Below: Made sure we had our car packed full of water for the long desert road! Just in case!
When entering into Death Valley from the East, the first major stop to go see is the iconic Dante's View. You arrive into Death Valley National Park and have to go over the mountain range before you reach the hot Valley. Here are some pictures from Dante's View...such an incredible view of the Valley and Salt Flats down below! (also you can see the road we drove down below in some of the pictures!)
Click through the slideshow below:
Below: Zoomed in shots of the Salt Flats and Valley floor from on top of Dante's View
Below: The thin black line above my Seth Berry Photography logo in the bottom right corner is the road we drove on...to give you perspective!
Below: Check out the cars driving up to Dante's View, they look like micro machines:
I was about to say this was one of my favorite places/viewpoints in Death Valley...but actually all of the places were my favorite! Check out the awesome mountain formations from Zabriskie Point. (We still haven't made it to the Valley floor, this is still driving lower and lower in elevation before we reach the Valley)
To really get an understanding of how big these mountain formations were, check out this first picture of the person in the scene.
Below: Slideshow of Zabriskie Point
So after descending down the mountain range, we reached the Death Valley Furnace Creek visitor center. Of course the most famous thing to get your picture beside in this park is the thermometer! It was no joke that it said it was HOT! A very dry hot though...not like the sticky, humid hot of Columbia. Check out some of the road on the way to the Salt Flats.
BUT, the hottest it got while we were there was registered on our car...120 degrees!! (see below)
The Salt Flats
The Salt Flats was one of the places I was really looking forward to seeing. When doing research on Death Valley before our trip, I didn't think we would really be able to see much of the flats and walk out on them since the heat was going to be extreme. But after seeing how many people were out there, Chris and I put a bottle of water in our pockets and went out as far as we could go! You could just feel your legs baking against the bright white ground. But staying out there for too long would really do some damage to your body, so we didn't stay too long.
This is the lowest part in Death Valley and one of the lowest in the world at 282 feet below sea level!
Below: Salt Flats slideshow
Below: Check out the Sea Level sign in the mountain rocks 280 feet above us!
Below: The road to Artist's Palette
This was a VERY interesting place of interest. Check out all of the different colors in the rocks...its just like its name, like paint swatches from an Artist's Palette! Slideshow below....
More Death Valley Scenes along the road before the Sand Dunes!
The Sand Dunes
The western section of Death Valley has the intriguing sand dunes! We hit this section just at the right time because the sun started to make the dramatic shadows on the dunes! This was such an awesome place - another unique part of Death Valley National Park! I also had a fun playing around with Black & White photography in this section since it presented such interesting subjects to shoot in B&W!
First look through the slideshow of color images of the sand dunes below, then check out my Black & Whites!
Below: The fine shadow line in the sand was simply amazing to stand over and see with your own eyes! God is so clever!
Optical Illusion: Check out this photo. Is the shadow casting on a large sand dune in the distance with a bunch of trees? Or is the shadow casting on a small spot of sand beside me with a small shrub? I'll let you decide! Maybe the video will help you out below, or just confuse you....
After all of the walking in the sand, we had to dump out our shoes full of sand!
The Road Out of Death Valley
After our day in Death Valley, we drove up into the mountain range to exit the Valley and travel to the next town - Lone Pine, California. We saw an awesome sunset as we were driving out of Death Valley.
The significant thing about Lone Pine, California is that the little tiny western movie town lies right below the tallest mountain in the US - Mount Whitney! We weren't able to see Mount Whitney when we arrived except for its silhouette. But you'll LOVE the photos I got of it the next morning!
But first check out the last photos from our drive out of Death Valley to end Day 2.
Below: This is the moon over the Mount Whitney mountain range (The High Sierras!) Simply awesome!
Before we went to bed in our hotel in Lone Pine, Robbie and I noticed how awesome the stars looked since we were practically in the middle of nowhere. After going to the hotel pool (which was very cold, ironically, after one of the hottest days in my life), I took my tripod and went out into a field beside our hotel and got this awesome picture of the Milky Way....this is just a sneak peak of what's to come in Yosemite and Sequoia! :)
Isn't God amazing!
Stay tuned for my next blog post on Day 3 as we make our way toward YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK!