Where We Go: Photographing in Death Valley National Park takes you and your photography to new extremes. While the area is usually talked about in terms of record heat (136 degrees), or North America’s lowest elevation (282 feet below sea level), it’s also a wonderland for landscape photographers. Within its three million acres exist infinite spectacular possibilities to capture the interplay between otherworldly landscape and dramatic morning and evening light. From the Alabama Hills you can photograph Mt. Whitney, the tallest point in the contiguous U.S. Then head to the other extreme at Badwater, the Continent’s lowest point. Capture the quirky town of Darwin before heading to Aguereberry Point, where you catch sunset’s deepening hues over Death Valley.
What You Learn: Learning to photograph an environment as dynamic as Death Valley requires an instructor just as dynamic. Enter Doug Johnson, one of RMSP’s most beloved teachers. From a comfortable classroom, Johnson provides insightful lectures on working in environments that can harm your equipment, taking care of yourself in the field, using the Zone system for color, and conveying a sense of scale in your landscape images. During location shoots—held when both the light and the temperature are enjoyable—Johnson provides oneon- one assistance and technique tips. During constructive critique sessions in the classroom, you benefit from Doug’s well-trained eye and seeing the work of your classmates.
Considerations: You should be comfortable with the manual exposure operation of your camera. Be prepared to hike up to three miles on moderate trails and steep sand dunes.