Photo: "Hey There Manly Beacon!"

After setting up my tripod at the top of the hill with the rest of my group, I decided I wasn't happy with my perspective. Since I shot sunrise from that same spot during the last trip, with a nice sky, I decided I wanted a new angle.

I began the decent into the canyon half an hour before sunrise, stopping along the way to take shots from various angles and not realizing that I had walked so far until the Manly Beacon was directly to my right. I suddenly realized the walk back to the car would be much farther than I had anticipated. 

Photo: "Things That Go Bump In the Night"

Car near Aguaberry Mine Camp, Death Valley

On our first evening in Death Valley last month, we ventured out to shoot a mine camp. It was the first time I had been shooting at night in a few months, so I was feeling a bit out of practice, but it was amazing being out under the stars again.

(Technical: This is a blend of two images, one exposed for the sky, the other for the light painting and car.)

Photo: "Mine at 1,000 Feet"

Within the first 3 years of operation, 11,000 tons of ore, comprised of 15% lead, was mined here in Death Valley and hauled by tractor-drawn trucks for 45 miles, before being  transported by rail. After dumping the ore, the trucks brought water back to the mine. 

The mine remained in operation for another 46 years, but only yielded another 5,000 tons during that time. 

Travel Companions: When You Get It Right

In the past three years, I took my first trip to the East Coast (and returned six more times), took my first trip to the Southern US, Portland and made two trips to Death Valley all in the name of photography. I have traveled with friends I've known for years and sometimes jumped in the car to drive hundreds of miles to hang out with dozens of people I've never met before. I can honestly say, I have been incredibly lucky to find such awesome travel companions. 

On the most recent trip to Death Valley, I travelled for the first time with +Brian Matiash, +Brian Bonham, +Ricardo Lagos and +Matt Kloskowski (whom I met when we arrived.) Over the last year, I have developed friendships with them online and in person, so I knew this trip would be a blast. The reason it worked so well had to do with us having a similar sense of humor and not taking anything too seriously. I find that to be a very important aspect of the relationships I create. If we don't laugh together, it just won't work.

Life is far too short to spend time not hanging out with the people who make you laugh so hard your stomach hurts.