We had great conditions for my Yosemite in Spring photography workshop in May, 2017: mixed weather with morning fog, brief rain to created mist alongside Yosemite’s granite monoliths, clouds to decorate sunrise, “moonbow” lunar rainbows at night, a rainbow in Bridalveil Fall that I anticipated from the sun elevation and compass direction, blooming dogwood trees and wildflowers, waterfalls, creeks in high spring flow, and so much more. Of course all of this needed to be experienced from the right vantage point at the right time of day.
…If you don't mind getting up in the middle of the night! Fortunately the Milky Way rise time moves earlier in the night each month, until it gets downright reasonable and is in the sky after evening twilight for my night photography workshops from June through October.
I’ve photographed over two dozen wildflower species in Death Valley National Park so far this month. April should bring even more acreage and species on line, to deliver a well above average year in the park for wildflowers.
The quantity and diversity of wildflowers may not be the most interesting aspect however. Last year’s superbloom delivered a bumper crop of seeds, which multiplied the rodent population, and that has resulted in more sidewinder rattlesnakes than I’ve seen in the park before. I followed a couple of the tracks, but was not able to catch up with any of the snakes.
If you visit the park this spring, watch where you step!
See more of my wildflower photos from Death Valley in my Album 3/21/17.
So far I’m planning two Death Valley trips for spring wildflowers, two more in the fall:
Mar 1 – 5 – Death Valley Spring Landscapes & Night Photography – enroll:$1195 We’ll have all the normal wonders of Death Valley, plus the 2017 bloom. I’ve been watching the rainfall pattern and I’m visiting the park in January and February to confirm where the wildflowers will be growing best at this time. The travel day will be February 28, then we’ll shoot March 1 – 5. There will be some moonlight in the evenings, and Milky Way available before dawn.
Mar 22 – 26 – Death Valley Spring Landscapes & Night Photography – $1195 Like the early March session, we’ll have exotic landscapes plus wildflowers, and the Milky Way will be up in the morning if you want to capture it! The wildflowers will be blooming in different areas for this visit.
Nov 16 – 19 – Death Valley Landscape & Night Photography – Leonid Meteor Shower I’ve been chasing photos of meteor showers for ages. Come see how it’s done! This is a landscape photography workshop, with the bonus of a sky show at night. More details coming soon.
Dec 9 – 13 – Death Valley Landscape & Night Photography – Geminid Meteor Shower In my opinion, Death Valley is the best place to catch the year’s most active meteor shower. Join me for a landscape photography workshop with flying burning rocks at night! Details coming soon.
I live 3 hours from the park, and I’ve been exploring Death Valley several times per year for eleven years! If you can’t join me but want to explore the park, my 320-page guidebook “Photographing California Vol. 2 – South” includes 40+ locations in Death Valley.
After the "super moon" rise at Mono Lake last month, I stayed to get a blue hour photo of these tufa rock formations, back-lit by the light of the full moon. I entered this and several other photos in the annual calendar contest conducted by the +Mono Lake Committee… fingers crossed!
Mono Lake / Eastern Sierra Workshop Last Week As I did most of the summer, I held an Eastern Sierra workshop adjacent to my Bodie workshop last weekend, so people could see more of the area and get some practice with night photography before getting to Bodie on Sunday. Summer evenings are often windy, but that doesn't mean that you can't get good sunset shots!
At lest a couple of dozen photos from the July 29 night photography workshop are included in the Bodie Photography Workshops album. Torrential rains came to town at 3 pm, just as many workshop participants were leaving town to join us for a pre-workshop dinner at Virginia Creek Settlement. The rain cleared the air of smoke from California's wildfires, then the clouds added to the drama in the sky through golden hour and into sunset, but as often happens, quickly broke up for night photography. It was perfect photography workshop weather!