Get down and dirty!

Most of us don’t like lying down in the dirt, especially when little creatures are about; then we have to get back up!
Think of it this way, kids do it all the time and we are always looking for ways to stay young. So, if you get down and back up again you will be younger!

No matter what your inspiration is when it comes to photography, all of us seem to be inspired to take good pictures, even to the extent that we will do things we normally won’t, including lying down in the dirt with the critters.

Death Valley can be intimidating to first-time visitors, especially if they are geared up to make beautiful landscape pictures. The valley stretches over 100 miles from North to South and is about 5 to 15 miles wide in most places. The valley floor sinks below sea level and the mountains soar to over 11 thousand feet in elevation. Everything is large and far away. To drive from Furnace Creek Ranch, a popular location to stay, it is 30 minutes to the Mesquite Sand Dunes. If you are staying at Stove Pipe Wells another slightly more rustic location to stay, the drive to Bad Water is about 40 minutes. In between these locations is nothing but desert. Or is it?

I just spent about five days in Death Valley giving a photography workshop and one of the bonus features of the valley this year was the unusual amount of wildflowers. Because the flowers are sparser than most fields of flowers they are difficult to photograph when approached. In fact, they almost disappear because they are up to 5 and 10 feet apart from each other. We passed out towels and recommended that everyone lie down and view the flowers from inches off the desert floor. As intriguing as the flowers became at that point of view, what many commented on was just how many other unusual things they noticed. From tiny bugs to stripped rocks everyone began looking down at everything when we walked anywhere. The valley was truly alive, it was just on a different scale. It looked like a different world when everyone started showing images of bugs, flowers, and tiny tracks across the dunes. Not only were these fascinating, but, placed against the backdrop of the large valley, very interesting images emerged.

If you ever get stuck thinking there are no images to be made, just get down, get on your belly, and get dirty!

Life is so very short. Take pictures of it!

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Attempting to capture the strength, beauty, and feel of a location is difficult. But, this is the challenge that keeps us intrigued with landscape photography.