Death Valley Landscapes: Mesquite Dunes, Badwater Basin and more

Death Valley is a truly unique National Park. It features the lowest, driest, and hottest locations in North America and is surrounded by mountains that rise to over 11,000 feet. Covering about 3,000 square miles, it’s larger than Yellowstone, and offers a wide variety of amazing photographic opportunities.

This workshop focuses on the core locations in Death Valley, all within a short drive of our home base at Furnace Creek Ranch. From Mesquite Dunes, down to Badwater Basin, we’ll cover a lot of ground. Mesquite Dunes at sunrise is an incredible show, as the early, pre-dawn light plays across the dune forms, to the sun breaking the horizon, and hitting the mountains that surround the dunes. Badwater Basin, at 300 feet below sea level features an amazing salt pan with incredible shapes formed by the salt crust. Standing in that basin, below sea level, you can cast your gaze up to Telescope Peak, which towers over the basin at 11,000 feet above sea level. 

Of course we’ll hit Zabriskie Point and photograph the iconic Manly Beacon, part of the larger mudstone formation that is Golden Canyon. Nearby is an incredible sunrise location, in 20 Mule Team Canyon, which winds it way through soft, eroding sediments, forming beautiful folds and layers, perfect for photographing large, landscape images, or closer details of the rock layers and colors.

Dante’s View offers a stunning view from about 5,400 feet above Badwater Basin. The view looks northward, up the valley back towards Furnace Creek. It’s a dramatic view and especially so at sunset.

You’ll be guided by Michael Strickland, who has a deep passion for Death Valley, and our resident geologist, Karl Mueller. Karl will deepen our understanding of what it is that we are looking at and standing on, as he tells the stories of the forces that shaped Death Valley. You’ll even learn that Death Valley isn’t technically a valley, at all!

We promise you tons of instruction, inspiration, and fun. We’ll also have plenty of time for creative critiques and post-processing sessions, going over composition, technique, and image processing. 

Muench Workshops is an Authorized Permittee of the National Park Service.


Death Valley, CA




January 28–February 1, 2019

Fitness Level:

Moderate—short walks on uneven ground,
climb sand dunes


Limited to 5 guests


January 28, 2019: We’ll meet at 2:30 PM at Furnace Creek Ranch (exact location TBD), so that we can check-in and catch the sunset at Zabriskie Point at 5:00 PM. We’ll have dinner afterwards, up at Furnace Creek Inn.

January 29, 2019: Up early for sunrise at Mesquite Dunes, followed by breakfast at the Ranch. We’ll grab some lunch to eat on the road, and then head out to explore, ending up at Dante’s View for sunset. Dinner back at the Ranch, and then some time for you to cull your images, and start selecting shots for the critique on the following day.

January 30, 2019: Sunrise shoot at 20 Mule Team Canyon, followed by breakfast at the Ranch, and then some time for you to finalize your selections for critique. We meet back up at 11:00 AM in the meeting room for  our critique. Lunch will be served during this session. Finish up at 3:00 PM, with a short break before we head out to shoot sunset in Golden Canyon. This will be a one mile hike down the canyon. We’ll arrange it so that you only have to walk down, taking advantage of the two vehicles. Dinner follows.

January 31, 2019: Sunrise shoot at Badwater Basin, followed by breakfast and a break for you to gather images for critique. Lunch in the meeting room, along with image review/critique. Sunset shoot at Cottonball Basin.

February 1, 2019: Sunrise at Zabriskie Point, followed by breakfast and good-byes.

What’s Included

  • Double occupancy lodging (Single available, just ask)
  • All meals during the workshop
  • All transportation during the workshop
  • Photographic guiding and instruction from two pros
  • Image reviews and post-processing instruction
  • Fun, inspiration and a great time!

Whats Not Included?

Transportation to and from Furnace Creek, CA. Trip and cancellation insurance. Items of a personal nature. Alcoholic beverages. Anything not specifically listed as included.

Payment Terms

Your deposit of $1,500 is due at sign up and will hold your space in the workshop. The balance of $1,995 is due by October 1, 2018. All of our standard terms and conditions apply. Need special payment arrangements for your deposit? No problem, just ask us.

Additional Information

Death Valley is a true stunner, uniquely beautiful in so many ways. If you want to join us as we explore this incredible National Park, click the SIGN ME UP! button and we'll see you in the desert!