Death Valley Dirt Road

Death Valley Dirt Road

Death Valley Dirt Road

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Copyright 2016, O. Bisogno Scotti, All Rights Reserved

I love driving dirt roads in my 4×4, the rougher the better and Death Valley National Park has plenty of them. Over a million tourists visit every year, and they’re all taking tons of photos. The best way to find unique scenes is by hitting the dirt roads. I took the above image in 2005, the wettest and best wildflower season in 100 years. I stayed on the dirt roads and ran into only 5-6 other people in five days. From Death Valley I went directly to Carrizo Plain National Monument where the wildflowers were just beginning to peak.

Nikon D1X DSLRAF NIKKOR 50mm f/1.8Dexposure: f/11, 1/80 sec., ISO 125, exposure mode: Aperture Priority (center weighted), Nikkor MC-20 remote cableManfrotto 3221 tripodManfrotto 3047 studio head2003 Nissan Xterra 4×4, capture date and time: 3/13/2005, 3:59 pm

28 thoughts on “Death Valley Dirt Road

    • In looking at this again, and again, I find this surreal in a beautiful way. It does not look like a photograph. It is looks more like a painting.
      How did you achieve this effect?

      Liked by 1 person

      • For one thing painters are very deliberate. Nothing is done in hundredths of a second like photographers do. Painters scrutinize angle, composition, perspective, and direction of the light, keeping the warmest colors in the foreground and cooler colors in the background, more detail in the foreground and less as you go back to the horizon. Photographers can do this too by putting the camera on a tripod and being patient enough to wait for the perfect light, and using all the same tricks to draw the viewer’s eye into the frame. That is why this image looks painterly to you.

        Liked by 1 person

    • This road starts on the Southern border of Death Valley NP. I saw it on the map before I left LA, and became convinced it was the road I wanted to enter the park on. There’s no sign so drive slow and watch for it. 4-wheel drive is a must to make it through deep sand and mud. It turned out to be the longest dirt road I have ever traveled on. This photograph was made around the halfway point…the middle of nowhere!

      There are so many bullet holes in the sign that there is no telling what it used to say.

      Liked by 2 people

      • YIKES!!!!! Both for the middle of nowhere and the bullet holes in the sign!

        Did you continue to the end or did you turn around and go back the way you came?

        Obviously not the place to run out of gas or have a flat tire!


      • I really wanted to drive the whole rode. I was prepared for it. I had a 5 gallon can of water, and 5 gallon can of gas (This was March so I would double that in hot weather). The problem was it was all mud up ahead. I wasn’t afraid of getting stuck. It was that the mud cracking in the sun was so beautiful I didn’t want to disturb it…so I turned around and went back the way I came in.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. You make digital look like film, film look like a painting and round and round it goes…..I really like your description of how it’s done.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Absolutely…well said. Art is art is art…there are certain basic underlying concepts that are consistent no matter what the medium. It really helps to have some understanding of a few of the basic elements in the creation process.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Simon Bowler: Thanks for liking my image “Death Valley Dirt Road”. I moved to California in 1977 and didn’t get to Death Valley National Park until 2005. I’m so glad I did…definitely beats the Reagan Library! 😉


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