While on my trip to the states I really fell in love with the desert in the spring. Never realised that it has its own sense of space, peace, isolation amd smell, even when you just step out of the car and walk for about 30 seconds, the silence is deafening.
I especially loved Death Valley, the spring is such a fantastic time to go, the heat is not unbearable, in fact it was a pleasant surprise compared to the coldness, frost and snow experienced in Yosemite a few days before. In fact Yosemite is only about a 6 hour drive away – assuming the road is open due to snow on the high sierra pass right up to May or June. We had to go the long way round in April via Bakersfield and Barstow, looping south below the Sequoia National forset.
Somebody once described to me that Bakersfield and Barstow were the armpits of California, and although there may be less to do there than in some other Californian cities we noticed a strong sense of pride in these cities. The pavements were immaculately clean (unlike the UK) and the grass beautifully manicured.
Back to Death Valley, where from there you can find the lowest, the highest, the hottest and the driest. The view from Zabriskies peak is awesome and unbelievably accessible. You really get up close and personal and for photography, there isnt an essence of that UV haze that you get when photographing places like the Grand Canyon. Badwater basin is a must place to go to, the lowest place on the western hemisphere, you really must walk out onto the salt flats, which again are accessible from the road. Right near there is Artists drive, a spectacular explosion of colour amongst the rocks.
One of my regrets about the trip was not being able to shoot a band out in the desert, I think somebody would have really benefited.