The Devil’s Golf Course of Death Valley
Spending time in Death Valley National Park was an overwhelmingly creative experience. I think it is for many artists because it is one of the most beautiful and strangely diverse landscapes in America. This is the fourth of several posts about life in Death Valley.
Some of the “regulars” who photograph Death Valley National Park do not recommend the Devil’s Golf Course highly, so I almost left it off my list. I’m very glad I didn’t. What looks like a field of irregular boulders is actually a mud flat tortured by the climate and weather. This salt-encrusted landscape was the most alien and unworldly place I went to in Death Valley.
How I Did It – Photographing the early twilight and dawn means you need to stumble around in the dark with heavy camera gear. In an area like this it would be easy to break your leg in one of the deep ruts, so it is very important to have a good head lamp to find your way.
How I Did It – I’ve was working on this third image of the Devil’s Golf Course when I stumbled on some of Edward Weston’s amazing black and white photographs of Death Valley. I have been very caught up in the amazing range of color in Death Valley, but Weston’s Photographs reminded me that the area also has stunning textures and tonal range too. It is good to find inspiration that helps you look at things a little differently and expand your vision.
The white “frosting” on the rocks looks like ice or snow but it is salt. This area in Death Valley is slightly higher in elevation than the rest of the basin so it is not smoothed out by water accumulation. This is a tough area to walk around in, and one can imagine trying to navigate it with a horse or by walking before the roads were there. By the way, it really isn’t a golf course, but you can imagine how it got its name.
More Death Valley to come!
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I Love the look and feel of the textures, looks rough and scary?
Thanks Lou. It was a little scary. Tough to walk on and I kept imagining that some alien creature would pop out of one of the holes.
It reminds me of a trip we did to the Karoo here in the Western Cape to a place called Bizzansgat on the forgotten road. There were four of us in my pick up filled with bicycles and beer and the directions to this farm house was as follows. From the police station in Ceres its exactly 100 kms on dirt to the farmhouse, then on the left hand side there is a big rock. Turn left and you will come out at the farm house. When we stopped for a you know what break(beer will do that to you) it was on this desolate road and the silence was of the deafening kind. Once I switched the lights off, you could not see you hand in front of your eyes. It was eerie to say the least. I honestly would have hated to be alone. Zero noise, zero light. Ha and once we got to 100 kms we could not find the rock and luckily spotted the guys we were meeting making a fire. I cycled down to the entrance the next morning to look for this big rock……it was the size of a soccer ball……Karoo humour:-) http://www.pbase.com/rudi65/the_karoo
Just a reminder it was with my sony F707 camera a very long time ago.
Wow Rudi, Bizzansgat is a very intriguing looking place and the story is great. I love the directions you had and it’s amazing you made it there. Here in the New Jersey Pine Barrens we are often given directions like turn at the oak tree. It works if you know which oak tree. If I ever make it to South Africa, you are going to have to explain Karoo humour to me.
Great call on deciding to check out the Devil’s Golf Course. Wonderful and so unique. I love all of the images but I think the B&W works especially well with this rugged landscape.