StormEffects

 Death Valley National Park

California

All Photographs Brian & Nancy Morganti


Death Valley - Southern Region 

March 2010

March 8, 2010

We first experienced Death Valley by entering the park from the south via an unpaved road that exits Highway 127 near Renoville.  Just before we exited 127 we could see the expansive Dumont Dunes to our north, but continued on to the remote Ibex Dunes and the Saratoga Springs area.  We spent the next few hours filming in and around the Saratoga Springs and Ibex Dunes area before continuing our descent northwest into southern Death Valley.  We stopped several times along the way to photograph the wonderful terrain that kept unfolding before us.  We eventually made it as far north as Mormon Point where we lost the final rays of sunlight, but not our final photo ops!  As the sun continued to dip below the mountains to our west a few interesting standing wave clouds began to form overhead, but the best was yet to come.

We then headed back south a bit to Jubilee Pass, which cuts east to the town of Shoshone where Nancy and I would be staying for the night.  We set up our cameras a short distance up the pass and immediately noticed an obvious glow to my west---the Zodiacal Light!  I had almost forgotten about this phenomenon and that it occurs in the hours after sunset each Spring and before sunrise each Fall.  I had filmed it before here in PA, but I had never really seen it.  To see it you need truly dark skies with no light pollution and a moonless night---both of which we had!  This light is caused by meteoric dust rotating around the sun on the same plane as the planets and only becomes visible twice a year when in alignment with the Earth and the sun.  We had fun filming this light for about an hour and then moved farther east to Salsberry Pass at elevation 3315'.  From there the night sky view was simply breathtaking!  The late winter Milky Way stretched fully overhead and the Zodiacal Light could still be seen poking above the western horizon.  The wind and cold were brutal at this elevation for taking photographs,  but the dazzling star-studded night sky made the effort worthwhile.

 


Death Valley - Saratoga Springs Area

 


Death Valley - Saratoga Springs Area

 


Death Valley - Saratoga Springs Area

 


Death Valley - Saratoga Springs Area

 


Death Valley - Saratoga Springs Area

 


Death Valley - Ibex Dunes

 


Death Valley - Ibex Dunes

 


Death Valley - Ibex Dunes

 


Death Valley - Ibex Dunes

 


Death Valley - Southern Region

 


Death Valley - Southern Region

 


Death Valley - Southern Region

 


Death Valley - Southern Region

 


Death Valley - Southern Region

 


Death Valley - Mormon Point

 


Death Valley - Mormon Point

 


Death Valley - Mormon Point

 


Death Valley - Jubilee Pass - First Stars & Lenticular Cloud

 


Death Valley - Jubilee Pass - Rising Big Dipper

 


Death Valley - Jubilee Pass - Zodiacal Light

 


Death Valley - Jubilee Pass - Zodiacal Light

 


Death Valley - Jubilee Pass - Winter Milky Way / Orion / Zodiacal Light

 

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