Death Valley Racetrack Revisited

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John Strock
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Death Valley Racetrack Revisited
3 months ago

I drug my D800 back out to the Racetrack Playa in Death Valley last week.  I originally went there for the first time this past January, but there were only a few small rocks on the dry part of the playa and the rest of the rocks were submerged in water.

What a difference a few months makes.  I was stunned at how many rocks had trails when the whole playa is dry and you can see and approach them all.  I have read about the many theories on how the rocks move accross the mud so I was very interested to see if the theories I read about were supported by the trails I was able to find.  I am not the best detective so it probably is not any surprise that I could not determine how the trails were made.  It seemed the trails provided more proof against the theories than for, but it was a blast walking all over the playa and taking it all in.

Sadly, there were many areas where people walked out to see the rocks when they were either still in the water or surrounded by wet mud and their footprints are now grafitti on an otherwise beautiful and wonderful place for a long time to come.

I took all the images with the Nikon 24-120 and was pleased with its performance.  However, I did not change lenses out there, but there was a lot of dust on my sensor by the end of the shoot.  I will have to get that checked. I was there just after sunrise and a very strong wind started blowing about an hour after I got there.

There was one area of the playa that had a whole bunch of small dents in the mud.  They didn't look like footprints, but I am wondering if that what footprints look like after being smoothed down from time and water.  Here is a shot where you can see some of these divits:

The area with these dents was about half a football field in size and the dents did not appear to be in any lines that would indicate they were caused from footprints.  Just another mystery

In case you were wondering I drove my own SUV out there.  The road was rougher this time than when I was here in January.  One vehicle had a flat while I was there and another was left abandoned on the road with the whole wheel ripped off and uder the car...  I do not know what they were doing to cause that much damage, but you should be able to make the 27 mile dirt road journey and a vehicle that has decent clearance and thick truck like tires (not low profile).

I have several images from the playa in a gallery here if you are interested:  http://strockphotography.com/p346610878

C&C welcomed on the images from the gallery.  I would also like to hear from anyone who knows anything about the divits/dents shown in the above image.

-
John
www.strockphotography.com

Nikon D800
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