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Vamos a la Playa - The Racetrack, Death Valley National Park, California | by Jim Patterson Photography
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Vamos a la Playa - The Racetrack, Death Valley National Park, California

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Here's another shot from my recent trip to Death Valley. Before that epic sunrise at Badwater, Kendra and I had an amazing light show on New Year's Eve at the Racetrack.


The Racetrack is an old lake bed, a playa, long since dried up. The road here is, well, it's interesting. So much has been said about the road to the Racetrack. "You need 4WD", "you need high clearance". Well, not really. If you have plenty of time, you could make the drive in a Yugo. The washboard sections sucked, but if you watch your speed and don't drive like an idiot, you should be fine. Speaking of idiots, I couldn't believe how many people were tempting fate driving much faster than their beat up 1989 sedan should be going on such a road. Whoever you were, I hope you made it out ok.


The ranger at the visitor center said we'd have no problem in my truck and he kindly asked us not to walk on the playa if it had recently rained. Footprints last for years, and we did see a few trails made by humans once we got there. Bad tourists! Speaking of bad tourists...well, let's just say it was a trend. I've got plenty of "bad tourist" stories for anyone who's interested.


We spent our afternoon walking from the south end up to the Grandstand, a large dark rock formation. It seemes so close, but damn if that playa didn't seem to go on forever. We made our way back towards the south end for sunset. I found an area with two different rock/trail patterns I liked and settled in for quite the light shot.


Not a bad way to end 2009!


Nikon D300

Nikkor 12-24mm @ 15mm

30sec @ f13, ISO 100

Singh Ray Gold-N-Blue Polarizer

Singh-Ray 3 Stop Reverse GND fillter

Lee .6 Hard Stop GND Filter

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Taken on December 31, 2009