I really REALLY wanted a Dunes image from Death Valley. Especially after my travel buddy Steve ran over the tarantula that I was going to use as my FG comp. Ok... in fairness I took us on a road that was so bad, 3 off-road motorcycles in front of us turned around. Well thanks to my navigational failures, we missed The Racetrack, so I guess we are even. I just knew that without getting a sunrise shot of a Dune, I would go away from Death Valley empty handed.
So we selected our respective Dunes and waited for sunrise. When dawn broke, it became obvious that this was going to be a special morning in the desert. An EPIC sunrise unfolded; pinks, oranges, reds, and purples were just ripping across the sky. I settled into my shot... and realized I was facing completely the wrong way. I scurried forward about 50 yards to find a comp where the lines went into the sun, and quickly realized that it was worse, so I went back to my camera. It then dawned on me that I had just stomped footprints through my comp. Sigh. So I began to run. Up dunes, down dunes, through dunes, trying desperately to find a good comp that faced the exploding sky and was devoid of foot prints. Steve Turner was perched high atop some dune, completely unmoving. I knew I was in trouble. Finally as the sun was rising, I just turned and started shooting a worthless series of shots that I knew I would trash.
Absolutely devastated and exhausted, with lenses, bags, and my water bottle all in varies sections of Death Valley, I retreated in defeat. Then I happened to turn around and saw this. I grabbed my camera and scrambled up a ridge... realized I had the wrong lens and scrambled down the ridge. Got my 24-70 and scrambled back up the ridge. Gasped for breath and fired off a few frames. I don't know who this guy was, but I appreciate him climbing that dune for me.
As for Steve, I thoroughly ruined every single image he shot, which made me quite pleased. Of the 100+ images he captured, I was in a different spot in the frame for every single one of them. You're welcome.
Death Valley is a pretty neat place, and one that requires much more exploring. At the time, It was also is a place where you better learn how to make a collect call, because payphones are the only method of communication. I dialed 0 and hoped for the best.