Death Valley Time-Lapse: From Tecopa to Dante's View

This past full moon I did 2 nights of shooting in the Mojave Desert, followed by being guest instructor at the Nocturnes Death Valley workshop. I'm still processing the RAW files, but was anxious to put together this time-lapse experiment from the drive into Valley from Tecopa. I highly recommend soaking at Tecopa Hot Springs on the way into Death Valley from Baker, and Pastels Bistro serves up what is quite possibly the best food in the Mojave Desert.

The time-lapse video captures the 70 mile drive down Highway 127 from Tecopa  through Shoshone, down to Death Valley Junction (Amargosa), and down Highway 190, and then up to Dante's view. At almost 6000 feet in elevation, Dante's View looks out over the Badwater Basin, the lowest point in the U.S. at -282 feet below sea level. On a clear day you can see Mt. Whitney, the tallest point in the continental U.S., and only about 100 miles away from the lowest point.

The music is by Souled American, from their first album Fe, which is what we were listening to during this portion of the drive. For fans of Uncle Tupelo and other alt-country bands that haven't heard Souled American, you're in for a treat. Aquarius Records in San Francisco is the best place to pick up all four of their fantastic albums.

Many thanks to photographer Hunter Luisi for rolling on this adventure. I hope to feature some of his innovative long exposure night time HDR work from the trip once the processing is done.

Time-lapse technical details: A Ricoh GRD II point and shoot camera was used on manual exposure, cloudy white balance, zone focused, and set to record an image every 5 seconds. The camera was mounted on an OmniPod Camo-Pro7 Beanbag. The 1127 images were identically processed in Adobe Lightroom 3, and then exported as 720 pixel jpegs at 150KB each. The time-lapse was created in Quicktime 7 Pro by simply going to the File menu and choosing Open Image Sequence, and selecting the first image in the folder. Please note that Quicktime X does not have this feature. If you're running Snow Leopard, you can install Quicktime 7 from your OS 10.6 DVD. The resulting video was saved and imported into iMovie where the titles and music were added. iMovie's YouTube sharing feature was used for uploading.