Thursday, March 7, 2013

Day 186 - Titus Canyon, Death Valley

(Click any photo to enlarge.)

Entering Titus Canyon
Today was a day when things just did not go well.  First of all, it was very windy.  Our plan was to go to the Ubehebe Volcanic Craters, and then on to the Race Track.  We stopped before the craters to photograph yellow bushes against the black volcanic sand, and that is where we first encountered a pair of ravens.

Cactus in landscape
At the crater, which was amazing to see, it was so windy we could not stand still long enough to take a photo, even with a tripod.  We abandoned that site and headed out on the road to the Race Track.  The road was in rough shape, so we only made it about 2 miles at 15 mph, before turning around.  There were still 25 miles to go, so the trip would have taken over two hours.  However, there were some fantastic cacti in the rocky landscape, so we did photograph some of them before leaving. 

On the way back to the main road, the ravens were following us, landing on the side of the road in front of us, and then taking off into the wind to sail on the gusts in front of our cars.

My little rock cairn
Plan B was to head for Titus Canyon, knowing that the high walls would shield us from the wind.  It did so, perfectly.  We arrived at 1:30, and were given a time of 3:30 to return to the cars.  For two hours we walked in the canyon, finding it challenging to make a different photo out of rocks and more rocks and occasional green bushes.

My plan was to travel light through the canyon, knowing I would not need a big telescoping lens, so my little Nikon P7100, which I have used every day since September 3, was my camera of choice.  I wanted to be able to get in close to the rocks as needed.

Shadows on canyon walls
Along the way, the ravens continued to tease us, sailing high above, landing on the rocks and soaring above the impossibly high canyon walls.  The only other sounds we heard were those of fighter jets circling high above on training runs.

Green bush, gray rocks
At 2:40 I turned around to return back down the canyon, and disaster struck.  My little camera died!  "Lens error!" is all it will show on the back panel.  The lens tries and tries to retract and expand when I turn it on, but it seems good and truly stuck.  I don't know if it is suffering from overuse (averaging 50 photos a day since September 3) or if grit and sand have gotten into the retraction mechanism.  Either way, I am mourning the loss of this great little camera.

I will buy another one, as soon as I am home to receive a UPS delivery, because it has served me so well.  I will send "old faithful" off for repair, so that it can be my backup walking camera, if anything like this happens again.

Rock detail
My raven companion
According to this site, "If a raven guide has appeared in your life and spoken to you, turn your focus inward, it is time for a change."  It also said, "They are commonly associated with bringing bad omens, tidings of death, sorrow, and destruction."  I suppose the raven was foretelling the end of my Nikon P7100.  And, as it turns out, I also ordered a new Nikon DSLR camera this morning, to replace my aging Nikon D300. 

I hope that my suppositions are true, and that nothing more dire needs to change.  Learning new cameras will be enough of a change, for now.


Visit my photography show, "My Maryland," at the public library in Urbana, Maryland, on the lower level of the building.  It is there until the end of April.

Hurricane Sandy Relief: Donate to the Red Cross, and I will mail you a 5 x 7 print from any of the photos I have posted on my blog OR any photo on my website.

Forward to me via email a receipt for donating to the Red Cross. Tell me whether the photo is from the blog or the website, and Include its title along with a mailing address. The name on the receipt to the Red Cross must match the name of the mailing recipient. Send the receipt and the photo request to

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Cam's rules for the Daily Photo Walk:
  1. walk every day
  2. the walk must be in addition to any other planned activity for the day
  3. post a photo every day
  4. use my Nikon P7100 (it is a very convenient size and weight)
  5. no weather excuses
  6. walk only where it is safe to do so

1 comment:

  1. Sorry about your old faithful camera. The post is good and interesting nevertheless. Thanks!