Death Valley – A Journey to a Visual Mecca


There is no shortage of stunning places in North America and Kasia and I have hunted out many fantastic landscapes. Despite our travels, no other landscape has made such a profound visual and emotional impact on us as Death Valley. It is a visual Mecca for those who find beauty in remote, strange and rare places.

Death Valley is in California’s Mojave Desert. It is the lowest, driest and hottest place in North America. Death Valley holds the highest air temperature ever recorded on earth: 56.7 C.

While planning our trip, Death Valley was last on our list (after the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Route 66 and San Francisco). The only reason for that was efficiency and logistics. Since we had never visited Death Valley before, our intention was to soak up the atmosphere and gaze at the landscape.

Given that we entered the Death Valley National Park from the east, we stopped by Rhyolite Ghost Town.




After taking a few photographs of the ruins, we stayed for the night at Stovepipe Wells Village. The weather forecast for the next day was not encouraging and the day turned out rainy and windy. Despite that, we decided to wake up early and hope for the best.

A stormy morning provided us with drama and occasional pockets of great light. However, the weather was deteriorating by the minute.







After visiting a few spots we decided to head west toward Sierra Mountains – a visual gem on its own.




Our first short encounter with this special place made such an impression on us that we are already planning our next, much longer trip to this area.

All images were taken with the Fuji X100T and Fuji X-T1 paired with XF 14mm F2.8 and XF 50-140 F2.8 and processed in LR5. Despite the deteriorating weather, we managed to keep taking photos with the Fuji X-T1 and XF 50-140 F2.8 – both weather sealed.





Copyright © 2015 Olaf & Kasia Sztaba Photography. All rights reserved.

21 thoughts on “Death Valley – A Journey to a Visual Mecca

  1. Hi Olaf, I take the opportunity to say that it was partly your photos made with the X-Pro1 that drew me into the system. Some of the best I have seen with the X- cameras. These here are also very interesting, but I still feel that the color response of the X-T1 is quite different from the original X-Pro1 and X-E1. I hope Fuji will return to this “classic Fuji look” – do you see that difference as well?
    Thanks again for many of your excellent photos.

  2. Nice pictures but I find your style changed since you have the XT-1. Your pictures had more personality when you had the XPRO1.

  3. Wonderful images, I’m just getting acquainted with the desert and starting to spend some time out in Joshua Tree. Your work is a great inspiration, thanks for sharing! Looking forward to seeing what I can manage with my XT1.

  4. Yet another series of incredible images. While I recognize how rude it is to continually say “you should have gone here” or “you should have gone there” I also note that you visit many of my very favorite places. So, what control can I have? 😉
    Amargosa, Amargoso Opera House, Marta Becket.

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