Monday, February 11, 2013

Scotty's Castle - Death Valley National Park (Part 5)

At the end of November last year (2012), I took a trip to Death Valley National Park. This is the second trip there in my life. The 1st time I went, I was still a little kid, and I didn't start taking photos yet. This time, I have a pro camera and I am ready to shoot the scenery. Death Valley National Park is known for its "out of this world" scenery, UFO sightings, and many other things. The desert is a very mysterious and beautiful place. In this chain of blog posts, I will be showing you mainly photos of Death Valley National Park, but also photos from surrounding areas like The Mojave Desert, Alabama Hills, and Rhyolite Ghost Town. I have picked out over 400 photos from my trip to show you guys and I will be dividing them into many blog posts. Unlike blog  post chains before, I obviously can't put a link of ever blog post on every single blog post, so instead, I will do the same thing I did for my Yellowstone National Park photos before, by sticking a link of the Next and Previous post on each blog post instead.

Full Resolution Photos and Prints: If you want to see full resolution photos or buy prints of any of the photos you see, they are up on my portfolio for viewing. To see my best work from Death Valley National Park, use this link. To see all of the photos from my Death Valley National Park trip use this link.

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Message from the Photographer: Well this week turns out I will be pretty busy too. Not sure how often I can post. Things coming up, well I know Chinese New Year has passed, but the Chinese New Year parade in San Francisco is THIS Saturday (02-16-2013) (Correction 02-12-2013: the parade is actually on 02-23-2013), not last Saturday (02-09-2013). I will most like go there and take photos. :) I may post them up before I finish my Death Valley National Park photos. So I'll sandwich them between my chain of Death Valley National Park posts like I have done several times in the past. I hope you enjoy! :)

Today I will start on my Scotty's Castle photos. Scotty's Castle or Death Valley Ranch is a historic ranch in Death Valley National Park. The ranch did not belong to Scotty either and there is a really big history behind this. I am not much of a tour guide, so if you want to learn more about this, you can see the description on Wikipedia. If you are visiting Death Valley National Park, this is definitely a great place to visit, and sure gives you a break from the desert scenery! It is quite a long drive on winding roads (they are paved) and no gas is provided at Scotty's Castle so make sure you go prepared! You do have to pay for a tour once you get there, and you may not explore the inside of the castle without a tour guide. I took 70 photos when I was at Scotty's Castle, and will most likely spread them over 7 blog posts with 10 photos in each.

Scotty's Castle from the outside.

Photography Tips for Scotty's Castle: Tripods and big backpacks are not permitted inside Scotty's Castle! They will not be allowed on the tour, however flash photography is permitted. If you do plan on taking some decent photos in Scotty's Castle, make sure you bring a flash! :) Don't count on ambient light inside the castle, the lighting is not good enough for photography. For most of the photos I took indoors for this chain of posts, I used my Canon Speedlite 600EX-RT as a light source! It is a really strong flash and helped me get some real great shots indoors. I know this is going to start to sound like an advertisement, but please read on. LOL So anyways, the 70 shots I will show you guys in this chain of blog posts is only like 1/3 of the photos I actually took inside. I usually take 2-3 shots for each scene in case there is an exposure problem (especially indoors with no tripod), someone walked into the shot, or there is motion blur, so I really took around 200 shots in Scotty's Castle alone. I was shooting almost full power or full power on my flash for most of these photos. I wasn't expecting to finish the photo shoot in Scotty's Castle with just 4 AA batteries. I brought along an extra 4 AA batteries in case the first 4 dies on me. The AA batteries I used in my flash were the new Sanyo Eneloop XX 2500 mAh batteries. Surprisingly enough, not only did 4 of them last me through this photo shoot, it lasted me through half of my photo shoot a day later! Really surprised me! Plus they weren't even fully charged because I used them for a few macro shots before I left for Death Valley National Park. If you use your flash a lot, definitely recommend these batteries. They are really good. 

I guess there was some kind of man made pond before when people lived in there. For today, I just have some outside shots of Scotty's Castle before the tour. Next time is when I really begin the photos I took on the tour. Not really sure what this is. 



Another shot of Scotty's Castle.

The generator room for the castle. 

More of the artificial pond at Scotty's Castle. Those people on the left later was part of the same tour group I was in. I was on the last tour of the day. :)



Must take a lot of money to maintain so many plants in the middle of the desert. 



I think the building above is like the kitchen or something. I kind of forgot what it was. Again, this was all shot before the tour. 

This is all the photos for today! I hope you have enjoyed them. Next time I post, I will have photos from the beginning of the tour! These photos for today were shot before the tour. I hope you have enjoyed them. Please don't forget to share with your friends and family members! Also, if you want to get notifications when I post up more photos, "Like" us on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and Google+. These links can also be found on the top of the right sidebar.

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