Death Valley Flower Trip
Anyway, back to our trip - if you zoom out a little from the satellite view, you can see Topaz Lake to the north (actually in Nevada) and Mono Lake. (Moe-No, not Maw-No, I've been told, but didn't know from looking at it...) Highway 395 is sort of crossing from top left third to lower right third at most zoom levels.
Just a 1/4 mile previously we'd seen another Ford with a flat tire and got a chuckle at the gaggle of people standing around with the owners manual trying to figure out how to get the spare tire out. After stopping and making sure there was nothing we could contribute (this is DEATH Valley, after all!), we motor on down the road. Only have the front wheel hit SOMETHING really hard. Well the results are plain to see. But hey, I'm prepared - the spare is loose in the bed (there's WAY more story here, but we'll save that for later) and I have the new tire on in 5 minutes flat. No pun intended.
What the photo doesn't show, but perhaps needs a little cartoon balloon with this in the middle, pointing at my head: "Man, I am *SOOO* glad the spare was accessible! Cause this is DEATH valley, and a tow out of here is gonna be the BIG BILL.."
Photo by Tanya Timberlake
The last time I was here was June of last year, 2004. It was more like this.. VERY hot and everything in sight is dead or dormant. The vehicle became more akin to a space ship or submarine than just a 'car'. You'd die without it. That's what I remember about Death Valley, but here we are walking around having a wonderful time in quite pleasant temperatures.
This is a "created" photo, in that it's a carefully taken and assembled series of photos. In this case, 15 photos are stitched into this one result. I had to stand here quite a bit to get this without any people in it. Remember, we're in a National Park now, that's experiencing what is perhaps a once in a lifetime event. There are LOTS of people here with us including the requisite tour bus of foreign language speakers and tons of irreverent teenagers. But, you don't see any of them in this photo, do you?
Doing Gaussian and Laplacian Pyramid calculations on a set of fairly large TIFF files gobbles up several Gigabytes of memory.. The most easily identified artifact of this kind is banding in the sky or solid color backgrounds. I've seen, and produced, some pretty bad examples of computer stitched panoramic photography featuring huge color shifts from photo to photo... Anyway, I think this is a better photo than the one above for technical detail and color accuracy.
There are still issues with this photo - can you see them? Look at our shadows for evidence of the seams that are otherwise invisible. I'm not good enough at faking shadows in photoshop to take this on. Yet.. Did I mention we're not the only people in the original photo? ;-) If you follow my shadow, you'll notice a place where the photos don't line up quite right, see the duplicate rocks and the sort of "fuzzy" strip up the mountain? I guess I'll start this over one more time.. ;-) (LATER....)