Death Valley Time Lapse and Drive Over Hunter Mountain


Pixel Monkey
Just after Thanksgiving weekend I had two days off work so I decided to head up to Death Valley. Got to Lee flat at around 1am Sunday night and started enjoying the 20 degree temps. Set up my cameras for time lapse and two of my key after market battery packs (same brand and model) shut off due to the temps. Glad I had my big Goal Zero packs and enough cables and adapters to keep the cameras and rigs rolling. Monday I packed up and headed up and onto Hunter Mountain. I didn't have much info on the road condition and if there'd be any snow banks left blocking the road. Thankfully there were only a few icy spots and the rest was easy snow. The X and A/T3s made it all a bunch of fun. Had to lock the rear diffs on a few steep snowy hills, but never felt like I needed chains.

After exploring the Hunter Mountain, I headed over to an unnamed ridge line on the north side of the mountain to check it out. After seeing the landscape and how beautifully the snow was mixed in, I determined that this was where I was spending the night. I spent the afternoon cutting back and forth between my different cameras spread across the area and eventually made camp on one beautiful (and flat) overlook point. Sunset was more on the subtle side, but still very beautiful. I let the cameras roll into the night and enjoyed a few hours of darkness before the moon came up. Managed to get a shot of Orion's various nebulous objects, but wish I had more time for more of these.

Sunrise was cold and I only had one camera left running at that point, but thankfully it was a beautiful shot. I loaded up and took the long way out heading north off the mountain, through Hidden Valley, past Teakettle Junction and up Racetrack Road. Spotted a beautiful Coyote and managed to get a few shots before he took off. A lot of the flood damage to this road was still there, but shouldn't be a problem for the park service to grade it again after the rest of the park is up and running. I'm sure we'll see low clearance passenger cars at the Racetrack soon enough.

Here's my video, shot on two Sony a7S's and a Canon 1Dx. I used my a7R just for stills on this trip. Big camera moves were done on a Dynamic Perception motion control rig, and the more basic pans and tilts were done with an Emotimo rig.


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Mark Keeler
I always like death Valley. I like going during the winter. Thanks for sharing.

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Awesome. I loved the way you chose to capture the twilight hours with your timelapses. That must've been tough to keep the camera settings happy all the way through, but it paid off. I find the most dramatic transitions of landscape happen during those hours and you captured them amazingly. Great work, and looks like a great trip!


Did you take Hidden Valley Rd.? I'm planning to drive that over Christmas and reports of snow have me a little concerned.


Killer...... I'm building a camera rig truck now. I may hit ya up on some ideas..... & gear! Where do you typically get your equipment?


Pixel Monkey
Did you take Hidden Valley Rd.? I'm planning to drive that over Christmas and reports of snow have me a little concerned.
Hidden Valley Road is easy to get to from the north via Racetrack Road. The snow would block you heading up and over Hunter Mountain. It was fine when I went, but who knows what snow will fall between now and then. I'd keep track of the 'Death Valley Road Conditions' facebook page. You can message them as well for more specific info.