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Old Feb 7, 2011, 4:39 PM   #1
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Default Red Pass, Leadfield and Titus Canyon

One of the highlights of our trip to Death Valley as the 26 mile drive over Red Pass, past the ghost town of Leadfield and through Titus Canyon. The road is graded dirt/gravel and is usually passable by passenger cars (though relatively high clearance was desirable due to some rocks, 4x4 wasn't needed the day we drove it). I understand it can become difficult/impossible/closed after rains so (like any dirt road), it makes sense to ask for current conditions before starting out on it. There's no services, no people, no cell reception, nothing but a slow road and 360 degree beautiful views of rocks. It's not for everyone but I sure loved it.

The start of the road (stitched panorama of 2 or 3 frames, taken with the K5 and DA 12-24):



Top of Red Pass - an appropriate name. This picture below is only 2 frames of a 6 frame panorama I put together. While I think the full panorama does better at showing why they call it "Red Pass" and shows some of the road going down, it suffers by being too big to post here. So this shows just the right side of it, and the colorful rock. (K5, DA 35 macro)



The complete panorama is at: http://mtngal.zenfolio.com/img/s1/v20/p699132650.jpg if you want to see it (warning, it's over 5000 pixels wide and 1200 pixels high). I thought it was quite spectacular.

After the pass you come to the site of Leadfield, a town that lasted only about 6 months (another one of Death Valley's many colorful stories). All that's left are a few mine buildings and tailings:



Storeroom or bedroom for miner? K5, DA*50-135, 5 frame auto exposure, HDR put together using Nik's HDR Efex software.



Further on the mountain walls close in and you enter Titus Canyon. This is a 2 frame panorama, taken with the DA 35:



The canyon is another narrow slot canyon, the road along the bottom being just over 1 car wide in places. Traffic is one-way only. Many people will park just before the canyon starts and then walk a mile or two through the narrowest, lowest part of the canyon. Lighting is difficult in the narrowest spots, there's no direct sunlight and the light is very strange. I found the same thing in Antelope Canyon, but while I loved how the camera interpreted the light there, I wasn't so happy with what I got in Titus. But each hair-pin, blind curve brings something different into view and the whole drive was well worth the effort and time it takes to drive it.



Finally, a last look at Titus Canyon from the parking area in Death Valley (end of 2 way traffic). It gives you an idea of how hidden these slot canyons can be.



So ends a wonderful morning drive.
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Old Feb 7, 2011, 5:29 PM   #2
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Beautiful shots, I especially like the 1st and 2nd to the last one. Hard to believe people could live out there in the old days

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Old Feb 7, 2011, 7:31 PM   #3
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Fantastic shots! The landscape is both beautiful and unbelievably stark at the same time. The geology also looks fascinating. One of the things I love about this forum is that we all get to see many fascinating parts of the world, without ever leaving our homes. Thank you for including us on this excursion!
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Old Feb 7, 2011, 9:35 PM   #4
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The geology is fascinating, there's a bit of everything involved with forming the region, ancient lakes, earthquakes, volcanos, water erosion, wind. The human history of the region is interesting also, with highly exaggerated reports of rich mining finds (like the one that started Leadfield), and places that came and went with the gold. There were men who conned others with, shall we say, fanciful reports of rich finds to solicit investment funds.

I'm another that loves to explore new parts of the world through the eyes of others who live somewhere else. I very much have enjoyed "walking" through the Finish woods or the Tennessee mountains, visiting the Dew Line in the NW Territories, seeing the city night lights of Shanghai, watching the colorful birds of Australia. I hope others will enjoy seeing some of the American Western states, at least half as much as I enjoy seeing everyone else's corner of the world.
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Old Feb 8, 2011, 6:24 AM   #5
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Yes, I am very much enjoying seeing these amazing scenes from your end of the world! Fascinating geology, lovingly captured. Also fascinating hints of history and life under such difficult conditions.
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Old Feb 8, 2011, 10:34 PM   #6
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Have you ever explored out this direction, Mole? You would love some places like this, I suspect. Though its like another planet compared to your greenery. And I need to brush up on my geology - there is a lot going on in this area, and with little vegetation, it's easy to see it all. I missed so much because I didn't read up more before the trip (which actually was a last minute thing - we had talked about it but not committed to going until the morning we left).
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Old Feb 10, 2011, 11:59 AM   #7
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Great job, Harriett.
Really enjoy viewing your photos.
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Old Feb 11, 2011, 5:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mtngal View Post
Have you ever explored out this direction, Mole? You would love some places like this, I suspect. Though its like another planet compared to your greenery.
Have never explored anywhere near your direction - furthest west I've even been is Reelfoot Lake in West Tennessee!! Perhaps someday...

Quote:
Originally Posted by mtngal View Post
And I need to brush up on my geology - there is a lot going on in this area, and with little vegetation, it's easy to see it all. I missed so much because I didn't read up more before the trip (which actually was a last minute thing - we had talked about it but not committed to going until the morning we left).
Indeed some fascinating geology - and you can always read up on it now, after the trip.

Thanks again for sharing some of the "photographic fruits" of your expeditions!
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Old Feb 12, 2011, 10:50 AM   #9
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#2 is really great; Love all those different hues of brown and red!
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