Sand Dune Sunrise, Death Valley National Park

What do you do when you are going on vacation and want to maximize your photography opportunities?  Obviously, do your research before leaving home and you will not be disappointed.  One of my favorite sources for out of town photography are the newsletters put out by Robert Hitchman at Photograph America.  Robert has put together 115 of these newsletter (and counting) that cover most everywhere you would want to take a photography vacation within the United States.  I have used these for several trips and have never been disappointed.

I took the above image at sunrise in the sand dunes in Death Valley National Park during a two day, one night trip to that park. To capture this image, I left my hotel room at 2:30 AM (I was on a business trip and had the weekend off).   I drove 2.5 hours to the park, hiked almost a mile into/around the dunes (mostly in the dark!), and set up my camera for sunrise.  I then spent the next two days photographing other areas of the park.  While I did not have time to hit all of the recommended locations at the right time of day, I did get the key shots I wanted.  More importantly, I did not waste time trying to figure out where I should be.  After reading the Death Valley newsletter I knew where I wanted to be every part of the day.