Friday, January 20, 2017

Scorpian Canyon, Death Valley

My canyoneering buds and I have been to Scorpion Canyon in Death Valley National Park before, but that's no reason not to see it again. It's a fine place for a half-day excursion. Easy to drive to. Easy on the approach. And only seven rappels, none of which are extreme in height. Yeah, just a fine day of canyoneering. What could go wrong?

We got semi-lost. Couldn't find the right wash for climbing over a ridge that separated us from the canyon. After a few tries, we got there and then spent the rest of the day doing double-time to make it out before dark. Nailed it.

So I tried something different in terms of photography and shot everything with the lens wide open at f/2.8 for extreme shallow depth of field. A tough assignment because good focusing is necessary and I've probably gotten lazy lately with autofocus and stopping down for mistake-reducing depth of field. But this time I wanted a different look just for kicks. If nothing else, I realized I should only use the technique when shooting nearby action. Anything else benefits from stopping down my usual three stops. Next time.

Start of the trip down a wash in 20 Mule Team Canyon.
Climbing up the wash with the 20 Mule Team hills behind us.
Headed to the ridge we have to climb in order to get to the top of Scorpion Canyon.

Trying to find how close we were to the beta's coordinates. I believe someone concluded we were "pretty close" and so we headed up the slope in front of us.
Going up the wrong way . . .

 . . . coming back down.
The scene inside the wash. We needed to get to the fluted hills in the distance.

Looking down into Mule Team Canyon and the mountains of eastern Nevada.

After finding our way, descending into Scorpion Canyon. Those are the Panamint Mountains way off in the distance.

Jae and Kevin passing a particularly green rock formation.

Jae and Kevin hiking down through the canyon.
Jerri, Kevin and Jae getting near where the canyon narrows and fun begins.

Canyon scene.

A bush that has sprouted legs, or maybe it just blew there.

Jerri negotiating one of the longest down-climbs in the canyon.

Jerri on rappel.

Jae tossing the rope bag at the top of one of the taller rappels.
Jae on rappel while Kevin backs him up.

Jerri on the last rappel.