Death Valley National Park

California


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Its name evokes images of bleached bones in a desolate landscape outstretched beneath the searing desert sun.   But today that is more of a scene from an old cowboy movie than an accurate depiction of Death Valley.  The real Death Valley consists of colorful boulders, miles of undulating sand dunes, ancient volcanic craters, beautifully folded hillsides, and assorted canyons—all worthy of careful photographic exploration.

deathvalleyvert002.jpgDeath Valley is the largest national park in the contiguous United States.  Within the park we can stand on the edge of a volcanic crater filled with artistic patterns of cracked mud, shoot outstanding polychrome landscapes of rippling hills and gulches, marvel at large wind-blown rocks on a dry lake playa that have left their recent motion recorded in the mud, and witness an unwary roadrunner grab a lizard as it forages along the roadside.  Nowhere else on Earth can all this be found in one place.
 
We catch the sunrise at Zabriskie Point, where our vantage point offers excellent views of the Panamint Range, the spire of Manly Beacon, and the ancient bed of prehistoric Lake Manly.  As the sun’s first light strikes the top of 11,000-foot Telescope Peak, we stand 282 feet below sea level at Badwater, the lowest elevation in the Northern Hemisphere.  We photograph along the famed Artist’s Drive where the multi-hued landscape captures your imagination as you frame image after image of the striking pastel-colored topography.  Sunset at Dante’s View—located more than 5000 feet above the valley floor— yield a variety of photographic subjects as the sun highlights the constantly changing patterns on the salt flats below.  The light on the golden sand dunes at Stovepipe Wells, the contrast of black volcanic cinders and silvery desert holly at Ubehebe Crater, and the panoramas of multicolored hills and canyons provide a wealth of material to capture through our lenses.

Our December trip to Death Valley is timed with the “New Moon” making it the darkest night sky of the month—perfect to try our hand at Milky Way photography.  December is also one of the coolest and clearest months in Death Valley when this “hell on Earth” transforms into a desert paradise.  And winter’s low-angle sun creates some of the year’s best light and shadow detail over the landscape.
 
Our base camp is the famous Furnace Creek Ranch—The Oasis at Death Valley—located in the heart of Death Valley.  From here we make daily forays to different areas of great scenic diversity.  Come with us in December as we pursue the ephemeral light from sunrise to sunset, photographing in the best landscape locations Death Valley National Park has to offer. 

Tour Itinerary

Day 1 (Dec 1)deathvalleyvert001-(2).jpg

Participants arrive at Las Vegas, Nevada, by midday today.  We offer round-trip transportation from McCarran International Airport to our hotel.  (D) 

Days 2–6

We spend these five full days in the heart of Death Valley’s legendary locations—Zabriskie Point, the Artist’s Palette, the sculpted marble walls of Mosaic Canyon, the abstract patterns of salt crystals at the Devil’s Golf Course and the mysterious Racetrack are some of our many subjects.  The changing patterns of light and shadow on these desert landscapes during the mornings and evenings will offer stunning photographic possibilities in every direction.
 
Winter weather provides the perfect conditions to follow trails into the park’s canyons and see its incomparable geology. Clear dark skies in December allow for exciting night sky photography.
 
We reside at the famous Furnace Creek Ranch that has recently undergone a $100 million renovation into a wonderful desert resort now called The Oasis at Death Valley.  It is a great location to use as our hub to explore the park’s 3.4 million acres.  (BLD)

Day 7 (Dec 7)

We return to Las Vegas airport this morning.  Please schedule your homeward flight for no earlier than noon. (B)

Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris is an Authorized Permittee of the US National Park Service

 
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Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris Enrollment Information

Death Valley National Park

Dec 01, 2021 - Dec 07, 2021


ENROLLMENT CONDITIONS

1. REGISTRATION
A deposit and completed and signed Registration Form are required to reserve a place for you on a Joseph Van Os Photo Safari.

2. PAYMENTS, CANCELLATIONS AND REFUNDS

All prices are quoted in US dollars and all payments must be paid in US dollars. For deposits only, we accept Visa, MasterCard or American Express. Final payment of the trip fee is due 120 days prior to departure and must be paid by check or bank transfer. Trip deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable.

We must receive written notice of your cancellation, at which time cancellation fees in the following amounts apply:

If Written Cancellation is Received:
90 days or prior:
89 to 61 days prior:
60 or fewer days:
Cancellation Fee:
100% of deposit
50% of entire trip fee
100% of entire trip fee


No partial refunds are made for unused portions or services of a trip for any reason whatsoever. Trips are sold as a package only. This policy also applies to tour extensions and independent travel arrangements. Cancellation fees are not transferable.

3. TRIP INSURANCE
Protect your travel investment and purchase a trip insurance policy that includes emergency evacuation coverage. A trip insurance brochure will be sent with your enrollment confirmation. A CANCEL FOR ANY REASON policy is available.

4. HEALTH CONSIDERATIONS
Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris are within the capabilities of average people in good health. Some of these trips require the capability of walking for several miles over uneven trails, stepping from a small boat to a wave-washed rocky beach, flying in small planes and helicopters, and occasionally hiking at high elevations—all while carrying an assortment of camera equipment. If you have concerns about your own capabilities and/or fitness as it relates to a trip, please inquire with our office before reserving a space. By forwarding a signed Registration Form and trip deposit, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you or other trip participants and you agree to inform our office in writing if changes in your health occur any time prior to the tour. We reserve the right to request a doctor's statement of good health. The company's or trip leader's judgment shall provide the ultimate determination of an individual's ability to embark upon or to continue a trip. Once a trip has been confirmed, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements. “Meatless” meals are normally available at most locations. Due to the remote nature of many photo locations, and the growing diversity of today’s dietary trends, participants requiring special food items are encouraged to bring their own.

Tour members are asked to refrain from smoking with or near the group.

5. CONTACT SCHEDULE
Participants will receive three emails before the trip departs: 1. Initial Tour Information sheet confirms the deposit and provides pre-departure information. 2. Invoice/Practical Information provides clothing and photo gear recommendations, climate data, applicable health advisories and reading list. Visa information will also be included (if applicable). 3. Final Tour Information includes arrival instructions, itinerary revisions (if any), hotel addresses, trip telephone contact information and participant list. We provide the trip leader's telephone number(s) and/or e-mail address with final documents so you can inquire about special photographic questions you may have regarding your trip. We welcome your calls or e-mail messages to info@photosafaris.com.

6. PHOTO SAFARI COSTS
Information supplied upon enrollment describes the specific costs that are included in your trip fee. Generally these costs include lodging in double room occupancy, all meals (specified in the itinerary as BLD denoting breakfast, lunch or dinner), ground transportation during the trip in vans or small busses, air transportation as specified, meal and baggage tipping, and guide services provided by the trip leaders. Not included are airfare or other transportation from your home to the trip staging location, airport departure taxes, insurance, alcoholic beverages and bar expenses (plus bottled water and soft drink expenses on international tours outside of North America), tips and gratuities to local guides abroad, phone calls, passport or visa expenses, laundry or items of a personal nature. Gratuities to Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris trip leaders are optional and always appreciated. Rates are based on group tariffs; if the trip does not have sufficient registration, a small party supplement may be charged.

Single accommodations are available for a supplemental cost in many locations; see the pre-departure trip information or call our office for details. You will be charged the single supplement fee if you desire single accommodations or if you wish to have a roommate, but one is not available. In some remote locations, clients with single rooms are infrequently compelled to share a room due to circumstances beyond our control. In such cases, appropriate per diem refunds will be made reflecting the direct cost of the single room at the facility where clients are required to share. There is no additional single supplement fee on ship-based cruises, if you request a roommate and one is not available.

Cost increases may occur unexpectedly due to rising costs of airfares, ground transport, fuel surcharges, accommodations and currency fluctuations, among others. Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. may be compelled to amend prices, and we reserve the right to do so without prior notice. An increase in trip prices shall not be sufficient grounds for any refund of funds paid for the trip other than as determined by the terms of our cancellation policy.

7. LOGISTICS
Whenever possible, our trip participants are lodged in comfortable, modern hotels. We select among the best available accommodations, but refrain from extravagance. Some interesting photographic destinations are far removed from modern amenities, however, and where necessary we will be accommodated in rustic country inns, cabins or tented camps.

Meals are always a special part of our trips for the camaraderie they engender and the opportunity they provide to try new foods from different areas. Depending on the trip and specific locale, participants order restaurant meals from the full menu or, less frequently, table d'hôte. Some trips include picnic lunches in the field. Fruit juice for breakfast and coffee or tea are included with the meals. Soft drinks are included with meals on tours within North America. Participants are responsible for their own bar tab (including bottled water, soft drinks and alcoholic beverages on tours outside of North America) at restaurant lunches and dinners.

Our itineraries are intended as examples only. Participants should allow for flexibility due to changes in weather, natural history or cultural events, or other logistical arrangements deemed necessary by Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. or our leaders.

The second tour leader (and any subsequent additional leaders) listed for each trip on the website will be added as the group size warrants. If only one space remains on a trip, and logistics permit, we accept two persons traveling together, even if it exceeds the trip maximum.

8. RESPONSIBILITY
Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. and/or their Agents act only as agents for the passenger (trip participant) in regard to travel including, but not limited to, sightseeing, meals, lodging, transportation, and all other services whether by railroad, motorcar, motor coach, boat, ship or aircraft or other conveyance, and they assume no liability for injury, damage, loss, accident, delay or irregularity which may be occasioned either by reason of defect in any vehicle or for any reason whatsoever, or through the acts, bankruptcy or default of any company or person engaged in conveying the passenger or in carrying out the arrangements of the trip.

They can accept no responsibility for losses or additional expenses due to delay, cancellations or changes in flights or other tour services, and by force majeure including sickness, weather, strike, war, volcanic eruption, terrorist acts, political unrest, quarantine, epidemics and outbreaks, or other causes.  All such losses or expenses will have to be borne by the passenger, as trip fees provide for arrangements only for the times and locations stated. Baggage is at the owner's risk entirely.

The right is reserved to 1) substitute hotels of similar category for those indicated and to make any changes in the itinerary or transport where deemed necessary, or caused by changes in flight schedules or equipment substitution; 2) cancel any trip prior to departure due to low enrollment, in which case full refund of the paid trip funds will be given, but Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. is not responsible for any other trip preparation expenses such as penalized or non-refundable air tickets, visa fees and medical related expenses; 3) At the company’s sole discretion, suspend or postpone any trip due to force majeure in which case the trip may be rescheduled, or a refund issued less any non-refundable deposits paid to tour component providers on behalf of the passenger, or a travel credit given, but Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc. is not responsible for any other trip preparation expenses such as penalized or non-refundable air tickets, visa fees and medical related expenses; 4) substitute trip leader(s) for the leader(s) originally specified, in which case the substitution is not a basis for participant cancellation or refund other than provided by our normal cancellation policy; or 5) accept or retain any person as a member of any trip.

Trip prices are based on tariffs and exchange rates in effect at the time of publication and are subject to adjustment in the event of any change therein.

A Registration Form including the Enrollment Conditions and Release and Assumption of Risk sections must be signed by each participant prior to the commencement of the trip. Participation by any trip member will be declined in the absence of the signed Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section, with no trip fee refund. No modification to the Registration Form including the Release and Assumption of Risk section will be accepted.

Should Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc., or anyone acting on their behalf be required to incur attorney's fees and costs to enforce this agreement, the enrolling trip participant(s) agree(s) to indemnify and hold them harmless for all such fees and costs. In the event a lawsuit is filed, the enrolling participant(s) agree(s) to do so solely in the County of Lewis in the State of Washington. Certain ship owners require the use of pre-printed ticket forms that limit the ship owner's and operator's liability. When such tickets are used, the passenger is bound by the terms of these tickets with respect to the passenger's legal relationship to the owners and operators of the ship, their agents (Joseph Van Os Photo Safaris, Inc.), and the ship's crew.

Death Valley National Park: Easy Activity Level

Van transportation. Easy walking on road and well-defined trails.  Photography from the road, trails, and scenic overlooks.

Trip Details
Dec 01 - Dec 07, 2021
Fee: $4,195 from Las Vegas, Nevada
Deposit: $1,000
Limit: 14 participants
Activity Level: EasyEasy
 
Highlights
  • Shoot the colorful pastel colored desert landscape illuminated by winter’s low-angle light
  • Cool winter temperatures create comfortable daytime photography in Death Valley
  • Trip timed for December’s darkest night sky for exciting Milky Way photography
  • Includes round trip transportation from Las Vegas airport
  • Only one convenient upscale resort hotel for the entire tour located within the national park
 
Tour Leaders
Eric Rock

Eric Rock

Todd W. Pierce

Todd W. Pierce