My camera stood watch over the salt curve that night. I located it well before sunrise with the assistance of my handheld GPS unit.
This is why I’m not concerned about someone stealing my camera. If I can’t find it without the assistance of triangulated satellites floating silently 12,500 miles above my head, I’m pretty sure no one else will find it either.
I double checked my shutter and aperture settings, then inserted a film holder loaded with Kodak Portra 160 color negative film.
I knew roughly where the sun would rise, and hoped to take a photo as the first glow of morning graced the Panamint Range.
Much to my delight, there were some clouds in the sky that morning.
High clouds to my east were the first to show color that morning. The glow soon spread, and the clouds in my composition were set ablaze. The ground at my feet was bathed in a pinkish-purple glow, and for a few short minutes, the drab brown desert was transformed into a fantasy land. I took two photos on Kodak Portra 160 VC. Both were long exposures, but the first best captured the wonderful color that morning.
It must seem strange for me to leave my camera out overnight in hopes of good light, but this method allows me to capture photos that would otherwise be impossible on 8×10. The above exposure is roughly 10 minutes long. It would have been impossible for me to see an image on the ground glass that early in the morning.
I felt a sense of satisfaction while packing up my gear. With clouds in the forecast, I knew it would be an exciting day for photography in Death Valley.
Please check out my video journal for the rest of the story from Day 5.