Shots of the Day: The Southwest Desert in the Winter

I can’t seem to stay away from the southwest. In early December, I once again found myself in Las Vegas, where I made excursions to Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, Nelson Ghost Town, and Death Valley National Park. I’ve now been to Death Valley in three separate seasons (although, really, Death Valley has two seasons: unbearably hot and not.) It was chilly in Death Valley — a rare treat given that Death Valley is the hottest place on Earth. There was even rain in the valley and some snow on the ground at higher elevations.

After historic flash floods during October in Death Valley, some roads were still closed (Scotty’s Castle will be closed indefinitely due to massive flood damage), although most roads had reopened including backcountry roads Titus Canyon and the Racetrack. Due to the rain the past couple months, the National Park Service is predicting epic wildflowers this coming spring. I might find myself back at Death Valley for the third time in a year.

Shots of the Day: The Life is Beautiful Festival in Las Vegas

I just returned from a trip to Las Vegas, where I attended the three-day Life is Beautiful music, food, art, and learning festival. It was hot — reaching 100 degrees each day. But as they say, it was a dry heat, and it didn’t stop tens of thousands of visitors from having a good time. These are 51 of my favorite shots from the festival; I took all of these photos with my Nikon Df and a 50mm/1.4 prime lens. All shots were handheld except for two (where a pole and a bench served as a makeshift tripod).