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23 February 2008 @ 09:36 pm
Racetrack Playa  
A Playa is "a dry lakebed, generally the shore of, or a remnant of, an endorheic lake." There are a lot of Playas around the world and the largest of them are thousands of square kilometers huge. The Racetrack Playa in the Death Valley national park is the most famous of them for its mysterious moving rocks. Various hypotheses on how the rocks move have come forward but the all of still them remain just that - a hypothesis and no one really knows who or what moves them. Maybe there's still so much to learn for Science... And apparently, after so many years since its discovery no one has seen the stones move or even filmed it.




Tracks on the ground and in the sky (Notice the trail left by a US airforce jet in the sky)








The surface of the Racetrack Playa





The Teakettle junction! :)






The Racetrack playa with the Last Chance Mountains in the background





The Playa at daybreak with the Grandstand in the light





Rocks. A sailing stone, the Grandstand island and the Last Chance Mountain.





The Grandstand with the Cottonwood mountains in the background.





The Grandstand.





A hazy day and the Grandstand in the racetrack as seen from the road





An empty path.





Crossing tracks





Sailing stone and the Last Chance Mountain range










Collision course





The Racetrack race...





Another Race...





The home stretch of the track





4-wheel drive!





That's where the stones come from: hills of dolomite










Here's more information:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sailing_stones
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racetrack_Playa
 
 
 
Jayseakaredpirk on February 24th, 2008 07:09 am (UTC)
see..you've found all the good spots ;)

those rocks..wow..weird!
Yathinyathin on February 24th, 2008 10:41 am (UTC)
Well, there are still a lot of spots left to be explored in the Death Valley. That place is like a country and will need days, weeks to even see all the interesting places on the map...
Manu Bhardwajmanubhardwaj on February 24th, 2008 07:48 am (UTC)
To my credit, I'd actually heard of these sailing stones before, thought I'd really love to see them with my own eyes sometime.

Fantastic photography, man! All your photos are really beautiful. Do you do any computer editing, other than basic cropping?
Yathinyathin on February 24th, 2008 08:00 am (UTC)
Not much of computer editing since the D300 days - that camera makes just about the perfect pictures with beautiful colors. The only times the computer comes to aid is when certain light conditions screw up the camera's metering. So, most of the images are just a resize.
Praveen Garlapatipraveenkumarg on February 24th, 2008 07:55 am (UTC)
Those are awesome photos Yathin!

Very interesting story about the moving rocks too...
Anush Shettyanushsh on February 24th, 2008 08:08 am (UTC)
Lost for words ... Fantastic photographs. Superb dude.
Anush Shettyanushsh on February 24th, 2008 08:10 am (UTC)
BTW we also need wallpaper sized images of the same ;-)
Yathinyathin on February 24th, 2008 10:38 am (UTC)
I could put them up if there are any interesting ones you'd like. Putting all of them is probably impossible since even the jpegs are 6MB each!
Anush Shettyanushsh on February 24th, 2008 01:10 pm (UTC)
Hmmm.. then the picture titled "The Grandstand" :-)
Yathinyathin on February 28th, 2008 09:33 pm (UTC)
I didn't notice this comment until today!! Here it is -> http://www.yathin.com/wallpapers/grandstand_wall.jpg
Anush Shettyanushsh on February 29th, 2008 07:21 am (UTC)
thanks a lot dude.. love the image :-)
Ed Bookedbook on February 24th, 2008 08:24 am (UTC)
nice images, I recognized some of the tracks as some I photographed. When were you there? I'm planning to go to Death Valley next month but was feeling apprehensive on how the roads will be. The last time I was there, my van took a beating on the roads especially the one going north to Crankcase Junction and then over the Last Chance Range into the Eureka Valley and south to the Eureka Dunes. I'd like to take a different vehicle this time but the van is much easier to sleep in with all the stuff I take. I was there in April and got rained and snowed on when leaving the Racetrack Valley and then a couple miles onto pavement south of Scotties Castle, the fuel pump died and I had to have the van towed to Ridgecrest, four hours away.

Peace
Yathinyathin on February 24th, 2008 08:49 am (UTC)
The first time I saw photographs of the moving rocks from Death Valley were from that trip of yours when you posted it on your journal!!

I was there last weekend. The road from the Ubehebe crater to the Racetrack playa is just as awful as it probably was when you went there. The 27 miles took me close to two and a half hours and I'm glad I did one leg of the journey at night. The temperatures were below freezing at night and I had ice inside the tent (from the moisture in my breath I guess) in the morning. Also, remember that the fuel pump at Scotty's castle is out, so you may have to carry some fuel from Furnace creek or Stovepipe Wells.

kejnkejn on February 24th, 2008 08:52 am (UTC)
THAT's what i've been waiting for! the sailing rocks! :) amazing. and kind of eerie. i didn't know there were so many of them. funny that nobody has managed to film them, in this day and age with all our technology.

i want to go there.
Yathinyathin on February 24th, 2008 10:34 am (UTC)
> i want to go there.

Welcome to California! :)
IdahoSwedeidahoswede on February 24th, 2008 08:56 am (UTC)
Your photography, no matter the subject matter, never ceases to amaze me.
ashbirderashbirder on February 24th, 2008 08:56 am (UTC)
surreal stuff..
Yathinyathin on February 24th, 2008 10:37 am (UTC)
And you should listen to the silence there when there is no wind! Absolutely surreal. :)
(Deleted comment)
Yathinyathin on February 24th, 2008 10:52 am (UTC)
I'm sure you'd love the biker friendly California roads and weather! And it's crazy to think that from the super-dry super-hot Death Valley national park you can see the conifer snow-covered forests of the Sierra-Nevada and the sandy beaches of the Pacific aren't too far either! :)
ex_neke on February 24th, 2008 11:21 am (UTC)
Very interesting.
velvetinkvelvetink on February 24th, 2008 11:41 am (UTC)
stunning colours there! love the humour of teakettle junction. Did you leave your's there too?
Yathinyathin on February 24th, 2008 06:55 pm (UTC)
I wish I was carrying a Teakettle! :)
Ruth: Bubble treelaruth on February 24th, 2008 08:38 pm (UTC)
Great set of photographs and I love the story of the sailing rocks. How weird and wonderful.

Edited at 2008-02-24 08:44 pm (UTC)
Alikialiki on February 24th, 2008 11:05 pm (UTC)
Wow, what amazing photographs. I love your work!
Ravibeast_666 on February 25th, 2008 12:22 am (UTC)
Fantastic pics!
Arunbirdonthewire on February 25th, 2008 10:35 am (UTC)
Those tracks are made by the rocks?? Wow, amazing weirdness...

I wish I had your weekends! :-)
Arun Pillaiarunpillai on February 25th, 2008 02:25 pm (UTC)
Woah, what a feast. Excellent images dude
Premnath Kudvapremkudva on February 26th, 2008 04:47 am (UTC)
I had just read about this in the November 2007 issue of National Geographic magazine (Death Valley). I read in that that no one sees them move?

And the blue sky, man it is one fantastic blue!
Yathinyathin on February 26th, 2008 04:50 am (UTC)
Yep, it is crazy deep blue. I don't remember having seen such blue skies.
depontideponti on February 26th, 2008 10:02 am (UTC)
How big are these rocks you photographed which are travelling across the landscape? I thought they were small rocks but these seem HUGE. SOO incredible.


Phenomenal pics...the YS goes up all the time!
Yathinyathin on February 26th, 2008 07:14 pm (UTC)
Most are the size of a football (soccer ball) but there are some about 2-3 times the size and apparently some weigh as much as a human (that's what one of the websites said)
(Anonymous) on February 26th, 2008 11:42 am (UTC)
The other side
Can you post a photograph that depicts the enormity of these plains.
Or, are they all surrounded by these mountains?
Yathinyathin on February 26th, 2008 07:16 pm (UTC)
Re: The other side
The racetrack has mountains all around and isn't as huge as the Utah salt flats or the Bolivian salt flats.
mansumansu on February 28th, 2008 09:26 pm (UTC)
Amazing pictures man. I want to shoot with you sometime. I was a stupid to miss the opportunity when I had a chance :(
summer_jackelsummer_jackel on April 28th, 2009 03:12 am (UTC)
Oh! /happy yipping noises/
these are gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Magnificent work.
...did you see, or get to shoot, any coyotes?
Yathinyathin on April 28th, 2009 03:16 am (UTC)
No coyotes this time, but I saw Kangaroo rats, cottontails, jack rabbits. I photographed several reptiles - Mojave rattlesnake, Desert Iguana, Zebra-tailed lizard, Horned lizard and the desert tortoise! :-)

The racetrack is a beautiful place to spend time in. Quiet. Peaceful and literally in the middle of nowhere!