Death Valley 2: Electric Boogaloo

Jake Reinig travel photographer

Location: Death Valley Subjects: Gold mines, ghost towns, stars, awesome stuff, moving rocks, tea kettles, volcanoes, “working girls,” other jazz

I had planned on writing another witty and urbane post about my latest adventure to Death Valley but I’m taking forever.  So instead of careful introspection and my usual brand of down home, upbeat humor that Roger Ebert calls an “American Treasure,” you instead get a ton of pictures with links to Wikipedia articles.

Maybe someday in the not too distant future, when men were men and women were willing to go on dates with me, I’ll write more.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering, here’s more explanation on the title.

Oh, and one last thing: if you’ve got a bit of cash to spare and want a great introduction to Death Valley, I would encourage you to join Keith Skelton’s photography workshop there in March. I was introduced to the park a few years back at one of his excellent trips and can’t recommend it enough. It’s open to all skill levels, so check it, yo!


The photo in the header is of Zabriskie point, while this great view is Ubehebe Crater (you-be-he-be).  My friends in the foreground are a little misleading in terms of size; I think the crater is about 800 feet deep.



This is a shot of the power plant at Scotty’s Castle.  The villa is beautiful, but the Welte Organ performance at the end is one of the coolest things you’ll ever experience. In fact, you should get in your car right now and drive there.  Take both tours. Oh, and buy a National Parks passport. It’s fun and educational. 

I like detail work, and I like abandoned and ruined things.  This is a detail of an old and distressed caboose at the ghost town of Rhyolite, Nevada.

A shot of ruins and the valley at Leadfield ghost town, the site of a mining scam from the 20th century.

The massive “Lady Desert: the Venus of Nevada”, stands in the Goldwell Open Air Museum at Rhyolite. Strange stuff.


One of the nights we went to Badwater Basin (the lowest point in North America) to do star photography as well as light painting.  In this photo my friend Christina was supposed to write “Death” and I was supposed to write “Valley,” but we both got confused. Somehow I started writing “valley” but ended up finishing the word “death.”

One of the fascinating moving rocks at Racetrack Playa, aka the Devil’s Racetrack. The exact mechanism for how the rocks move is unknown, but scienticians think it may have something to do with winged rabbits.

A cool door at Scotty’s Castle.


The Mesquite Flat sand dunes. We got there about 15 minutes too late to get the light on the dunes. Visit this place for sunrise, as it’s quite lovely.

A window inside of a window at the ruins of Agueberry camp, Harrisburg.

The side of an abandoned building at Death Valley Junction. While there, try to take the tour of the Amorgosa Opera House. Reputed to be one of the most haunted places in America, they make you sign a waiver before taking you into the “most haunted” area.

The splendid Teakettle Junction, 6 miles north of the Devil’s Racetrack. Visitors, including us, leave tea kettles with various messages and gimmicks.


Interior of a ruined house at Agueberry camp, Harrisburg. The place is not in great shape, as inconsiderate visitors have roughed up the place considerably. That said, there’s still enough left to make for an interesting visit, including old furniture and appliances.


Indian pictographs in Titus Canyon.  This is a neat drive, although the first part will beat up your car a little bit. Don’t take it if you’re afraid of rough, steep, tight-cornered roads.


More art in Rhyolite. 


I shot this at the Racetrack. It’s the shadow of the hilltop, thrown in stark relief on the floor of the basin.

Detail of an old box spring at Rhyolite.

Detail of a beautiful gate at Scotty’s Castle.

A shot of the Cashier Mill above the Eureka mine and a huge valley, next door to Harrisburg.

The main house at Scotty’s Castle.


The Devil’s Racetrack again. Note the long, winding trail behind the stone. 

Detail of the incredible hard surface of the Racetrack.

Just before sunset at the Racetrack.

My brother Nate and Annette did this one. I’m not sure what a flower, a Mcdonald’s, and a dinosaur have to do with each other.

The grave of working girl Isabelle Haskins, a woeful story from Rhyolite.

The large Rhyolite ruins in the distance, looking out from the interior of an abandoned cabin.


A plaque installed in the art district at Rhyolite, it puts a Tolkien-esque spin on the place.

Interior of Scotty’s Castle.

Art at Rhyolite.

An incredible view on the road to Titus Canyon.


And quite literally the last photo (I ran for a quarter of a mile over rough terrain to get this just as the sun was setting), I took this at Badwater Basin as we were leaving the park. We didn’t have clouds most of the weekend, so these made the sunset much better.

5 Responses to Death Valley 2: Electric Boogaloo

  1. C December 6, 2011 at 7:57 am #

    Your pictures are wonderful, as always.
    Side note: spelling backwards on a time constraint is more difficult than it looks!

  2. G December 7, 2011 at 8:17 am #

    Dude, these images are epic. So very epic. Great work.

  3. Sonja December 7, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    Dope yo!

  4. Becky December 10, 2011 at 11:38 pm #

    Amazing…..but I could have done without the free standing….towel?… to the bike. Right before going to bed. :)

  5. Lydia Cornell May 29, 2013 at 11:44 pm #

    wow. Amazing photos. Fascinating stories. The pictures were so intriguing I had to know more.
    So sad about Rhyolite and Isabel. Mona

    Love you

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