Jeff Berkes Photography | 2019 Death Valley Racetrack




LOCATION      Death Valley National Park

DATES               4/4 - 4/8/18

INVESTMENT      $2,000.00   

LIMIT                   3


DURATION        5 days / 4 nights





Death Valley is a recognized International Dark Sky Park located in the remote area of eastern California about 100 miles west of Las Vegas, NV. We will enjoy a few nights with the milky way and thousands upon thousands of stars in some amazing places within the parks boundaries. The locations include Zabriskie Point, Racetrack Playa, Ubehebe Crater, Charcoal Kilns, Badwater Basin and a few others. You will learn where and when to look for the milky way during each month of the year! Yes, Position of the Milky Way is different every month and some months it is not visible from the Northern Hemisphere.  We will shoot from a few locations at night with discussions on composition, light painting, post processing your images and much more.

A major part of photography is thinking about the processing methods you will use on your image. For me this is done before, and while I am taking that photo, I am already thinking about processing that photo the moment it pops up on my LCD. This workshop is for alumni only and limited to 3 people instead of the typical max limit of 6. The dynamics of a smaller group will allow us to be more flexible and will allow us to cover more ground and have more one on one time with each other at our locations. This is a time when less is more!  It is very, very, very dark at the racetrack playa, finding these stones at night can be challenging if you are not familiar with the layout. I have many of the rocks at the racetrack tagged in GPS, but they do move!!! We will have plenty of time to explore the playa on Day 2 before it gets dark to find some nice stones to photograph with the milky way and star trails.

The workshop will start in the afternoon on Thursday, April 4th, 2019.  Camping Fees at Furnace Creek are included the first night (4/4). The following 2 nights will be camping at the Racetrack and at the Kilns, these camping fees are also included in the workshop There is a small, primitive campground 1.5 miles south of the Racetrack with a few fire pits where we can set up the tents. The following night we will camp at the kilns which is pretty high up at 6,800ft, the weather will be much colder there than in the Valley. It will also be colder at the Racetrack where the Playa sits at almost 4,000ft. The temperatures in mountains can be 25f/30f degrees cooler than at Furnace Creek. So layers will most likely still be needed for the unique destinations  we will be visiting in the park.

Below is a list of what is included in this workshop.



  • Commercial Permit Fees 
  • Overnight Camping Fees and Photography at the Racetrack
  • Transportation to and From the Racetrack Playa in a OFF-Road JEEP  (Departs from FurnaceCreek)
  • Overnight Camping Fees and Photography at the Kilns
  • Overnight Camping Fees and Photography at Furnace Creek.
  • Milky Way , Star trail and light painting techniques, Sunset and Sunrise Shoots
  • Several shooting locations, each night will have different locations
  • How to plan your shot and where to look for the Milky Way tutorial
  • Understanding, shutter speed, f/stop, ISO, white balance and other custom settings
  • How to illuminate a scene for timelapse photography and how to focus at night
  • Post Processing sessions on image. The final day will be built our editing our shots.
  • Maps of where you can find the milky way in the sky every month. Some months you can't even see the brightest part of it. The milky way moves around a bit and you will know where and when to look at any time during the year.
  • Bottles of Water and snacks every day
  • Firewood for campfires
  • Video Tutorials on Star Trails, Timelapse Photography and Meteor Showers
  • Breakfast is included the final morning of the workshop







We will meet in the afternoon and set up camp at the Furnace Creek Campground. Everyone we will have a campfire and go over some editing tips and prepare for our Milky Way shoot, early the following morning.




We will get up early for our 1st Milky Way Shoot near Furnace Creek. After Breakfast, I will pick up our JEEP for the Racetrack and we will head out. We will be leaving our cars at Furnace Creek overnight. We will arrive at the Racetrack in the early afternoon with plenty of time to walk the playa and find some nice rocks with trails. The playa is completely flat and has amazing textures to it. The walk to the rocks vary.. some are a very short walk, others may take 10 - 20 minutes. It depends on where the rocks have moved to.. New rocks may also be on the playa since my last visit. After we scout out the racetrack, we will set up camp and head back for sunset photo ops, zodiacal lights, and star trails

The drive from Furnace Creek to the Racetrack can take 3 hours. There is a 28 mile washboard road with large rocks which will cut normal car tires... especially rental cars... rental car places do not allow their cars to travel on this road. A tow out of there because of a flat tire will run you about $1,000.00. Trust me I have seen lots of people with flat tires on that road. The Jeep I am getting is made for this road. I will also have a GPS and SOS unit to transmit for help if help is needed at any time.




We will get up early and head out on the racetrack for more milky way, meteors, and star trails until sunrise. after our morning milky way  shoot we will head back to Furnace Creek and make a pit stop at the Ubehebe Crater. Upon our arrival in Furnace Creek, I will return the Jeep and we can get a nice bite to eat. We will depart Furnace Creek for the Kilns in the Afternoon making a stop at Stovepipe Wells for dinner, gas and any last food items you want to bring up there with you for the night.

We will photograph sunset at the Kilns, Zodiacal Lights, 2 hour star trails, Light Painting and Milky Way Photography there while we camp out of our cars, spending a entire night under the dark skies at 7,000ft in elevation. We can also see the Sierra Mountains from this road.  There is a campsite near the kilns we may also be able to use if there is room for us. Or we can just stay at the Kilns and let multiple camera run most of the night.




After our morning shoot with the Milky way and the Kilns, we will take the drive back down to Stovepipe Wells and then back to Furnace Creek We will have a editing session that afternoon going over all of our photos taken thus far. After dinner we will head out for another sunset photo op ... I am thinking Dantes View... but we will play it by ear... Lots of great spots to shoot from within a short drive.




We will have another early morning for some milky way photography at a location near Furnace Creek. We can determine that on the spot. The best locations would be Dante's View, Zabriskie or Badwater Basin... I think the Hike out to Badwater is at the top of my list. The workshop will end after breakfast.



Death Valley is the driest place in the US, but winter months bring some of the only rain of the year. Conditions are usually always clear and warm this time of the year, in late March and April, temperatures can climb into the 90's or even the 100's at max. Relief from heat can be found in higher elevations which is where we will be for most of the trip. A weather outlook will be send out in the weeks prior to your departure.

Racetrack CampgroundOur Jeep lit but our campfire with the northern milky way overhead.


Camping is included the first night and the second night. We will be out most of the third night so we will be working out of the cars, but there is also a campsite near this location if we would like to utilize it. The 4th night is not included, you will need to get a room in Furnace Creek the night of April 7th, where we will be wrap up the workshop. If Furnace Creek does not have any rooms left, you can check Stovepipe Wells. Camping equipment is not included in this trip. You will need to supply your own tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad or whatever else you need for camping overnight. If you need suggestions on equipment please let me know. I can also bring out camping equipment for you at an additional fee. If you wish to have me supply camping equipment (tent, sleeping bag, pad etc..) please let me know.




If you will be flying in for this workshop the best airport is Las Vegas, NV. Death Valley is a quick 2 hour drive west from Vegas.


A full list of camera gear / camping gear will be supplied to upon registering, the basics are a DSLR camera, wide angle lens, a tripod and a cable release. 


Meals are no included in this workshop. BUT! I will have a jetboil burner to cook Ramen noodles and other packaged or canned goods in from the field, so If you bring a mesh kit, we can make it work.



A non refundable deposit of $1,000.00 must be paid to reserve your spot on this workshop. This workshop is for Alumni ONLY.  A deposit option may also be available on this workshop. The remaining balance is due no later than January 8th, 2019.



Jeff Berkes Photography reserves the right to make changes to the schedule, dates if need be. We are not responsible for bad weather, delays or cancellations. We are also not responsible for lost or stolen items, injuries, sickness, death or damages to personal equipment and lost of personal travel expense. Failure to comply to park rules, regulations and will result in you being ejected from the workshop. Transaction fees / tax may be added to your cart at checkout.


2019 DEVA Racetrack Adventure


This workshop does not include travel to, from  the workshop. Transportation to and from The Racetrack is included. Camping is also included the first 3 nights of the workshop. You will need to book overnight arrangements for yourself the last night of the workshop the night of April 7th... I think I will opt to camp that night again, have a nice camp fire to end the night. If you would like to all camp again together the final night let me know. We can sit around the fire, talk photo, talk life, talk about the trip, review images there and relax with a glass of wine or a couple of beers! REally looking forward to this.


For more information or to register please contacts us here at

Kind Regards,