Top Tips for The Night Sky – Astrophotography in Death Valley

Milkyway over Borax Mill at Death Valley National Park, California
Milkyway over Borax Mill at Death Valley National Park, Image Credit: IG light.sense

Death Valley National Park, California is designated as the largest Dark Sky National Park in the USA by the International Dark Sky Association.

Stargazing and The Night Sky Photography in Death Valley is something that every astrophotography enthusiast should do at least once in their life. The picture that you get of the sky in Death Valley, California, is truly stunning and memorable.

Here are our top tips for capturing stars in your photos:

  • Use a tripod and remote shutter so you can make sure your camera is as still as possible
  • Use a “fast” aperture of anything between F/1.4 – F/4.
  • Experiment setting your exposure length between 15-30-seconds and see what works for your camera
  • Use Manual focus (rather than auto) to hone in on the stars
  • Shoot in RAW to bring out the most of your photo in Lightroom
  • Bump up your ISO so your camera’s sensor can collect as much light from the stars as possible, but with minimal noise
  • Check out the “500 Rule” for full-frame cameras or the “300 Rule” for crop sensor cameras to help avoid capturing star trails/blurs
Night Sky at Borax Mill at Death Valley
Night Sky at Borax Mill at Death Valley. Image Credit: Instagram

Best Locations for The Night Sky – Astrophotography in Death Valley

Even the full valley region is a dark zone, meaning that there is little to no light pollution. Here we are sharing with you the 4 best locations to visit for the best stargazing and astrophotography experience in Death Valley National Park in California.

Harmony Borax Works

Located near the Furnace Creek Visitor Center, Harmony Borax Works provides a great place to see the night sky with little obstruction from the mountains.

In addition, there are historic buildings and also a mule cart for night photography, which is likely to make for an interesting foreground.

Badwater Basin

Located close 17 miles south on Badwater Road, Badwater Basin can be an excellent place that provide great experience.

The mountain horizon, paired with the beauty of the night sky, will amaze you into an entirely distinctive experience that just Death Valley provides. Seeing the night sky from the salt flats can be a unique, otherworldly experience.

Ubehebe Crater

Ubehebe Crater is a large volcanic field in the northern half of Death Valley. Located at the north tip of the Cottonwood Mountains, Ubehebe Crater provides a unique stargazing and the night sky photography experience.

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

Located near Stovepipe Wells, Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes is a great spot for seeing A LOT of sky.

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