Character Sketches

To call it "big" is beyond understatement; Death Valley sprawls across 3.3 million acres. It also soars to altitudes greater than 11,000 feet and plunges to depths 282 feet below sea level. With such dramatic characteristics, Death Valley could only be a place of stunning contrast. And yet, there are some who envision this gem of the California desert as endless sand and sullen barrenness. Two staff photographers from The Times set out to capture whatever moods the valley might offer during one weekend this winter. Taking different approaches, different compass points and different altitudes, they returned with these images of this nation's newest National Park.

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