I just spent four days in Death Valley over Thanksgiving weekend. This was my first time there, and I logged almost 1100 miles to/from Los Angeles and throughout the park. In these days, I saw Stovepipe Dunes, Eureka Dunes, the Racetrack, Mesquite Flats, Badwater, Artist's Palette, Zabrinski Point, and Titus Canyon. However, I didn't photograph in Titus Canyon nor Artist's Palette. But, I hit the Racetrack at Sunset, Eureka at Sunset, Mesquite Flats at sunset, Stovepipe Dunes one sunrise and Zabrinski Point for two sunrises.
As for camping, I slept in the bed of my truck in the backcountry to keep the cost down.
As for food, I brought my own groceries from home, which gave me a lot of freedom. However, I did eat a breakfast in Furnace Creek one day.
Keep in mind that gas is expensive in the valley, but you don't have many options.
As for maps, I picked one up from AAA that was actually more detailed than the map provided by the rangers.
If you have a GPS unit that will tell you the azimuth of the sun, then bring that as well. Otherwise, go online and get this data and bring a printout with you. Along with this, bring a compass. All of this will help you during your scouts so that you don't waste any valuable time. That's what happened to me at Zabrinski. I had mistakenly left my compass at home and didn't know where the sun was going to rise. So, on the my first morning there, I was in the completely wrong location. This was corrected the next day and rewarded with a couple great shots.
Another important item to bring is a headlamp.
As for cameras, I shot predominately with a Toyo 810M. I shot 11 frames of 8x10 and 29 frames of 4x5 on the same camera using a 4x5 reducing back. I also brought my 1DS-MKII, which I predominately used for scouting and the occasional keeper shot.
One last piece of advice...watch out for sand. It has a way of getting into everything!!!!
Well, that's it for now. Have fun!!!!