What It's Like to Work in the Hottest Place on Earth

AP photographer visits Death Valley during 128-degree heat

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 30, 2013 11:28 AM CDT

(Newser) – Photographer Chris Carlson worked in the hottest place on Earth on Friday: Death Valley in California, where temperatures soared to 128 degrees while he attempted to snap photos. Carlson is no stranger to the area, he writes for the AP, but he still made some rookie mistakes: "I forgot my oven mitts, the desert driving trick I learned as a teenager after burning my hands too many times on the steering wheel. And my rental car is black, adding several degrees to the outside temperature." The sun is actually too hot for flip-flops, so he has to switch to shoes, while his cellphone "is so hot that it burns my ear when I try to take a call from my wife."

Despite the extreme heat, this is actually Death Valley's busiest tourist season, Carlson reports. "Tourists, mostly from Europe, come to experience extreme heat," he writes, "or they just didn't know what they were getting into." But those out on Friday rarely emerged from their cars, and those who did only ran out to snap photos before high-tailing it back to their AC-cooled vehicles. Even a pro photographer like Carlson eventually had to surrender to the sun. "The camera around my neck gets so hot it stops working," he writes. "An error message flashes a warning at me." Click to read Carlson's full account at the AP, and feel your body temperature increase.

Eric Varone, right, takes a picture as Floriane Golay, of Switzerland watches, in Death Valley National Park, June 28, 2013.
Eric Varone, right, takes a picture as Floriane Golay, of Switzerland watches, in Death Valley National Park, June 28, 2013.   (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Okamura Kazuhiko, of Japan, takes a picture of the thermometer at the Furnace Creek resort in Death Valley National Park Friday, June 28, 2013.
Okamura Kazuhiko, of Japan, takes a picture of the thermometer at the Furnace Creek resort in Death Valley National Park Friday, June 28, 2013.   (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Maria Wieser, of Italy, takes a drink of water while sightseeing in Death Vally National Park, Friday, June 28, 2013.
Maria Wieser, of Italy, takes a drink of water while sightseeing in Death Vally National Park, Friday, June 28, 2013.   (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
Steve Howard, of Lafayette, Louisiana, does a 30 mile training run from Badwater to Furnace Creek in Death Valley National Park, Friday, June 28, 2013.
Steve Howard, of Lafayette, Louisiana, does a 30 mile training run from Badwater to Furnace Creek in Death Valley National Park, Friday, June 28, 2013.   (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)
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