Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Circling the Sierra Nevada: 280 Feet Below Sea Level

Camping nearby at the Furnace Creek campground in Death Valley National Park, dawn on this day would be at the Badwater salt flats. These polygons of salt are found in this usually dry lakebed at an elevation of 280 feet below sea level.

The salt flats at Death Valley's badwater have been worn smooth by thousands of feet. These are actually small patterns, no more than a few inches across each. I had the camera low and used a wide angle lense to emphasize the foreground. The two tiny dots you see further down this path are people, and they're not really all that far away, they just don't show up much on the wide angle.

I shot this monolith of lava from at least four other positions before it became clear to me that placing the sun directly behind it would help it achieve the appropriate degree of drama.