We spent this morning at Zabriski Point again finding different angles and enjoying the sunrise. Ran into Photographer, Donald Hall, a lovely gentleman whom I had briefly met at the Art Wolfe International Conservation Photography Awards. He was kind enough to have worn a bright red jacket on his trek up the hills. I worked him into several panoramic shots of the point in a "Where's Waldo" kind of way. I can't wait to get home to stitch these panos together! We chatted for a bit and he gave me several ideas for my next trip to Death Valley. THANK YOU, Don!
We left Zabriski and headed toward Badwater with the intent of shooting macros of the salt. Along the way we found another coorporative raven and spent about an hour parked on the side of the road on our bellies photographing him as he hopped from rock to rock. I'm sure people wondered what in the world we were doing laying in the dirt on the side of the road while they were rushing by to see the next big view. We finally made it to Badwater and worked the salt for a while. We had to be certain to be back at the hotel to get the remainder of our gear from our rooms before check out time.
After lunch we headed West out of the park and turned South on Trona-Wildrose Road. We stopped at the Ballarat Ghost Town. A small collection of mud houses in disrepair. The mood of a ghost town was completely absent from this place... there were RV's parked nearby, signs for the showers, a large gift shop... So we headed back onto the road after a quick look.
We reached the Trona Pinnacles around 3pm and the light was flat and ugly. I could see images everywhere I looked but nothing that would work without the light. We explored the area, waiting for the storm clouds to break just a little bit to give us a hint of light. From time to time we got a 30 second window, just quick enough to set up the tripod and snap one image before another cloud moved in. There was a film crew there, setting up to shoot something so we steered well clear. Only two oher vehicles showed up in the time we were there.
Finally, about 20 minutes before the sun would be hidden by the horizon the clouds broke and we were treated to light on the Pinnacles. The difference the light made was amazing. The entire landscape came to life and all of the potential images I had been frustrated in not capturing properly, came to life.
The Trona Pinnacles are a National Natural Landmark managed by the BLM. Comprised of over 500 Tufa spires (calcium carbonate), some as high as 140 feet, the Trona Pinnacles are a spectacular sight to see. The spires were formed between 10,000 and 100,000 years ago when Searles Lake formed a link in a chain of Pleistocene lakes that ranged between Mono Lake and Death Valley. The Pinnacles have been used as a filming location for episodes of Lost in Space and Star Trek and movies like "Planet of the Apes".
Tomorrow we reach Joshua Tree. We'll finally get out the camping gear and stay a few nights on the ground which I can't wait for! Unfortunately... or fotunately depending on your view point, there won't be internet acess from there so you will all have to wait to see what comes out of the next few days! Be safe everyone and get outside and enjoy nature!! =0))