Trail Canyon, Lower Slopes of Wildrose Peak. Death Valley National Park, California. March 30, 2011. © Copyright G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
Afternoon shadows fall across the lower slopes of Wildrose Peak above Trail Canyon and below Aguereberry Point, with Death Valley and the Black Mountains beyond.
The view from Aguereberry Point (and from this location close to the point) is spectacular and expansive, taking in everything from Death Valley itself, stretching almost 180 degrees from left to right, to the Green, Black, and other mountains beyond. To the south and north other ranges merge with the atmospheric haze. The peaks of the Panamint range lie behind, and in places where the view is clear you can look down on the rugged terrain of the east face of the Panamint Range with its rugged ridges and deep canyons dropping towards the Valley. This photograph looks roughly southeast towards the lower end of Death Valley in the area around Ashford Mill. The deep foreground canyon, the bottom of which is just visible at lower right, is Trail Canyon. I understand that a four-wheel-drive road used to come up to Aguereberry Point via that canyon, but that parts have washed out and it can no longer be driven. I think that you can hike it, but that would be one heck of a climb since the base of the canyon can’t be more than a few hundred feet above Death Valley (which is below sea level in this area) and the Point is well above 6000′. The lower slopes of Wildrose Peak rise beyond the canyon.
Surprisingly, this view presents several photographic challenges. Because of the haze that appears when such great distances are part of the scene, I chose to use a polarizing filter for this shot. Timing is important here, too. Arrive a bit too early and the light is harsh and flat. Arrive a bit too late and the foreground ridges are quickly enveloped in shadows as the sun drops behind the crest of the Panamint Range. (Yes, I have made both mistakes in the past.) Knowing this, I arrived a bit earlier than I might have usually arrive to shoot evening light and I managed to photograph the scene before that Panamint Range shadow obliterated the foreground light.
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