Morning Haze, Death Valley. Death Valley National Park, California. March 30, 2011. © Copyright 2013 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
Distant snow-covered peaks are barely visible across the vast space of Death Valley in hazy morning light
This photograph was made from Dantes View, high in the mountains along the eastern border of Death Valley itself, and with a commanding, panoramic view of a huge portion of the surrounding terrain and especially down into Death Valley and the Badwater area almost right beneath the peak. The view here looks roughly north or northwest, past the location of Furnace Creek and beyond the Mesquite Dunes area to the far northern end of the Valley and then beyond to distant snow-covered peaks.
I have written before that Dantes View has been a difficult place for me to photograph. At first glance, the location has a lot going for it. At about a mile above the Valley floor below, the views encompass a huge area of interesting terrain, ranging from the lowest reaches of Death Valley itself to the 11,000+” Telescope in the Panamint Range to other features so distant that they often fade into the haze. But for me these same features make it very difficult to pick out anything that can draw the larger components of the scene together. There have been times when I have gone there with the intention of photographing, gotten out, looked around, been impressed by the location, and made no photographs at all. This time I mostly shot details of the Valley using a very long lens, but I thought that the shadows of the passing clouds brought enough relieve to the uniformity of the Valley to make this photograph, which I hope conveys some sense of the scale of the place.
G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
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