Pinnacles, Seamless Valley. Near Trona, California. March 27, 2016. © Copyright 2016 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
Trona Pinnacles, Searles Valley, Desert Mountains
These remarkable pinnacles stand just off to the side of a route I often use to get to Death Valley National Park, and that’s where I was reading on this day back in March. The pinnacles are just outside of their namesake town of Trona, a rather isolated and seemingly decaying old town whose main business seems to be extracting minerals from the playa holding Searles Lake. A drive through the town reveals that it is still alive, but that it is suffering the malady of so many isolated desert towns depending on extraction industries, namely an eventual decline. There are many buildings that have clearly just been abandoned.
The pinnacles are visible a few miles away from Trona, out in the valley just south of the lack. They appear as a long row of huge, tooth-like formations. I understand that they are ancient tufa formations, related to but much larger than the similar formations in some other well-known California locations. I have been contemplating photographing them for years, and from time to time I stop and drive out there. The main challenge has always been the lighting, and every time I’ve been there the light has been the stark, clear sky light of desert day, which is not always conducive to photography. This time that light was softened a bit but a few high clouds and some haze, and as we explored the pinnacles I saw this juxtaposition of near and far towers.
G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist. His book, “California’s Fall Color: A Photographer’s Guide to Autumn in the Sierra” is available from Heyday Books and Amazon.
Blog | About | Flickr | Twitter | Facebook | Google+ | 500px.com | LinkedIn | Email
All media © Copyright G Dan Mitchell and others as indicated. Any use requires advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.