Dust Storm, Early Evening. Death Valley National Park, California. April 1, 2015. © Copyright 2015 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
Warm light on sand dunes during an evening sandstorm
This was a somewhat strange weather day in Death Valley National Park, with thick and deep morning haze, apparently caused by dust storms some distance away from my location, and then the beginnings of a local dust storm later in the afternoon and evening. Since this is a windy time of year, dust storms sort of come with the territory, and I’ve been through a few. They are not a pleasant event, since they manage to work a fine silt into almost everything — tent, car, clothes, and so on. However, they are part of the desert scene and they can provide some compelling atmospheric conditions for photography.
As I crossed Death Valley near this iconic set of dunes, the sun was dropping toward the cottonwood Mountains to the west. The low angle back light obscured and softened the features of the landscape, and the late light was beginning to shift toward the warm end of the color spectrum. From foreground to the distance there is a sequence of layers: the foreground flats with their sparse plant growth, the beginnings of the transverse dunes beyond that, rising to the peaks of Star Dune, and far across the valley the base of the mountains range, whose details are essentially invisible here.
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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Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.