In 1993, on my first visit to Death Valley, following Yosemite and Denali, I realized how much of nature’s variety was showcased in the national park system as a whole. Death Valley is the hottest and driest area in the country, a vast and trying place of desert extremes, ranging from the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere to tall snow-capped mountains. Many geological wonders – vast sand dunes, one of the largest salt pans on earth, and rocks moving mysteriously on a dry lake bed – highlight it. Growing up in France, I had never seen deserts before. The sight of the dunes set in the vast valley astonished me, as did the distances there. What at first promised to be a short stroll took an hour of trudging in the sand.
After visiting the dunes many times, I strived to challenge the notion that no good landscape photograph can be taken there at midday. Low light is usually preferred for the Mesquite Sand Dunes because it creates shadows by hitting the raised edges of the ripples, making them visible. The same effect can be obtained with a high sun provided that the angle of the sun rays is close to parallel to the angle of the slope. Of all the dunes around, I selected those for their steep slope grazed by the sunrays, and shot backlit, which also helped revealed its texture. The background of mountains provides a texture that echoes that of the dune while remaining secondary because of the dark tones, and I made sure to exclude the sky since it would have been brighter than the dunes, therefore pulling the eye away from them. #deathvalleynationalpark #deathvalley #nationalpark #california
Image (from my book Treasured Lands) part of the exhibit "The Blue Marble: Art for the Environment" at Pacific Art League Sept 6-25, 2019, 668 Ramona Street, Palo Alto. @pacificartleague @nasa @sierraclub @environmentalvolunteers