The Illuminating Lens

Salt Creek Trail – Death Valley National Park, California – Part 3 – 2022

Very early in the morning, before sunrise, with our headlamps on, we hiked the Salt Creek Trail.  There is a boardwalk through the more soggy, yes, soggy parts of this area.   I could hear water running along the boardwalk but I could not see it!  I wondered if it would taste salty!

In the dark, our instructor for this location, Michael Frye, took us to a spot for an early morning view of this part of Death Valley National Park.

As the light started to come up, we set up our tripods and cameras waiting for the sunrise.

Getting ready for the light but which way to look??
Just before sunrise with the moon still visible. Nikon Z7 with 14-24mm Z lens.

As the sky started to get some color I realized that we were finally going to get some clouds, the first we had seen since arriving in Death Valley!  The clouds just added to the beautiful vista that was before us!

Colorful Clouds

As the light came up I started to see the layers that make up this amazing place.

Before sunrise!

I started seeing some more of those “intimate” landscapes, so I pulled out my 70-200mm lens and for the first time ever, using the FTZ converter, I attached this F lens to my Nikon Z7 Mirrorless camera.  It worked great!  That is a lot of lens for that smallish camera but on the tripod, it was not a problem.

A more intimate view! Nikon Z7 with FTZ converter and 70-200mm lens.

As I looked around I found arroyos where water had obviously flowed back when there were rains in December.

Evidence of water flow! Nikon Z7 with FTZ and 70-200mm lens.

As the sun started to rise above the mountains the colors started to come up in the landscape.

Sun coloring the mountains in the distance. Nikon Z7 with FTZ and 70-200mm lens.

I turned around and around seeing more layers becoming visible as we got more light!

Sunrise! Nikon Z7 with FTZ and 70-200mm lens.

I try to get at least one image with a person in these grand landscapes for a little perspective!

That is not snow! Nikon Z7 with FTZ and 70-200mm lens.

I then turned to the left and saw this! Wow!

The contrasts are so…..! Nikon Z7 with FTZ and 70-200mm lens.

Then I remembered, shoot a vertical!  Not something I do very often when shooting grand landscapes but I think this one worked!

The layers in the vertical! Nikon Z7 with FTZ and 70-200mm lens.

The light was starting to get too bright so we packed up and headed back to the trailhead.

I had to get one last image!

Looking across! Nikon Z7 with FTZ and 70-200mm lens.

When we had entered the trailhead and walked the boardwalk it was so dark we could not see the water so as we walked back out I had to get the proof that there is water in the desert!

Along the Salt Creek Trail boardwalk.

It was time to head back to the resort, get some breakfast, do some downloading, maybe take a nap, and then get ready for the afternoon schedule of panel discussions, tabletop discussions, and then lunch.    After lunch, we met up with our instructors for that afternoon and the next morning!

The Salt Creek Trail is a very interesting trail since there is so much water there (in January, anyway) and the views from some of the surrounding ridges are spectacular.

Don’t forget your telephoto lens even in these grand landscape kinds of places!  I was so glad I had thrown my 70-200mm lens in the bag!

My next blog will be on the very popular Zabriskie Point!

Click on any image to see a larger version OR visit my gallery to see and purchase prints of these and additional images: Salt Creek Trail

That is all for now.


Lynn Wiezycki

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