Early Morning Reflections


The five o’clock alarm came around quickly this morning.

Deep, dark skies engulfed us as we made the short drive to the Badwater Salt Flats, and we were both very impressed with the clarity of the starlit skies here in this part of California. We wanted to try exploring a little further away from where we had been the night before, so we parked about half a mile past the parking lot and ventured out maybe half a mile onto the valley floor from there. Everything was still pretty wet, though we were hoping to use that to our advantage and capture a reflection of the morning light hitting the Panamints across the valley floor.

The light came very quickly… truth be told before I was ready for it. I was still scrambling around looking for a decent composition where I could frame a reflection when the whole sky above us lit up with warm pink light. I knew I only had seconds before the light would hit the snow capped peaks, so I hurriedly set up my tripod and tried to capture the wonderful scene presented to us. The trouble I was having settling on a composition came from my inability to make sense of the chaos of the foreground and frame the broken ridges in a way where the reflection worked. I couldn’t get low enough to really accentuate the reflection, so the wide angle lens I was using doesn’t really convey how exciting it was to see the mountains reflected in pools of water in the salt polygons. The great light didn’t last long, though it was still incredible to hang out and watch the shadows continue to race across the mountains and then the valley floor.

After shooting at this location, we followed the Badwater Road away from our hotel and explored the path through the valley toward Shoshone. We had fun shooting the high desert landscape and the long and straight roads that went as far as the eye can see.

Here’s me and the boy posing for a self-portrait – we were the only people on the flats this particular morning, and we both appreciated the splendor and serenity of the scene before us. We’re off the the sand dunes at Stovepipe Wells for an evening shoot… more to follow.


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