layered sandstone details, Valley of Fire

Valley of Fire | Nevada | Thanksgiving 2011

Taking an editing break from portraits to go back to some of the landscape photographs from the awesome colors of the Valley of Fire State Park. I had pulled over the side of the road to take this photograph on a very narrow road with barely enough room for one car to pass over(while it was meant for two-way traffic). I was taking my chances and hoping for the best. I do that once in a while :)  Those who have been to this park and driven on the roads of the Rainbow Vista section know what I am talking about.

The light on the layers of sandstone was brilliant and I knew immediately that I had to capture it. With so many possibilities I was struggling to find ‘the’ definitive framing, with the layered sandstone details in the foreground above, as my primary focal interest. As I set up my tripod, I found the sky screaming to be pulled into the frame as well. The direction of the light also meant that the tripod was going to be in too. The struggle continued in my editing attempts. I have revisited this a couple of times in the last few months and tried to crop and present in the most effective manner and yet somehow never quite got satisfied with it so I have given up now. I would, however, love to hear creative feedback on your choice of the rectangular frame around this !

These vibrant colors at sunset contrast against a completely different color palette during early morning light here . The colors you see here were so vibrant, that I had to pull down the saturation just a tad bit to look more realistic :)

Here’s a video ( there might be better ones out there, I just picked a random one from the state park’s website) that gives a peek into the colors and layers of history you can find here !

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13 thoughts on “layered sandstone details, Valley of Fire

    • indeed, the blue against the sandstone especially in that warm light was wonderful to photograph. Btw, the shadow with pointy nose on the left is not me – that is some other rock … just being sure :)

  1. This is a fine picture. It’s so sharp. I would (if you’re not concerned about a constrained aspect ratio) crop this immediately above the shadow of the camera on the tripod. Leave all the rest in. What’s left of your shadow will look natural. This will actual (IMO) improve the image. Because it’s so sharp, the tight framing will give it a 3d quality. You almost feel that you can walk around between the rocks.

    • Thank you Joanne for your feedback. I had one version with that cropping. The tripod (and more importantly my own shadow) had bothered me but in doing that it also cropped away, what I thought, was some of the interesting pieces – the layered lines in bottom. Although some of that layering portions still remains though. I just wasn’t sure. I will give it another pass sometime later to look again.

      I am also curious to know more about the sharpness. Does this photograph look over-sharpened to you ? In general I hate it when I see an over-sharpened image and would try to avoid it consciously. I have used a 24 mm TS-E lens here, which is a pretty sharp lens in itself and I did add some in post processing. Did i overdo it ?

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