There are always some things about nature that lure you more than the other. The Badwater salt flats are the areas that excite me with its geology more than the beautiful patterns they create. This is what keeps me drawing to them again and again and I made my fourth trip to Death Valley. It had been so many years since I had shot in the USA and it really took me a few days to get into this mode of following the weather and predicting the light for the landscape.
On this afternoon, after returning from an amazing trip on the rough canyon road, I looked at the congregated clouds over the mountains to the west all over. It was time to switch to a photographer’s mode from an explorer’s mind. The light was now soft and diffused, which usually is strong at this time. After a discussion with my friend, I drove sixty miles even further south to these salt flats. As expected the clouds and sun were playing quite a dramatic game in the skies. I walked one and a half miles to an area I had seen the evening before, constantly keeping an eye on the light.
In earlier years of my landscape photography, I always used to wish for the vibrant colors of red, magenta, orange. I still enjoy the moment when I get a chance to shoot in that beautiful light. However, over the years, I have come far beyond just the light and enjoy the experience of being able to bring together the light and landscape in a composition that emotes by itself for the place, weather or any other feeling I possess at that moment.
While I was returning, I got in a conversation with a young enthusiastic photographer who shared his disappointment about the light. However, I was returning in joy to the beautiful formation of the clouds and the light I got to see that evening. A few low dark clouds stretched between the mountains while golden clouds formed a gentle cap of the frame I captured. With the slight peachy golden light reflecting from the bright salt patterns and the soft shadows was all I had been thinking of!