The rusty and oxidized tones of the badlands of Zabriskie Point, forming over millennia, can glow under certain conditions like the pre-dawn light of sunrise. As the sun begins to reflect off the atmosphere from below the horizon, it can project diffuse light onto the landscape before the sun can wash it out. This is a magical time in Death Valley National Park, where a lot of the unique features come alive.
Zabriskie is a great place to shoot intimate telephoto images like this, as there is a range different geology and tones to pick from right before you, with all sorts of lines and shapes in the rocks to compose with. If the light is there, it’s great to shoot handheld to creatively compose your shot.
When the light is low like this pre-dawn image, a longer shutter speed is needed to keep ISO clean, so I shot this from a tripod to minimize shake at such a long focal length.
Death Valley is undoubtedly an awesome and otherworldly place. I’ve been lucky to have shot there a few times now so check out my Death Valley Collection here.