Death Valley: Zabriskie Point Sunrise, Manly Beacon

Death Valley National Park is a phenomenal study of erosion, weather, geology, sand dunes, salt formations, and huge spring wildflower blooms on rare occasions.

One of the “must see” areas is Zabriskie Point.

Manly Beacon is the high triangular-shaped outcrop on the right. Manly Beacon was named in honor of William L. Manly, who along with John Rogers, guided members of the ill-fated Forty-niners out of Death Valley during the gold rush of 1849.

Get to this spot well before sunrise. As soon as the sunrise light hits the Panamint Mountain Range on the opposite side of the valley, the shot will soon be over.

Also, you need clouds for the shot to work. If there are no clouds, try another location. The sand dunes and Dante’s View (both coming up) are better choices if the light is not dramatic.

Feature Image Details

I consider this light to be good quality and the air was clear. I would have preferred better clouds over the Panamint Range across the valley, but the clouds worked nicely as a panorama.

Manly Beacon

That is one of the images in the panorama.

By the time light hits Manly Beacon, the best images were long ago in your camera.

Do not be late for this spot, or for that matter, any spot in Death Valley. Morning light is very fleeting.

Pre-Dawn Image 

In the above image, you can see the light coming up to the SouthEast (Winter). The contrast was intense. I blended two images together in Photoshop.

The advantage of staying high (at the top of the photography area) is that you can shoot in several directions. It may be better to be a bit lower for Manly Beacon but this shot vanishes.

Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

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Mike “Mish” Shedlock

11 thoughts on “Death Valley: Zabriskie Point Sunrise, Manly Beacon

  1. Mish

    The photos are fantastic. I’ve only been to 5 or so off your park visits. I miss your market comments.

    Walter Fair Amissville, Va

  2. Hi Mish – that was a terrific image. I remember going to Zabriskie point with my good Pro friends Tony Corbell and Laurie Rubin many years ago. Even though I was “outgunned and outclassed” I still came away with a nice dawn shot that I was proud enough to print on metal. Thanks for the memories (and keep ’em coming!). Kevin

    1. Thanks Kevin
      Cheers to you.
      Zabriskie is not an easy shot. I think panorama added to the shot. I am guessing that was about 120-140 degrees

  3. Looks great! I was just at Death Valley 2 weeks ago but did not leave myself enough time to see everything, including Zabriskie Point. Did you go to the Artist’s Drive? Looking forward to more pictures.

  4. Wow Mish! Been following your econ stuff for a long time. Stumbled on to these images of Zabruski and recognized your name. Who knew you are also a fine art photographer? Well not me. We must have a similar eye — couple of our compositions are virtually identical. You had alpenglow and I had snow.

    I love photography in Death Valley. It’s variety of landscape is amazing.


    1. Hi William
      Please subscribe to MishMoments
      I have been posting about once a week but will step up that pace to 2 a week.

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