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
- Canon EOS 6D
- Canon 24-105MM F4 L Lens at F16, 1/10 seconds, ISO 200, at 65mm
- Pano stitch of four horizontal images in Adobe Lightroom
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.
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.
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