Zabriskie Point Revisited

My blog post of our first visit to Zabriskie Point mentioned 'flat light'.  I was disappointed in not getting the bright golden light needed to get the best demonstration of the fascinating rocks that make this site such an iconic point of interest in Death Valley.  Tom and I decided to give it another try.  We used The Photographers' Ephemeris to pick a morning where the light was forecast to be more interesting.  In addition to a different light, I wanted to try out my 70-200mm f/2.8 lens that had just been returned to me by Tamron.  The lens would not focus properly right out of the box!  So you will see some really nice close up photographs not usually posted for Zabriskie.  Our choice meant we had a long three hour drive to get there before sunrise and catch whatever Mother Nature would give us.  We hope you enjoy the effort!

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Zabriskie Point

Zabriskie Point is a part of the Amargosa Range located in Death Valley National Park. It geological history is complicated but some understanding off its history, even if limited, is helpful to appreciate the images that follow. From Wikipedia, "Millions of years prior to the actual sinking and widening of Death Valley and the existence of Lake Manly another lake covered a large portion of Death Valley including the area around Zabriskie Point. This ancient lake began forming approximately nine million years ago. During several million years of the lake's existence, sediments were collecting at the bottom in the form of saline muds, and gravel from nearby mountains, and ashfalls from the then-active Black Mountain volcanic field. These sediments combined to form what we today call the Furnace Creek Formation. The climate along Furnace Creek Lake was dry, but not nearly as dry as in the present."  Erosion plays an important role in weathering the landscape with different layers of soil and minerals eroding at different rates. From Wikipedia, again: Regional mountain building to the west (the purple blue mountain range you see below in our images)  influenced the climate to become more and more arid, causing the lake to dry up, and creating a dry lake. Subsequent widening and sinking of Death Valley and the additional uplift of today's Black Mountains tilted the area. This provided the necessary relief to accomplish the erosion that produced the badlands we see today. The dark-colored material capping the badland ridges (to the left and right in our images) is lava from eruptions that occurred three to five million years ago. This hard lava cap has retarded erosion in many places."

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Wrapping Up Tom's Trip

With a week to cull, edit, sort and decide . . . here are some final images from Tom's trip to Palouse and back.

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Tom enjoyed havinng you along and sharing his 'finds'. We are both looking forward to shooting together on our next trip.

Have a great weekend.