Among the Seven Sisters, Valley of Fire State Park

Among the Seven Sisters, Valley of Fire State Park

On our way to Zion National Park back in May, we made the brief detour to Nevada's Valley of Fire State Park. I have posted one previous photograph from this park, and have just a couple more that I wanted to share, including this one.

The color of the sandstone in this park really is remarkable, even if you're accustomed to what the deserts of the southwest have to offer. As you descend into the valley, the fiery red sandstone jumps out from the surrounding, rather bleak landscape. This colorful sandstone exists in pockets throughout the park, and as we drove west to east we passed a feature known as The Seven Sisters, which are seven sandstone features set apart from the rest of the landscape. Though we didn't stop initially I noted a wonderful glow to the light and we decided to return later for closer investigation.

Being mid-afternoon, the unobstructed sun was beating down on us almost directly above, which is not typically favorable lighting for photography. However, at one location in particular, one rock-face was in direct sun, while about 10-20 feet away the other rock-face was in shadow, but substantially lit by the adjacent reflection. This is a common source of amazing light in the southwest - not that which is lit directly, but that which is lit by colorful reflected light. This colorful and softly-lit sandstone also features some remarkable erosion, to bring some form and texture to an amazing color palette.

One of the only unfortunate things about Valley of Fire State Park is that, in my opinion, it may bring visitors too close to the landscape (though this may just be the difference between state parks, and the national parks to which I've grown accustomed). Picnic tables and parking spots are brought right in among the Seven Sisters, somewhat breaking up the feature itself. With people, sadly, also comes graffiti. I kept most of it out of the frame, but it was nearly impossible find a patch of this wall that didn't have someone's name carved into it. I failed to exclude it from the frame entirely, and removed some of it digitally. So, to the people who carve their names into park features (and the family who encouraged their kids to jump and stomp on the Jeffrey Pine on top of Yosemite's Sentinel Dome, who I can't seem to forget) - please, stop it. This is why we can't have nice things.

Tachihara 4x5 | Caltar II-N 150mm f/5.6 | f/22 | 1/8s | Fuji Velvia 50 | Tripod

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