Black on Red, Valley of Fire

Black on Red, Valley of Fire

Look down to your feet! It is incredible what you will see. This scene is one of those that I would have missed if I had not been in the habit of looking at my feet — a practice that comes from years of hiking and backpacking.

It is a rather ordinary scene without the small black stones that have weathered away and come to rest on the red and white striped sandstone. I first noticed it in the afternoon, when the overhead sun made the rock brownish and the sky gray, but it was a good enough photo that I did a bunch of exposures, then went on my way. Returning this way later, after sunset, the low-angle red light transformed it entirely, and I made more shots. This is my favorite — the heightened drama from the low, red light sets it on fire.

Valley of Fire is a smallish and dramatic redrock state park near Las Vegas, Nevada, that is under-appreciated. With the exotic lure of Vegas so close, millions pass by this desert masterpiece on their way to buy a piece of the glitter. I’m not a huge fan of the Las Vegas resort scene, however, and so you’re more likely to find me nearby, at the Valley of Fire, eyes down at my feet.

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