Wide Open Spaces in Death Valley NP

My favorite wide open space is Death Valley (the specific valley in Death Valley National Park, which is actually composed of multiple valleys: Eureka, Panamint, Saline, Racetrack, etc). From these salt flats and the others stretching to the south, you can view the Funeral Mountains, the Grapevine Mountains, the Black Mountains, the massive Panamint Range, and get a glimpse of the Cottonwood Mountains. The 360 views are always impressive and humbling, as this spot always reminds me of the incredible vastness of this region.

Specific Feedback Requested:

I have been tweaking this photo for years so I have it where I want it, but I am still always open to feedback.

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

Single file (f/14, 3.2 sec, 16mm) with pretty simple processing


This is one of my favorite Death Valley images ever created. I’ve been to that exact area and didn’t quite have the same shapes in the tiles nor the light, but can attest to just how amazing it is to be there. This encapsulates that!

Thanks so much for the kind comment, Matt! The joy and frustration of this area is the ever-changing playa. I have looked for these patterns every year for the last five or so years, and they have never been quite the same (they were entirely white last winter!).

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Although it looks awe-inspiring there also is an inviting, peaceful feeling to this grand scene. Love your composition, Sarah, with the abstract looking foreground leading into the classic background mountain sunrise/set scene.

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Stunning wide-angle view with lovely light and sky! This area changes every year and not usually for the better.

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What a beautiful combination of colors and shapes! These remind me of stepping stones, inviting me to walk further into the scene. So pretty, Sarah!


Yeah, it was still really neat to see, but very hard to make a good image haha.

Amazing sight. Looks like a chess board.

Beautiful image Sarah! Love the patterns in the foreground juxtaposed with the mountains and color in the sky. Looks so peaceful there.

Awesome image, Sarah. I need to make DV one of my near term destinations.

You processing is perfect.


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An incredible scene, Sarah. The colors in this are astounding yet believable. Though I know you, like many others, have prescribed to the 2:3 format, I do wonder if this image would look nicer as a 4:5 crop, as the far-right area (the pink in the sky, particularly) has a tendency to draw my eye a bit more than I would like. Nonetheless, I am glad to see you back on NPN more actively.

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This is just Wow, Sarah. In all the years I’ve been going to DVNP, I’ve never seen the tiles look like this. Just amazing. It’s so difficult to actually set up your shot with so many varying shapes in the foreground but this is well composed. I think you have just the right amount of sky to foreground in this scene and although I generally prefer a tighter aspect ratio, this works really well. I was tempted to suggest that you crop off the very right hand side of the scene to eliminate the orange glow at the end of the mountain ridge but I’m now thinking I like how the mountains simply hit the horizon. Your sky is just beautiful and everything looks perfectly processed. One of my favorite Death Valley images.
Great to see you active again.

Sarah, the long view across the salt pans is spectacular. Having some textures in both the lighter and darker areas of the pans adds a lot of interest to the foreground. What a treat to get some color in the clouds to top things off.

Sarah, great photo. Those pink skies juxtaposed against the white tiled foreground make for a wonderful picture. Great work!

You really got a great composition and the sky was perfect. When I shot it a year ago I did not have the great colors in the sky or the well defined tiles as perfect.

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This is the reason to have a camera…in the hands (and soul) of someone who has learned to use it.

An amazing image, just love it! As you say, it is really optimized so nothing to improve IMO.

That’s wonderful! Congrats on the EP Sarah.

Such an inviting image. I love it! So deceptively simple looking. I’m drawn in by those wonderful patterns on the ground without any other distractions in the way. Love all the colours and the tones working together.