Ever heard of the "Valley of Fire?"
Last week, my old buddies from Spanish Hills and I went to the Restaurant/Bar/Nightclub convention in Vegas. After a few days of not even being able to push at Pai-Gow, I decided I'd change my luck by grabbing my camera, renting a car and making a solo-run into Nevada's high desert.
My expectations were low (which I'm sure doesn't surprise any of you!).
The prospects of finding bliss didn't get any higher when I saw this at the main highway turn-off:
The next fifteen miles were all 35mph curvy roads. Just me and my 2011 Focus and two road-sodas and the only radio station with reception, a static-ridden Utah area pop-hits broadcast. My hopes remained precipitously low when I didn't see another car the entire way into the park. And the clouds were blocking the sun making a low-light somewhere in the range of three f-stops under 18% gray. Lovely.
But... then it all started happening. Just like the park's absurd name promised, the clouds parted just enough to allow a few rays of sunshine to hit the red sandstone. Whaaaat? Within like twelve seconds, all the rocks all around me began to glow of red and white. And with the areas behind the red rocks in shadow, by glow I mean GLOW. I drove deeper and by now my heart was literally squirting adrenaline. I had only two hours of light left to shoot this entire 35,000 acre park! I was almost overwhelmed with a surge of nervous energy. Pull over, picture, jump in, foot hanging out, repeat.
What a place. Have you heard of the Valley of Fire? I hadn't.
Maybe it was the 72 degree afternoon with perfect light? Maybe the fact I only saw ten people the entire time? Maybe the day's perfect stillness contrasting the previous three days of casinos, clubs and convention? This was the opposite of being funneled through velvet convention ropes and night club lines. It was raw and unbound. No trails and no rails. Go anywhere. I took the following in Death Valley a couple years ago:
How much different could those photographer's images look?
F that. This place was the opposite. Hang off a cliff and get a shot that no one else has ever taken.
I wandered deep into the canyons leaving the Ford and all but my wide-angle behind.
And all this texture. Are you kidding me?
I stumbled onto this feature they call "The Wave." Here it is in b&w.
On the way back, I grabbed the flash and tri-pod and here are the results of five separate long-exposures pointing the flash at different points of this arch. If you look close you can kinda see trails of me.
No flash on this one:
Check out the rest: http://arikreisler.com/f54556045
Thanks for looking.