Fire in the Valley of Fire

The ground really is a brilliant pink in the Valley of Fire – at least in this spot. In other places, it’s bright orange, or crazy yellow, or smooth white. Spots and stripes and bumps and curves make it even more incredible. But the skies on this particular night were just as breathtaking.

It’s hard to get the colors right when you are shooting in the place like this. The default color balance settings in the RAW converter just can’t handle unusual lighting conditions – so it comes down to remembering the scene as it was. Are my settings just right? Probably not – but they are as close as I can get to the reality of the scene as I remember it.

It’s important to realize that color casts are sometimes real – removing the cast would actually make the image feel wrong to the viewer. If the blinds in my bedroom are half-lowered, I can see only the street outside my window… not the sky. In the evenings sometimes, I’ll look out through those half lowered blinds and see that the street is an odd color – there’s a hint of magenta that wasn’t there before. When that happens, I’ll pull up the blinds or step outside because I know that the sky must be amazing. And it always is. That color cast is quite real – and I want it to remain in my image.

So on a night like this one, the sky was actually enhancing the colors on the ground. The color shift isn’t always subtle – at least to someone who is used to looking for it – and in this case, the beautiful pinks stood out even more as they reflected the light from the sky.

Have you seen the color casts I’m talking about? Sometimes it’s magenta, sometimes golden… but always beautiful! :)

6 replies
  1. Sathya
    Sathya says:

    End of the day it is all about making the photograph, not just taking it. Love how u had captured the light (on the sky and the ground), felt like I was just there, watching it in person.

  2. Sue
    Sue says:

    Beautiful story and pictures…This is a place my husband and I would love to visit…Could you give the address of this place??
    We are traveling thru Nevada and California in April, 2012

    Thank you..


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