Devil’s Golf Course


My first morning in Death Valley - Christmas day, I was up at daybreak. The morning light on the mountains to the west just glowed. As time passed, the light filled the valley floor toward me, and the moment was gone. But, the way the mountains lit up as the sun rose in the sky was amazing.

I spent the day exploring south of Furnace Creek. Heading back to Stovepipe Wells toward end of day, my last stop was Devil’s Golf Course at dusk. It was cold and dreary. But, still seeing in my mind the morning glow of the mountains, and now the rugged, ragged foreground at Devil’s Golf Course, I knew I had to be back at Devil’s Golf Course the next morning at dawn.

Next day, I set out before sunrise from Stovepipe Wells to Devil’s Golf Course. It took longer than I expected and I thought I would be too late. But, luck stayed with me and the light was moving down the western mountains - just about one fourth down from the tops when I arrived. The moon was just above the crest of the mountains and setting. That was a shot worth the trip even if what I had gone for didn’t happen - the blanket of light washing down the mountains to the west.

It was bitter cold and breezy. My hands were not working well - so cold. Looking south the hues went from blue on the eastern mountains to purple across the valley and orange on the western mountains. Like moving through the colors of a rainbow. The light grew bright on the mountains to the west and sharply delineated from the valley floor. If there is any secret to the shot, it is simply being in the right place at the right time.

The shot was hand held.
Nikon D800
Nikon 24-120 f4.0 at 24mm
1/250TH at f/9.0
ISO 400

Lightroom was used to edit the original NEF. Not much was needed. The main improvement was from Lightroom’s new “Dehaze” feature. Then just some minor tweaks to give it a little more punch.

Date Added
August 9, 2016