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Valley of Fire is one of my favorite places in the American Southwest for landscape photography. It is full of arches, washes and colorful sandstone formations, many with delicately finned rock. It is easily accessible by a regular car, only an hour north of Las Vegas. You don't need to compete for a permit to visit as you do at The Wave and Coyote Buttes South in the Vermillion Cliffs. Unlike many other locations that photographers are drawn to, here there are only a few recognizable features, presenting a challenge that keen landscape photographers can relish for creating original and compelling compositions, both grand and intimate.
The absence of sky in this image makes it difficult at first glance to determine the scale of this “slot canyon.” In reality, it is actually only a few feet tall tall. I was immediately attracted to the rainbow of colors and the strong leading lines that draw you into it. The wash is part of an alternative route to the Fire Wave and was clearly well traveled. Prior to taking my shot, I spent some time doing my best to remove the dozens of boot prints in the sand.
The park has a campground, and lodging is available in nearby Overton. Valley of Fire SP closes at sundown, but in my experience the rangers are tolerant of photographers and allow for a bit of dusk photography. Please be careful around the delicate finned formations. I’ve seen a lot of them damaged by careless visitors.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor