Valley of Fire SP, Nevada, USA by Michael Thomas

Picture Story

Valley of Fire is a wonderful landscape location full of arches, washes and colorful sandstone formations. Delicately finned rock abounds. In my opinion it rivals the more famous spots in the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument - the Wave, Coyote Buttes South and White Pocket. And it comes with several advantages. It is easily accessible by a regular car and only an hour north of Las Vegas. You don't need to compete for a permit to visit and, for a photographer, there are only a few recognizable features. Some may think the last a decided negative, but I think it provides a keen landscape photographer opportunities for original and compelling compositions, both grand and intimate.

On this trip, I was wandering between two adjacent canyons, looking for the formation called Crazy Hill. I came upon an alcove containing sandstone with a variety of colors and shapes, something Valley of Fire has in abundance. The sky had turned overcast, and the softer light allowed me an opportunity to compose a number of abstracts of the different fins. I spent an hour or so doing this, and this one is my favorite. I used my 90mm tilt-shift lens, though with neither tilt nor shift as the surface was relatively flat and parallel to the camera’s sensor.

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 finned formations. I’ve seen a lot of them damaged by careless visitors.

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3 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Michael H Thomas on

    Thank you, R Michael. I have been fascinated by VoF since I first saw images of it by Tim Harris a dozen or so years ago. mike.

    • Avatar

      Sorry, that was Tim Fitzharris. Several of his books feature Valley of Fire. The cover of Big Sky : Wild West Panorama is a great example.

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