Valley of Fire SP, Nevada, USA by Michael Thomas

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Picture Story

Valley of Fire SP 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. There are only a few recognizable features such as Gibraltar and the Fire Wave. Mostly I prefer this as it affords more original compositions, but icons are icons for a reason, so I wanted to visit the Fire Wave. The trail begins across the road from the next to last parking lot on the White Domes scenic road and is a short hike on mostly level terrain. Like its more famous cousin, the Wave, the Fire Wave has long sinuous curves. However, the striping is more pronounced and resembles a barber’s pole that has unwound.

On this afternoon visit, there was only one other serious photographer, a couple of tourists and an older gent who spoke to us shooters. He clearly was a seasoned photographer, speaking about luminosity curves among other topics. Because the other photographer was shooting in a small arroyo leading to the wave itself, I sought a spot above the wave where I could capture the curvature leading straight to the peak. I was very pleased when our camera-less friend yelled down to the other photographer that my spot provided better separation from the surrounding landscape.

The image is a single exposure with minimal processing in Lightroom, primarily a gradient to balance the sky exposure and improve the contrast in the clouds.

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