Death Valley, California, USA by Logan Armbruster

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Picture Story

I set out on the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes in Death Valley National Park that evening in hopes of capturing the vast desert scenes characteristic of the location. Well known to all who have tried to photograph this location that footprints in the sand are extremely pervasive and difficult to elude if you are anywhere within a one mile radius of the parking lot. As a result, I spent a great deal of time hiking away from the parking lot to find the virgin dunes.

By the time I was able to locate this dune with the dead Mesquite bush perched firmly on it's bank, the sun was hanging low in the sky. I scrambled to compose the bush on the dune - careful not to walk on or disturb any sand in my potential composition. Once I had my composition locked in, I was disheartened to see the shadow of a nearby dune had crept in to the bottom of my composition and would soon envelop the entire mesquite bush if I did not act fast. Hastily, I clicked the shutter discouraged I did not set out earlier that evening to avoid this encroaching shadow.

Much to my surprise, I was quite happy with the photograph when I got back home to my computer. The shadow serves to bound the viewers eye from the bottom of the composition and allows the mesquite bush to stand out even more as it catches the last of the evening light and casts its own dramatic shadows in its centrally located position. The lines in the sand and the gentle sweeping dune in the background delicately sets this decrepit mesquite bush in its surroundings and offers a calm vignette into the vast desert land.


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