I think Death Valley is SO amazing!

I have photographed in every state in the lower 48 and while our country has the most amazing diversity of landscapes, for me Death Valley is the most unique!

Just my humble opinion!

I have been there more times than I can count and there is always something new. On my last trip, I was driving a road when I spotted the pitch black, almost coalĀ colored geology in the far distance. So I hiked down there and photographed some variety of scenes, all under an overcast sky.

ca_death_valley_artist_area_MG_5864bWhen the sun was setting (before the color show) I started back when I stumbled on this scene of turquoise colored sediment. I have no idea what it was (I am not a geologist) but I knew it would make for a great foreground.

I set up with my Canon 6D and 16-35mm zoom lens and framed this scene before shooting a series of widely bracketed exposures.

Then using Luminosity Masking techniques I selected the sky and darkened it some. Then I created more masks for the hills in mid-photo and adjusted contrast. I really wanted to direct the black/coal sections to be much darker and look more like coal, or as I originally saw them. This added much-needed scene contrast so a scene that was very flat from the dark/muddy light.

Next, I created a color based Luminosity Mask for the Turquoise colored foreground and darkened and saturated it. Then lastly, I created Curves Adjustment layers, 3 of them, and added different amounts of brightness and contrast to specific areas through masking: the sky, the foreground, and middle ground.

And here is the final image! Enjoy!

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