Photograph of the Week: Badwater

Checking in at 232 feet below sea level, Badwater is the lowest spot in the United States, and a great location to photograph!
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Photograph of the Week: Badwater



Arriving at Death Valley

Driving to Death Valley National Park in the early morning – pre-dawn hours – is really interesting. The road twists and turns as you pass from Nevada to California, and the sides of the hills seemingly appear out of the darkness to remind you to slow down!

Arriving at Death Valley at 4:30am, I was able to catch sunrise at the famous Zabriskie Point.  Although there were little clouds to be found, the sunlight lighting up Zabriskie Point was worth the visit. Of course, there were a fair number of photographers present, as this is a famous location for photography. If you move around and get away from the crowd you will find some great spots for photographs.

Moving on to other locations around the park, I visited Mesquite Dunes, Gold Canyon, Artists Palette. At the end of the day I ended up at Badwater.

Badwater is a salt flat. A mostly dry lake bed surrounded by mountains on three sides.  Coming in at 232 feet below sea level, it is the lowest point in the continental United States.

If you park at the public parking lot, you will find yourself surrounded by hundreds of tourist who come to this location to see the salt flats.  It is difficult to get away from all the people, they are literally everywhere!

Continuing down the road past the parking lot to the first bend you will find a place to park. From there you can walk out on the flats. And most likely, you will find yourself alone. Or nearly alone. There was one other photographer who was nearby, but other than him, I was alone.

The salt flat is bigger than it looks, and as always looks are very deceiving.  I walked out about good mile to this location, spending a significant amount of time looking for the ‘right’ location to get this shot. I was looking for some lines of the salt ridges to use as foreground, as the mountains and the clouds were doing a great job at providing some background.

Suggestions for this Artwork

The predominate colors of this photograph cover both cooler as well a warmer colors – blues and grays as well as yellows, oranges and reds. This print would look great against a white or cream color wall of an office space. It would also look wonderful against a light blue wall as well.

If you like crisp detail, this print has that in spades. The salt crystals look crunchy (and they are crunchy as you walk on them!), so if you love detail, this print is for you.


Photographer’s Notes

This photograph was shot on a Canon 5DS R with my Tamron 24-70mm f/2.8 SP lens at a focal length of 35mm.  The exposure settings are f/16 at 1/20 second shutter at ISO of 100.  I stopped down to f/16 in order to get focus all the way through the photograph, and the camera giving me 51MP to work with adds to the crisp details that are found in this print.

As stated above, I used the lines of the crystal patterns in the salt to provide visual interest leading the eye into the photograph to the beautiful sunset clouds in the background. The print gives a sense of going on for nearly forever, with the patterns moving into the photograph.

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Sunset at Badwater in Death Valley National Park. Badwater is the lowest place in the United States, coming in a 282 feet below sea level.



Sunset at Badwater in Death Valley National Park. Badwater is the lowest place in the United States, coming in a 282 feet below sea level.

Additional information


Fine Art Print, Canvas Gallery Wrap, Metal (Satin Finish), Metal (Glossy Finish)

Size (in inches)

8.5×11, 11×14, 20×26, 20×30, 24×36


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A little bit about me . . .

Back in 1982, my Air Force roommate was in desperate need of some cash, and he had a camera. And I was in the market for a camera as I had TDY (Temporary Duty) orders for Cyprus and was looking for a good camera to take with me. So over some beers and some negotiations with my roommate (and a few hundred dollars later), I found that I had become the owner of a brand spanking new Canon AE-1 camera with an assortment of lens, including a Canon 50mm, a 35mm lens, as well as a telephoto lens.

Fast forward to today, and I am now an owner of a Canon 5D Mark II (looking to upgrade, but can’t decide on my next camera) and a bunch of Canon glass and I am primarily a landscape and travel photographer. Yea, that means that I get up before the sun rises and am out after the sun sets. Makes for interesting times!

Thank you for joining me on this photographic journey and hope to hear from you!


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