Friday, April 22, 2011

Photographing Devil's Cornfield in Death Valley National Park

Arrowweed at Devil's Cornfield
What trip to Death Valley National Park is complete without photographing a weed patch?  As funny as that sounds, arrowweed is a fantastic subject matter in the evening hours, catching the sun's soft rays as sunset approaches and turning a brilliant gold while casting its soft blue shadows.

Devil's Cornfield is located along CA190, about half a mile west of the Scotty Castle Road junction.  Parking is limited to pullouts alongside the road.  Though arrowweed is present on both sides of the road, the larger, more interesting stacks are located on the north side of the road, bordering the Mesquite Flat Dunes.

The area is certainly interesting, and offers much wandering and exploring for the "perfect" stack or line of stacks.  Erosion has played a key part in shaping the soil, exposing the roots and shaping the stacks of the arroweed.  Despite this intrusion, the plants thrive thanks to the underground waters of Salt Creek.  Coyotes and other wildlife can be seen the area.

Devil's Cornfield and Kit Fox Hills
As evening light arrives, the arrowweed stacks turn golden and the Kit Fox Hills to the east create a superbly scenic backdrop.  The light on the arrowweed is quick-lived - it changes fast.  Before you know it, they are in the shadows and you find yourself with a smile on your face, having witnessed another fantastic moment in Death Valley, and hopefully having captured the moment.

I arrived to this location with low expectations.  I left thoroughly impressed.  Don't overlook this gem!

Normal to wide-angle lenses best serve this area.  Be sure to bring a polarizer and GND filters if planning to include the Kit Fox Hills in any of your compositions.

More images from this area can be viewed in my Death Valley National Park gallery.

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