Badwater Salt Playa, Death Valley, CA
Posted on 30 August 2011
This image is from my trip to Death Valley in April with my photography buddy, Graham. The sun is just about to settle down behind the Panamint Range; thus, the shadow area in the hexagons. Most, if not all of the photographs I have seen, all the hexagons, have a raised border around each one, not the depression border shown here.
From Wikipedia: Badwater Basin is an endorheic basin in Death Valley National Park, Death Vally, Inyo County, California, noted as the lowest point in North America, with an elevation of 282 ft (86 m) below sea level. Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous 48 states, is only 84.6 miles (136 km) to the WNW.
The site itself consists of a small spring-fed pool of “bad water” next to the road in a sink; the accumulated salts of the surrounding basin make it undrinkable, thus giving it the name. The pool does have animal and plant life, including pickleweed, aquatic insects, and the Badwater snail.
Adjacent to the pool, where water is not always present at the surface, repeated freeze–thaw and evaporation cycles gradually push the thin salt crust into hexagonal honeycomb shapes.
I found it difficult to photograph here, not because of the subject, but because it is hard to keep the viewer’s eye engaged in what is happening within the image. A stormy sky would have helped, or would it? Shooting towards the Panamint Mountains at sunset would give you a beautiful sky, but you would lose all detail in the mountain and have less contrast in the hexagon salt patterns. Oh well, there is always next year to figure it all out.
Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright Ben Gundy and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Ben Gundy.
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Canon EF 24-105mm f4L lens at 28mm
ISO 200, 1/80 at f/11