Arguably the best viewpoint in the Death Valley National Park is Dante’s View. Although only about a mile east-south-east from Badwater, it’s more than a mile vertically above it in elevation! It’s a 40 mile round trip from Badwater, the last 5 miles being restricted to vehicles less than 25ft long. It’s a paved road but there are some switch-backs and tight bends, hence the ‘no large RV or trailers’ rule. (Doesn’t mean you don’t find yourself trapped, crawling along behind a small RV though.)
This image is the view looking north-west across Badwater Basin to the foothills of the Panamint Range. The scale of the salt pan that covers over 200 square miles and is among the largest protected salt flats in the world is clearly evident. And from up here, the floor of the valley takes on different colors from the different mineral compositions in the sands and salts that make up the valley floor.
Earlier in the day, when I’d been driving up the West Side Road, I’d encountered a number of light, drizzly, rain showers. Looking strong in the sky, their power had evaporated by the time the moisture reached the valley floor.
The shot above was among the last shots I took that day. When that rain hanging from the cloud in the top right corner of the frame reached me, I found it was not rain at all at this altitude, it was snow!
Since the weather can change rapidly, and with the snow starting to settle on the ground around me, I decided it was time to tilt my rental car downhill and head back to Las Vegas.
Camera: Canon EOS 5D
Lens: Canon 24-105mm f/4L IS USM AF Lens (B&H)
Processing: Lightroom 3.6
Processing: Photomatix 4.02
Processing: Photoshop CS5
Processing: Nik Software Color Efex Pro 4 Complete Edition (B&H)