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Capturing the Light at Zabriskie Point

Updated: Mar 7, 2022

One of the most photographed and visited spots in Death Valley is Zabriskie Point. It is almost a right of passage for a photographer to show that they can capture a sunrise photo of Manley Beacon, a geological feature of Zabriskie Point. Though I’ve been to Zabriskie many times, I never seriously photographed until today. By that, I mean that I dragged myself out of bed at 5:00 AM, drove to the Zabriskie parking lot, and hauled my tripod and camera gear uphill to a good view spot. As I expected, there were many other photographers, both individual and tour groups. Many more arrived after I. But surprisingly, there were far fewer than I’ve seen in the past. I think people are still ramping up post-pandemic travel.

I took about 100 photos of Zabriskie, including many of photographers taking photos. I started before the sun peaked up over the horizon, and continued until Manley Beacon was fully illuminated. The image here is my favorite because the I like the pinkish hue give by the belt of Venus. The photo isn’t anything extraordinary, but it allowed me to demonstrate that I can capture an image with the correct exposure, in fully manual mode. No automatic features were used in this capture! (Image: Photographers stake out their positions at Zabriskie Point.)

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