Monday, February 8, 2010

The Devil is in the Details

Death Valley's salt pan is about 5 miles wide, and stretches for more than 40 miles across the valley floor. At it lowest point, the Badwater salt flats are 282 feet below sea level. It's a fantastic place - and I love the details.

These little crystals measure just a few millimeters each. I took the shot with a 180mm macro lens on a 1.6 crop factor camera. The sun was behind Telescope Peak, so the valley floor was in shade. Soft, even light lets the details stand out without heavy shadows and harsh, blown highlights.

A macro lens can be difficult to get used to. Depth of field is extremely narrow as you get close to your subject, so look for flat surfaces if you want your entire composition in focus. You can also use that narrow depth to blur our unwanted detail in the background.
This shot was taken with the same lens on the same camera. Notice the blurred background. The blurring removes distraction - the rocky background would do nothing for the image. I took the shot just a few minutes before sunset as the last light gave it a soft, golden glow.

I've been to Death Valley several times, and every time, I find something new to photograph.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Varina.

Welcome back from Death Vallley.
I am sure you brought home some fantastic work and memorable memories. These photographs are stunning and very expressive.
Awesome details!

Looking forward to see more.

Best Wishes
Seung Kye

February 8, 2010 at 6:09 PM  
Blogger Varina Patel said...

Thanks, Seung Kye. :) Great to hear from you! I hope you've had some time to shoot lately, too.

I'm hoping to get some more photos processed tomorrow. I still haven't finished processing my shots from Hawaii and Utah! I don't like to fall too far behind, but the kids are keeping me busier and busier as they get older.


February 8, 2010 at 9:48 PM  
Blogger Swann Designs said...

Your photographs are beautiful! The first one doesn't even look real! It definitely caught my eye. your style is so poetic.

Thanks for the inspiration today.


February 13, 2010 at 11:22 AM  
Blogger Varina Patel said...

Thanks, Erin. I'm glad you like the photos. Photography and poetry certainly have much in common - though I can't claim to have any aptitude for the latter. :)

All the best!

February 13, 2010 at 5:15 PM  

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