The Artist’s Palette in Death Valley is known for its colorful rocks that are shaped in a similar fashion to an artist palette. It’s location is not too far from Furnace Creek (where we were staying) which makes it an ideal location to visit. After researching the location, we decided a photo shoot at sunset was best. There was one write-up that mentioned the best photography is after the sun has set, shooting throughout the blue hour. The timing was not optimal for me. I love shooting the blue hour, but I was already hungry when we got there an hour before sunset. It could be a late dinner.   My stomach was already screaming, “this better be worth it!”

We shot from a precipice behind the parking lot. As the day moved to night, the wind picked up to what seemed like 30 mph gusts while the temperature began to drop. With the wind so fierce we began to worry that our tripods would not remain still enough, giving us many blurry shots. After a few moments, we ditched the locale and found one just a little bit lower, buffered from the wind. We were now somewhat protected. My stomach then chimed in, “thanks for the warmer spot, now FEED ME.” I was feeling a little like Seymour.

I gave in to my tummy and fed it a Power Bar. Although temporarily satisfied, it became none to pleased. Much gas it provided. Good thing the winds were still whipping. As nighttime approached, I kept shooting these pastel colored rocks. The shots were getting better and better. Then, as if it were magic, the sun went down and the colors exploded.

Here is a shot with sun low but still shining on the rocks.

The scene was beautiful and the colors were nice. I would have been satisfied if I didn’t stay a few more moments. (Nikon D850, f11, 1/40”, ISO 64, 58mm).  [Photo by Jeff Dannay]

Now, the sun is down and the blue hour is in full force.

Sometimes even the golden hour does not produce an optimal image. What do you think of the blue hour shot? (Nikon D850, f8, 6”, ISO 64, 70mm). [Photo by Jeff Dannay]

As I was finishing my shots I noticed Kathyrn moving off to the right.  The mountainside glowed.  Here is a shot of hers.

Panorama of three shots of the golden ridges next to artist’s palette. [photo by Kathryn, Nikon 850, f11, 3″, ISO 125, 24mm]

Finally, we wrapped up and headed back to the hotel, and more important, the restaurant. For some reason I ordered the “Free Range Chicken.” I’m not sure how a chicken can grow a breast so small. I even asked the waitress why it was so small. Her reply was, “it’s organic and free range, that’s how they come.” Has anyone heard about this? Could this possibly be true? Regardless, I made a pact with my stomach that a big steak was coming his way real soon.

Thanks for reading and remember, it’s all about the light.


Can’t you just hear Jeff’s stomach growling?  [Photo by Kathryn Dannay]