Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada
Valley of Fire conjures up images of fiery-red rocks contrasting with deep blue sky. As we entered the Nevada State Park, we were met with exactly that. In some ways, the contrast of red rock to the mountains around was akin to the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Into the heart of the park we drove with only a few hours to explore. The sandstone colors varied from pinks, to yellows, to reds and purples. The colors were sure to deepen as the golden hour approached. The hot topic of debate, between Jeff and I, was which trail to tackle:
- White dome
- Rainbow Vista
- Fire Wave
The Fire Wave Trail
Fire wave was rated third. Since the trail description mentioned the area being almost as nice as the real Wave in North Coyotte Buttes (without a lottery for an access permit), we just had to see it.
It was definitely not the wave, but worth a return visit in the future when the light is better.
Rainbow Vista Trail
The afternoon light was fading so onto the chosen sunset location, Rainbow Vista Point. The trail writeup noted there was as a myriad of colors around every bend. The colors around the first bend were beautiful – the purples popped out of this yellow and orange slick rock.
After a mile of trudging through deep sand with no more colors I was none too pleased. Reaching the final viewpoint was even more disappointing. The view was flat with only red for color. How could this be called “Rainbow Vista”? I felt duped. Not only did I do all that walking with a tripod and heavy backpack of gear, I had nothing to show for it. By the time I hiked out and found another location, I would miss the golden hour.
It was too late to seek out an alternative shooting location for sunset, so we set up across from the Rainbow Vista Trailhead. Not a bad view, perhaps, sunset was salvageable.
Clouds in the desert give photographs character. As the clouds began to gather, I got more excited for an explosion of color at sunset.
They gathered all right, and blocked the sun.
Gone were the fiery colors. Soft light muted the valley. Pretty, yes, spectacular, well, what do you think?
Later, I learned that “Rainbow Vista” was actually at the start of the trailhead, exactly where we ended up shooting.
Remember, it’s all about the light – soft or on fire.