While we briefly contemplated going to Mexico for spring break, the idea of getting stuck across the border with a positive Covid test convinced us otherwise. So we went to a place just like it in every way- Death Valley! Well, no…, but it was fairly warm at least.

Our first full day in Death Valley had us visiting all of the tourist spots, including Badwater Basin, the lowest point in the United States. Badwater Basin drains an area of 9,000 square miles- this is larger than the state of New Hampshire! Every drop of rainwater in that entire area drains down to this valley and evaporates from the heat, leaving behind huge salt deposits. While some areas of the valley are filled with flat salt pans, one area is called the Devil’s Golf Course. Wind sculpts the salt into a jagged hummocky terrain of sharp salt crystals. While I don’t golf, even walking was incredibly difficult. With the Panamint mountains in the background, this became my favorite image of the week.

The Devil’s Golf Course

Fujifilm X-T2, Fujinon XF 18-55 f/2.8-4 R LM OIS at 18mm, f/11 at 1/60, ISO 200

Here’s a photo of Dorinna and Nate to give a sense of scale to the salt formations.

Digital Darkroom. I started with the classic Velvia emulation. The salt was a dirty white, a yellowish-brown where sand and grit were embedded in the salt. Getting this right was the hard part. I increased whites (+27) and decreased saturation (-29) to remove the extra color that Velvia imparted to the salt. I finished by increasing texture (+38). For the Panamint mountains and sky in the background, I increased saturation and added some dehaze.

WIRR stands for Weekly Image Rich Ruh. This regular feature on Das Has von Ruh will show and describe my favorite photo created during this weekly period. My weeks start on Mondays, as does the WIRR. I’m hoping to include commentary on the story, the setting, the specs, or the sentiments, depending on the circumstances.

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