Our third day at Death Valley was the photographic apex of 2022. The day included two separate hikes, both with fantastic images. But before the hikes, before even breakfast, was the best part of the day.

I woke up in the inky blackness before the dawn and drove the car to Zabriskie Point. While I knew I would not be alone at this famous vista, even on a Tuesday, I was still a little bit taken aback by the 32 cars in the parking lot. I walked up to the view and set up my tripod along the dozens of other photographers. At first a little bit put off by this, I was able to relax and enjoy being part of the photographer spectacle. I shot before, during, and after the sunrise. As I drove back to the hotel to meet my family for breakfast, I knew I had captured my favorite image of the week.

Before the Dawn at Zabriskie Point

Fujifilm X-T2, Fujinon XF 18-55 f/2.8-4 R LM OIS at 18mm, f/9 at 1/8, ISO 640

There will be many more photos from this day when I write up my account of the trip. For now, here’s an image of the crowd scene before the sunrise:

Digital Darkroom. I started with the Fujifilm Velvia film emulation. Global adjustments started with nudging up the exposure (+0.3) and contrast (+21). I did a lot of experimentation before picking my settings for whites (+59), blacks (-16), , texture (+35), and clarity (+19). I used a brush over the sky to reduce exposure by 1/3 of a stop (same as the increase on the rest of the image), and increased saturation by 36.

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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