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Death Valley, revisited

I shot these four years ago this week. They were shot with my first DSLR, a Nikon D5000, and most (if not all) of these were shot on automatic as jpegs using the camera's two kit lenses (an 18-50 and 50-200mm). I had little idea what I was doing, the reason I recently re-processed a bunch of them. 

And yet...I still really like these images and a few of them are among my favorites -- the third from top, in particular. 

My one regret: should have shot these in RAW. There's nothing wrong with jpegs -- but you usually have more latitude to make adjustments in RAW, especially when it comes to fixing highlights and shadows and changing the white balance (which I almost never do). So these pics are a little noisier than they should be. 

Putting aside the techy stuff, I like these images because they are simple and interesting. The whole point of Death Valley is that it's immense, the kind of landscape that swallows people whole. To tell the story of the place is to tell the story of scale -- something I realized even if I had little idea how to work a relatively simple Nikon. 

One other note: I never bothered to process the bottom photo until now. It was taken at Zabreskie Point, with a view of a mild dust storm in the Valley below. For whatever reason, I kept the image but never thought much of it until I gave it a second look. And now I dig it -- the relatively clear view of Zabreskie versus the distant mountains obscured partially by dust and sand. Very interesting. 

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The above photos are ©Steve Hymon and may not be used elsewhere without my advanced written permission. 

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