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Wallpaper Details: Death Valley

High-resolution desktop wallpaper Death Valley by Zaitz
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Death Valley

August 11th, 2011

Mesquite Dunes in Death Valley National Park. Taken in July a little before sunset.

Nikon D300s, Tokina AT-X 116 PRO DX AF 11-16mm f/2.8, Adobe Photoshop CS5.

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This wallpaper has been tagged with the keywords:

brown » death valley » landscape » nature » nikon » nikon d300s » photography » sand » sand dunes » sunset » the sun » tokina at‑x 116 pro dx af 11‑16mm f/2.8 »

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Comments from the Community

Posted By: Brad
about 2 years, 11 months ago
This is a really fantastic photo, Zaitz. The balance of the shot is great with the sun on the left and the high dune to the right. The lighting is excellent and capturing the wind-blown sand makes it feel like a desert should feel.

It may be a bit overprocessed. I've been staring at it for the better part of 5 minutes and my mind can't convince my eyes that I'm not looking at a painting. Either way, it's a beautiful image. My monitor is wearing it as I type this. Thanks for sharing!
Posted By: Greengage
about 2 years, 11 months ago
I should like this picture. The composition is good and the motif of a desert with sand dunes is right up my alley.

But I am unconvinced that this image has any basis as a photograph, neither the sand nor the sun resembles their real life counterparts. Rather it has a very familiar look to normal rendered landscapes.

Brad think it might be processed, I have no idea what that might entail. But to me it seems as if the whole thing is animation from the ground up.
Posted By: Zaitz
about 2 years, 11 months ago
Thank you for the comments and criticism. My goal in photography is not to replicate reality, that would be pointless and impossible. I have no issue with the idea that the photo may be over-processed and it may very well be true. I can't ask that everyone responds to my photos positively, though I do really appreciate a response positive or negative.

"...many viewers expect a photograph to be the literal simulation of reality; of course, many others are capable of response to an image without concern for the physical realities of the subject.... I believe that if I am able to express what I saw and felt, the image will contain qualities that may provide a basis for imaginative response by the viewer." - Ansel Adams
Posted By: marathonmilk
about 2 years, 11 months ago
What an incredible image! I really like it. It has just that right amount of balance where the location is just hinted at and the viewer is left to interpret the image in the way that they want to.

The flares on the sun looks a little odd although I'm really just adding that to fill out this second box.

Great work.
Posted By: Jonathan Besler
about 2 years, 11 months ago
I really like the composition and the scene. The colors are great!

However I think you ruined this image with too much work in Photoshop.
Is it possible that you upload the unprocessed image, because I want to buy the Tokina 11-16 and your picture really shocked me because it is overall blurry.
Thank you!
Posted By: Brad
about 2 years, 11 months ago
Great response, Zaitz. I'm all for letting artists create art. That's why I love the shot (and it's still my wallpaper because of that fact). I'd love to see the original image just out of curiosity. I disagree with Greengage in that I don't think it was manufactured "from the ground up". Some don't like post-processing, some do. I personally like it, others may not. Keep doing your thing, Zaitz. You don't need to defend what you do.
Posted By: alx2056
about 2 years, 11 months ago
Love the composition and the colors. I never log in and post comments, so congrats on the great shot. Love it!
Posted By: Daddy_Gemini
about 2 years, 11 months ago
Most. Epic. Desert. Picture. Ever! Haha I love it! it's breathtaking, I don't care what you did to the RAW all I care about is that the final product looks like this! I really like your other shots too, especially "Superior Waves", but this one is now my favorite from you. Keep up the good work Zaitz! =)

I don't think the effects you used for this shot would necessarily work as well for other subjects, but as for deserts, the post-processing here looks great! I honestly think if you went out and tried to get a better desert shot than this, you would really have your hands full, but if you do, maybe somewhere where there is some kind of stone structure or oasis you could have in the foreground. :P
Posted By: jackalis
about 2 years, 11 months ago
This is AWESOME, nice work! Where in Death Valley was this taken? I was there taking some shots of some of the dunes a few weeks ago but I don't recall seeing these ones.
Posted By: Zaitz
about 2 years, 11 months ago
Thanks for the compliments. I'm not sure exactly where this was taken but pretty much straight out from the parking area at Mesquite Dunes.

Here is the original for those who were interested:
http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/683/9222v.jpg/
Posted By: dukenu
about 2 years, 11 months ago
There is good symmetry between land and sky; colors are pleasing with nice texture on the sand; with just a hint of sand being picked up by the wind you also get a feel for the enviornment--you can just hear the characteristic wind noise as you look at this scene, so good choice for shutter speed was used.

Better balance was possible by lining up the horizon to the center of the horizantal plane; with the sun further down from the top, one can get a better impression of the sunset or sunrise and you would not have lost much by cutting out the repeated sand pattern on the lowest part of the image--assuming you cropped and had available space on top to begin with. You would actually have achieved better symmetry between sky and land doing this. Saturation was a little much for my personal taste.
Posted By: Daddy_Gemini
about 2 years, 9 months ago
I would have to disagree with dukenu about the composition. And if any of you know me you know I don't believe in the so called "rule of thirds" but in this case it works well and portrays a sense of balance. So moving the horizon to the center would still look nice but I think it works better as it is. Also, if the sun was really any lower we would lose a lot of the light on the small sand patterns (is there a name for them - veins?)

I think maybe the saturation of the yellow channel is 1 or 2 points too high but yet again it works here. I will however kind of go back on my first comment on this piece and say I wish you wouldn't have applied so much of the post-processing filter (smart blur?) because after seeing the original you posted (too small to keep... *sadface*) I can tell some detail was lost. After all is said and done though this is still in my top 3 desert shots of all time. Well at least out of the ones on my computer. So, thanks again Z-Man! =)
Posted By: porkrind
about 2 years, 8 months ago
I agree with others. This looks fantastic!
May I get the settings on how you shot this photo? I tried to shoot facing the sun just like how you did here, but i am getting a lot of flares (perhaps its the lens). You metered this shot with the sand right? The vibrance and color are from post processing right? It's not a bad thing at all, just wondering if you did get nice color/contrast originally.
Posted By: arn
about 2 years, 5 months ago
A very striking, graphic photo. Love the colors, composition, light, surreal atmosphere...

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