The Painted Earth

This  series of photographs depicts formations in a constant state of erosion, revealing more color as time passes. The pastel colors embedded in these formations are unique, caused by a wide variety of minerals. I am enamored by the combination of texture and pastel color, as well as the strange beauty of this landscape.

Artist’s Palette in Death Valley is an area noted for a variety of rock colors. These colors are caused by the oxidation of different metals, iron compounds produce red, pink and yellow, decomposition of tuff-derived mica produces green, and manganese produces purple.

Much of Valley of Fire State Park’s geology is sandstone dating back about 150 million years. Like many of the other geological features of the park, the Fire Wave was once a sand dune. Today, its curved shape and orange, pink and white stripes make it the most recognizable formation in the park. 

Millions of years ago a lake covered a large portion of Death Valley including the area around Zabriskie Point. Most days, Zabriskie Point is bone dry, but during rare rainstorms, the soft rock erodes readily, creating intricately carved badlands. When the rising sun hits the formation’s vivid bands of red, brown and yellow, the colors are among the most brilliant of any desert landscape.

The Canyon region in Death Valley has an abundance of minerals including Gold-bearing minerals. I didn’t go prospecting but it sure makes for a beautiful landscape.


When I am presenting at the art festivals I participate in it’s not uncommon to be asked if I “photoshop” (as a verb) my images. I use Photoshop to process my images but what the person means is do I enhance my images.  Visit any of these locations, wait for the right light and you’ll also see these same colors. 

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