Badwater Reflections, Death Valley National Park, CA


Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park at the end of February (22nd to be exact) after a good rain. I had hoped for a vivid sunset, but it wasn’t to be, so I was glad to get some late afternoon shots with some great cloud textures before things got clouded up again.

What technical feedback would you like if any?

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

All CC is welcome. Everyone’s ideas and opinions are appreciated. Currently drawing a blank for a good title for this one as well, so those ideas would be great to hear as well.

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

9 total frames - 7 image focus stack for the foreground, 1 for the mountain ridge, and one for the sky - all the same composition, no warping/stretching done outside LR camera corrections.

Rokinon SP f/2.4 14mm on the Canon 5Dsr, at f/13, ISO50. Focus Stacked in Photoshop with a fair bit of manual correction after the automated process, think PS had a real fit blending with the reflections in play.

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Jon, I think this image has a lot of potential. I like the composition, and the concept of having the cloud reflection in the center “circle”, that is a really neat element within the image. I also like the foreground “lines” leading to that circle as well.

This comes down to a matter of personal taste, but to me the image feels too bright, too high key. With these type of clouds in the sky, I think a darker image with a bit more contrast would convey more drama in the scene. I would also suggest doing some localized burning around that center circle, to draw more attention to it. Just my $0.02, take it for what its worth.


When I opened this I was not expecting it to be an image of Bad Water Basin. I really like the composition of the image. Very well seen and photographed. I am a little torn between the exposure of the image as is and Ed’s suggestion about making it a bit more moody. Either way might work well. Fine capture.

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Hi Jon, really good image. I like very much FG, add interest and impact to the scene. Image well post processed in my opinion. Thanks for sharing.

Excellent and interesting comp Jon. As Ed said, it seemed too bright. Here it is darkened. More dramatic and pointing to something beyond the subject for me. The “loudness” of the original obscured the depth of meaning that one could draw from this image. JT

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Interesting, I do like the darker look as well. Definitely something I plan to work with when I get a chance to edit again soon.


@John_Teti_Sr_46 repost is just incredible. @Ed_McGuirk comments about being a little on the high key side was definitely a good call. This is really an awesome image in great conditions right after a heavy rain storm flooding Bad water Basin for that nice reflection. I have always wanted to be there after a rain storm for this very reason. I also really like the foreground brownish colors mixing with the all of the blues. Great mixture of colors that works well for me. AND, a terrific leading line. Well done.

Just a note that I haven’t forgotten about revisiting the edit on this shot. Kinda fell down the astrophography rabbit hole this past week with the first two clear nights in like 2 months of quarantine and still recovering a little from the Out of Chicago LIVE event last weekend too.