Life in Unlikely Places

@Igor_Doncov posted an image a while back that has inspired me to make this image in Death Valley. I appreciate all your thoughts and feedback on this image.

Nikon D750, 35mm, f/11, 1/15, ISO 125, 3 images focus stacked.


Nice, Adhika. I would bet I know the area you made this, as I attempted similars. Yours turned out far better than mine. This looks good.

Thanks, @Harley_Goldman! This is definitely not an easy task. This is probably my 5th try on different places in the canyon looking for something that works and I am sure there is a better way to do this still. Do you know what kind of plant this is?

I have quite a few photos of this same kind of plant in DV. Your treatment is lovely. (I haven’t figured out what to do with mine). I think it’s desert nettle (Eucnide urens).

Thanks, @Bonnie_Lampley! Yes, indeed. I think you are right, it is desert nettle.

We get a lot of plant growth on the walls of the columnar basalt in the Columbia River Gorge, and I find these really challenging to “bring to life.” I often find my images lack depth, and I find that true with this image. I wonder what it would look like with different lighting if the opportunity ever arose?

Thanks, @John_Williams!

I am also wondering how it would like if the light is somewhat different. It would definitely give this image a different life. This particular growth is located in a canyon so I have to deal with bounced light only but this is something to keep in mind in the future.

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This tells a great story of course. For me, I think this needs more room, ie. having the plant smaller in the frame surrounded by a more expanse of rock to really show the perseverance, isolation, etc. I think too that the plant isn’t all that attractive - it’s the story that’s being told that is important. Hope that makes sense!


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@Lon_Overacker great thought and yes, that makes a complete sense to me. I have never really thought of going wide and showing it in isolation. I am going to put this down on my notes. Thank you so much!

Could this be Marble Canyon?

Yes finding the right plant can be a long and tedious process. Most of the time you never do find one. I agree that more of the rock would have been nice but that’s because of the nature of the plant. The dried out leaves kind of hurt the image a little bit.

I kept thinking about what @Lon_Overacker said and while having your rock image in mind, @Igor_Doncov, something came to my mind. What attracts me to this particular section of the wall is also the texture and lines on the rock face. It’ll be a fun exercise to find a balanced proportion of the elements in the image. I agree completely about the dried out leaves.

This is actually one of the unnamed side canyon in the Desolation Canyon area.