A while before the usual hordes of tourists and photographers headed over to Zabriskie Point's paved walkway overlook for the sunrise, I decided to get an early start and drove up a nearby backcountry dirt road through this spectacular badlands area in Death Valley National Park. According to my research, this area would hold the best palette of hues and tones of anywhere in the park.
As I crested a rise in the badlands, I was greeted by this spectacular range of warm and soft pastel colors under the first glow of dawn's twilight.
Under the harsh sunlight of mid-day, these badlands formations in Death Valley take on a bleached and flat tone, almost as though the sun has sucked the life right out of them. But in the early hours of pre-dawn, the emergence of a new day paints them in an almost psychedelic array of gorgeous pinks, purples, magentas, yellows, tans, oranges, and even soft bluish hues. This show of color only lasts for less than an hour. As the sun crests the horizon, it blankets these hills in brilliant golden light, igniting them in one last flash of color before the colors go back to sleep to await the coming of the next twilight hour.
After drinking in the beauty of the scene for a while, I packed up and headed over to the Zabriskie Point Badlands in plenty of time for the sunrise. Stay tuned for that one!