Valley of Fire

Discussion in 'Landscape' started by JimFox, Jun 11, 2019.

  1. JimFox

    JimFox Moderator
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    After spending a few day's with Ben and getting to spend an hour in the morning when Jeffrey arrived in Hanksville, I left to head back to California. Plotting my route and trying to figure out where I would shoot the sunset along the way. As it turned out, going into Valley of Fire gave me just enough time before sunset to get to the Fire Wave.

    It's been a couple of years since I had been there, and they changed some of the signage which now says on the gates that the area is open from Sunrise to Sunset and if you are there beyond that you are "Trespassing" in very large type. Now I did stop and get a campsite, which in the past I would do and then have access to the park to shoot at night. But when it was 4 mins to Sunset and the colors in the clouds were about to turn and then from the direction of the road you hear the park ranger on a loud speaker yelling that the sunset was in 4 minutes and everyone needed to be out, it's a bit disturbing. Now, the Fire Wave is a little over a half mile from the parking area, but it's all uphill and it's 103 degrees out, so I knew I couldn't get back to the parking lot anyway in 4 mins. Plus I figured the ranger was driving towards the White Dome parking lot, I knew I had time to finish the sunset and then run back up to the Jeep. Which I did as the colors faded fast.

    I waited for a bit, but the Ranger never came back. Not sure why he was delayed soo long at White Domes, but I wanted to talk to him and see if since I had a campsite if I could just stay at the Fire Wave to shoot the Milky Way too. After about 20 minutes of waiting, I finally decided I was just going to leave. I have shot the Milky Way there in the past, and plus after basically being on the road traveling for almost 5 weeks, I was ready to get back to California. I will need to get back there though and clarify the night time shooting status if I am camping at the campground.

    Anyway, here is one from that evening.

    All comments are welcome,

    Jim

    DSC_9885_dw.jpg
     
  2. AlanLichty

    AlanLichty Moderator

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    That's a nice sunset and one of the better VoF Firewave shots I have seen. Glad you took your chances and didn't encounter problems.

    There is a gate near the visitor's center for the Mouses Tank/White Dome road that they MIGHT close once the ranger makes his return trip so I am not sure whether having a campsite helps for that specific road. That said I have been in a lot of parks with similar signage and have never seen the gates closed at all.
     
  3. Ben Egbert

    Ben Egbert Forum Helper
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    Beautiful jim. I have started to avoid parks with such rules.
     
  4. JimFox

    JimFox Moderator
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    I am glad you liked this Alan.

    The gates aren’t new, and I have been there late before without them closing them. I was more concerned about getting a ticket. Getting locked in wouldn’t have bothered me since I am set up to be stop anywhere, I would have been fine.
     
  5. AlanLichty

    AlanLichty Moderator

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    Yeah - I remember the gates from 7 or 8 years ago when I first visited but the Trespassing sign was a new one for me when I was there in March. Hearing about the ranger with the loudspeaker made me wonder if the gate was being used now since the wording on the sign sounded like they meant it.
     
  6. JimFox

    JimFox Moderator
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    The Ranger with the loud speaker is nothing new either. The park has always been the Sunrise to Sunset type for as long as I know. I have been going there for about 10 years now. Just before Sunset the Ranger drives on that White Dome Road and goes and clears everyone out. I have been out there many times at sunset so I have heard that loud speaker many a time... :eek:
     
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  7. JimFox

    JimFox Moderator
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    Thanks so much Ben!

    Usually those rules are for the smaller parks, and I know I don’t like it either. The exception would be White Sands which has the same policy which I don’t understand. They for sure should be open 24 hours.
     
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  8. Nilo Photography

    Nilo Photography Well-Known Member

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    I love it Jim...one of my favorite spot to visit!
     
  9. MonikaC

    MonikaC Supporting Member

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    I don't remember hearing a ranger on loudspeaker (or without) announcing it was time to leave when I was there a handful of years ago. But I do remember seeing posts about vandalism there, which the restricted hours were aimed at preventing/reducing. I think somebody suggested camping there & using a bicycle to get to where you want to shoot & stashing the bike out of sight.

    At White Sands, even if you camp, there are signs strongly discouraging roaming about on the dunes after dark. I assumed that it was just to keep people from getting lost. I had intended to do just that (not the getting lost part) & brought a little LED light to leave on at my tent so I could find it with the help of my dog. However, the thunderstorm that lasted until around 2am kept me in my tent.
     
  10. Ken Rennie

    Ken Rennie Staff Member

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    You certainly have a beautiful country but rangers telling you it is time to leave or sunrise to sunset only seems alien to me. I looked up White Sands and it is upwards of 200sq miles in area and they close this at night? Brought up on "cowboy" movies where people seemed to ride wherever they wished I am somewhat surprised to find that many of your most beautiful locations are vast enclosures with opening hours, fees, rangers patrolling telling you what you can and can't do. Is this kind of thing limited to your "National Monuments"?

    Could I go wandering in areas of the Rockies always assuming that I am fit enough? or would I be trespassing on someone's land? I suppose in Scotland I am lucky in that providing I don't damage anything I can, more or less, roam where I want to whether the land is owned or not. I have even cycled through the grounds of Balmoral, one of the Queen's castles without hindrance. In England we now have the right to roam in many areas, the Lake District is approx 900sq miles and I can walk in all of them although I would be expected to walk round the edges of crop fields in the few arable farms. With the rights come responsibilities like being responsible for not getting lost or falling off mountains although we do have free mountain rescue and free coastguards if you are stupid or unlucky enough to get yourself in trouble. Ken
     
  11. Douglas Sherman

    Douglas Sherman Supporting Member

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    This is really a nice perspective, Jim. I like the way you framed this so that the leading lines in the rocks head up to the clouds.
     
  12. JimFox

    JimFox Moderator
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    Vandalism could be an issue I guess with it so close to Las Vegas, I am trying to think if I have seen any graffiti there in the past but nothing comes to mind.

    In White Sands when I have camped there, I just marked my tent on my gps app to make sure I could find my way back in the dark, though putting an LED light on in the tent is a good idea too.
     
  13. JimFox

    JimFox Moderator
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    Yep, the White Sands has bad hours. And actually what's worse with White Sands is that it's not Sunrise to Sunset but an actual time that only changes every month or two. So when I have not camped in there, I have actually gotten kicked out well before sunset since their closing times are a time change and not daily based on the sunrise and sunset. And their sunrise times are worse, you almost never can get in there for the sunrise as the gates typically open exactly at, or a little after sunrise. It's pretty frustrating as a photographer. Now of course you can pay extra for early entrance, but unless camping you can't pay extra to stay late if you wanted to shoot the stars.

    The Rockies are huge and long, probably longer then the British Isles. So they are quite often surrounded by private land that you won't have access to be on. Now sometimes, there is National Forest land around them, with a few public roads that you can take to drive through the Private land to get onto the National Forest land. But most often you are then so close to the mountains that landscape photography is out of the question. But with that said for example you have the San Juan Mountains in Colorado that are to the west of the Rockies. Large parts of it is surrounded by private land for farming and ranching that you can't go on, and the rich owners enforce. But then there are also larger portions of the San Juan's to the south of that area that is open to backpacking and hiking. Though those areas most often have 4000 foot elevation gains (8000 to roughly 12,000') to have to deal with. So one is not going there for a gentle stroll. :) But they are beautiful areas.

    It sounds like the UK has a very nice system set up, and it would be awesome if we had something similar here. But I don't think that will happen. Now in the desert area's of Utah like where Ben, Craig, Jeffrey and I were at last week. It's much more open with lot's of space to walk around and to an extent drive around. But being as it can get to well over 100 degrees there, it's not an area that a lot of summer exploring will happen.
     

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