Monday, October 10, 2011

The Final Stretch

The Final Stretch by right2roam
The Final Stretch, a photo by right2roam on Flickr.

Keeping with the theme of "can't believe it 'til you see it", here is one of my favorites from a camping trip in Death Valley. I remember years ago when I was just getting into landscape photography, coming across an article in... I can't remember the name of the magazine... about the most unusual landscapes on Earth. The Racetrack Playa was rightly included in the top ten.

No one has actually observed the stones moving, but move they do, leaving tracks as evidence of their trek across the dry lake bed. There are several theories about the conditions that set the stones in motion. To me, the most plausible is simply a combination of wind and water. The playa's surface is composed of very fine clay sediments which become slick when wet during the winter rainy season in Death Valley. Winter storm winds can gust up to 70 miles per hour, which is perhaps more than enough to send a rock sailing across a nearly frictionless surface.

Check out these links for a little interesting reading about this unusual phenomenon.

Canon EOS 5D
Focal Length: 47mm
Aperature: f/22
Exposure: 1/13 second
ISO 100


  1. This is one of the most unusual photos I have ever seen! I never knew the mystery of the racing rocks before until I read more about it. This is indeed a cool photo.