These are the brilliant red and burnt orange colors come from the early morning sunlight interacting with the red sands that are blown by wind across the Virgin River Basin just east of Lake Mead, Nevada. In the foreground are the many rivulets that run into Lake Mead where it meets the Virgin River at Long Bottom. The dark ridge line running horizontally across the image is called Black Ridge, a small range in the Virgin Mountains. Right on the other side of Black Ridge you can see the Virgin River and Mormon Mesa.
Zedekiah: “I lensed this image while flying directly above Bitter Ridge and Red Bluff Spring. It was an overcast spring morning and you can see the bright spots across the valley as the sun is peeks through. This was taken with a Hasselblad H5D 60mpx camera which has a really nice medium format sensor with wonderfully deep pixel well depth and a very rich bayer layer. This provides rich, lush and vibrant colors across the spectrum along with incredible landscape detail. I love how you can clearly see the pattern of red sand blown in from the Valley of Fire to the south and deposited across the south side of Black Ridge.”
On the top of Mormon Mesa below the mountains in the distance you can see the tiny community of Logandale along the Muddy River in the Moapa Valley. Beyond Logandale are the North Muddy Mountains then the First Nations Moapa Reservation and beyond that those large mountains are called the Arrow Canyon Range.
This area is the ancestral homelands of the First Nations Moapa Band of Paiutes. Originally known as the Moapat and the Nuwuvi, these ancient peoples developed irrigation agriculture long before contact with European settlers, and once they did make contact with settlers, they suffered greatly from early Spanish slave raider’s attacks in the 18th and 19th centuries. They still occupy the reservation lands along the Moapa River though their numbers were decimated greatly by disease back in the 1920’s.