All images and material © 2016 by Mike Clasen Photography • All Rights Reserved • Use By Permission Only
This image was captured during heavy wind storms on Feb 7th 2014. Before I started processing this image, it had a sandy appearance all throughout, like a tan solid color adjustment layer with a low opacity you would introduce in PS globally to the scene. So, really this does not look like it did at the start. There was some dehazing done during post non intentionally, when boosting the contrast, depth, and fine detail of the ancient tufa formations and entire scene. You can see this dust storm in the background somewhat, however it was much worse than it appears here now. Photography is not a true representation of reality in this sense. I did play with the original, realistic dusty scene, but I preferred this image overall.
One of the qualities of the Nevada desert, is it is very tan, brown, and yellow as well. This poses one of the biggest challenges with doing landscape photography in a desolate desert environment where there is not a lot of color that you might find on a tropical island, or a field of flowers in the high Sierra Nevada, the more appealing color pop that most people love to look at. I love the desert for personal reasons, I love the desolation and areas that are not frequented by humans, that show signs of human presence thousands of years ago. I like ancient lands that are not documented photographically much, if at all, and the desert does not appeal to most people. I like to stumble upon things that are ancient and to be the first human eyes to see them in thousands of years, or ever, to be captivated by this wonder. Many have seen these particular formations far away from the road, but not too many have ventured out to see them up close, to see the magnificent natural formations as the extraordinary natural works that they are. The desert is an unforgiving and harsh environment; life is a struggle here. This area was once covered with water, where these tufa formations were formed. The Lahontan Cutthroat Trout thrived in these waters, and these trout were a main food source of the ancient peoples who called this home, hundreds, and thousands, and thousands of years ago.
When I asked Connie what she thought of this image, she said it looked like a duck and a snake, hence the name… The interesting thing, is there were once ducks at this lake before it desiccated in the 1930’s, and there still are snakes. (duck on the left, snake on the right - looking right at ya)
© MIKE CLASEN PHOTOGRAPHY