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I Spent My "Rest Day" in Nevada's Valley of Fire and I'd Do It Again

In order to make sure we got plenty of rest before our two day shoot in Las Vegas, we hiked around in the desert.

By: Benjamin Canevari + Save to a List

My buddy Jason asked if I would come with him to Vegas for five days to help out with a photoshoot. The client was paying for travel, room, food, booze, you name it. Plus we got paid on top of that? Yep, I'll go.

As an added bonus, Jason let me pick where we would spend our day off before we got back to work. Naturally I hopped on theoutbound.com and found a couple of spots. What caught my eye were the write ups on the Fire Wave, and Pastel Canyon.

We took off for the Valley of Fire after breakfast since we wanted to have time to find everything and figure out where we wanted to be for sunset. What we didn't know was just how big the park was, and how everywhere you look, you see something new you want to photograph. 

We stopped at the visitor center on the way in and found that Mouse's tank was on our way to our first stop. So we stopped there and hiked in. Super mellow hike through the canyons. It was hot but at least there was plenty of shade to be found. The colors of the rock and the formations were like nothing I have ever seen before. I grew up on the water and in the mountains, so I don't feel very at home in the desert to be honest. The few times I have been, I sometimes struggle to find the beauty in it. But not here, I was wandering off and snapping photos of everything!

At the end of the hike the "trail" split. One way led to the Mouse's Tank, the other led to a dead end, but there were some really cool little slot canyons to check out there.

"Hey Michelle! I bet you can't fit in here..." She proved us wrong. Michelle is Jason's wonderful girlfriend and extremely talented makeup artist. She also modeled for me this entire trip!

After checking out the right fork, we made our way over to the Mouse's Tank. When it rains, this floods with water, there are two pools, one upper, and one lower. I was very excited to get some photos of the water, maybe somebody in the water, I don't know. Unfortunately, the top one was bone dry, and the bottom one just had super nasty stagnant water covered in flies. We hung out in the top pool and took some photos. 

This is me! Jason snapped a quick photo while I was getting out my Profoto B1. I love using flashes. Being able to control the light to make it exactly the way I want is so satisfying. Profoto has the best lighting setup I have used to date. Everything is totally wireless, light quality is amazing even with no diffusion, and they're extremely portable. Which is essential while I'm out on the trail! I'm currently saving up to buy one of their B2 lights. Extremely small and portable and light as a feather! It's going to change the game for me! Anyways, enough about the lights, here's the photo I took with them at the Mouse's Tank.

After the Mouse's Tank we made our way to the Fire Wave and Pastel Canyon. The Wave has a nice trail to it, but Pastel Canyon took a bit of wandering to find. Until I realized all I had to do was follow the dry creek bed up to it... :) Pastel Canyon was beyond refreshing for us. After wandering the desert, with the sun beating down on us, no clouds, and no shade, walking into that little canyon was pure bliss. 

We didn't see anybody the whole time we were there, it was cool in the shade, and we took out our water and food, kicked back and waited for sunset! Once again I pulled out the B1 and worked some magic. 

The last photo, we tried and tried and tried to get the strobe to throw the light just the way we wanted, but eventually we had to call it quits and just use the natural light. Absolutely nothing wrong with it, sometimes it's all you've got, and even when it's not, sometimes it still works out better.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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