Valley Of Fire Starburst Sunrise

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Tech Info:

  • Camera: NIKON D3X
  • Focal Length: 14mm
  • Shutter: 1/30 sec
  • ISO: 100
  • Aperture: F/16

Geographical Location:

Park Name:

Subjects of This Photo:


Other Photo Tags:

This Photo's ID: 3077

Awards / Publications:

  • Cover and used inside of Teldon's American Panorama calendar
  • Winner - Photo Of The Day Contest at Earthshots on March 25th, 2012
  • 2nd place Dpreview "Sun" Challenge (out of 150)
Field Notes Print Info

YES! I finally got it!

I “discovered” this photo several years ago in Valley Of Fire State Park, NV. I always liked the idea of this shot, and thought that under the right conditions it might be a keeper.

The first time I saw it was at sunset – so no starburst or anything, but with the right clouds and color I thought it could be good (back then I wasn’t as vigilant about figuring the exact location of sunrise / sunset – I know better now).

I continued to go back, probably a dozen times over the last four years, each time being met with either complete overcast or dreadfully clear conditions. It got to the point I didn’t even need to think about the composition anymore – I’d practiced the shot so many times!

Then one morning as I was shooting the opposite direction, busily focusing on what turned out to be a mediocre photo, the sun hit my back. When I turned around and saw where the sun was coming up I got pretty excited – now THAT had some potential!

The sky was crystal clear, so it wasn’t exactly the shot I was idealizing in my mind – and besides, no way to get the camera set up fast enough (to get a good starburst, the sun has to be right next to a hard object – you only get a few minutes before it moves on). All I could think was with the right clouds, that would be a knock-out photo! It’s funny – all these times I’d been trying to get the shot at the wrong time of day!

Now, the pressure was on. The sun was coming up in a location that was compositionally perfect, but that wouldn’t last. Another week or so either way and it would be in the wrong spot – yeah, it was incredibly lucky I happend to see it when I did, at the exact right time of year!

So, I went back the next morning…

And got skunked by clear skies (but hey, at least I was setup in the right direction this time)

It was disappointing, but I was determined to get the shot so I stayed on one more day, hoping this would FINALLY be the day the magic happened…

And it did.

It’s kind of funny. People always ask me how I get some of the shots here on the site (most of the time with an overtone of “Gee you faked that”), but the fact is, many of the shots here are a result of trying again and again until I get the image I’m after.

About Our Prints....

I currently sell individual prints only. Each image is custom printed in house by me on our commercial grade inkjet printer. Each print is individually inspected and carefully packaged for shipment.

Please note that if you'd like another type of print (canvas for example) or another frame style, we can certainly accommodate you, just use the contact us page and we'll customize the artwork to make it perfect for your home.

(Note - we are no longer offering framed prints. The potential for damage in transit was very high and the shipping for large framed prints was outrageous, sometimes costing over $100 for larger pieces. Additionally, we've found our clients seem happier when they can work with their own local framing shop.)


Our framed prints are guaranteed for as long as you own them against wear, fading, or deterioration. Loose prints are also guaranteed for as long as you own them provided you have them framed under glass using archival materials. We want you to LOVE your prints, so we offer a refund as long as the print or framed print is returned in like new condition within 30 days.


All prints have a signature in the corner, usually the lower right hand when possible.


Delivery time varies and depends on a number of factors, but we always strive to get your prints delivered to you as quickly as possible. I personally inspect each and every piece before it leaves our building. If I'm out of town taking more photos, it can cause a delay, but a good rule of thumb is that a loose print will ship within 2 weeks and a framed print within 3 weeks. That time is significantly shorter if I'm in town at the time the order is placed. If you need a print done by a certain date, you can contact me and I'll be happy to give you an estimated delivery date.


We are now offering quantity discounts if you are interested in two or more pieces. Simply contact me with the sizes and names of the images you are interested in and I will be happy to get you a quote. The more pieces you order, the better the discount.

Thanks for your interest!


Colors In This Photo:

16 Responses to Valley Of Fire Starburst Sunrise

  1. Adawna says:

    Lol I liked that alot are u famous at all?if ur not u are jus very lucky bro

  2. Ponnette says:

    I know nothing about what it takes to get just the right shot, but I think it is a very beautiful shot. I well be using this wallpaper for sure.

  3. Hal says:

    Steve, brings back good memories – my family and I camped there one night MANY years ago while on a cross country trip – all I remember was it was very red and very HOT! Beautiful shot! it’s on my laptop now.

  4. Danny says:

    Steve, thanks for sharing this beautiful photo. I know the creativity of this photo must have been very rewarding.

  5. Robyn Blaisdell says:

    WOW!!! This is beautiful!! An AMAZING shot!! You’ll win an award for this one, Steve!

  6. Jean says:

    AWESOME photo!!! I’ve always said that the desert around Las Vegas is beautiful. I’ve lived here 24 years and still love the desert. We have some beautiful sunsets here and sunrises, too; but I don’t see too many of those!! LOL

  7. Bill Harter says:

    That’s what I call being in the right place at the right time!

  8. David says:

    But isn’t that the way He wants us to have it. To recognize the splendor over and over till it’s just right. Than we all can rejoice in it. Keep up the marvelous work of showing us the “Kingdom” we’ve been given.

  9. Jenny says:

    Steve, you did it winderfull. Jenny

  10. judy says:

    absolurely breathtaking. It is almost to awesome to be a real pic that that wasn’t touched up. Beautiful.

  11. Schuyler says:

    There is so much for the eye to see in this image. And I really like that you took the time to create this in the field, not on the computer. Many kudos to you!

  12. Mark Floyd says:

    One of the best Arch shots I have ever seen. The detail,the lighting,the colors,the star burst,just stunning.I have the 36″ x 24″ print framed and hanging on a wall.Every time I walk by it I have to stop and take a long look. Wow! Thank you for the shot Steve!

  13. Nancy says:

    Beautiful Beautiful Beautiful. Great job capturing this amazing image! Where in Valley of Fire SP is this? I would like to go.

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