pinnacle desert


Night sky and campground over Trona Pinnacles, California desert


I agree with this video caption - black and white video over Yosemite definitely makes me think of Ansel Adams as well.

“In the beginning it was all black and white.“ ―Maureen O’Hara The world isn’t black and white, but maybe sometimes it is best viewed in it. Black and white photography allows us as the viewers to infer colors, to see contrast and requires us to look deeper into the photograph. I have always been drawn to B&W photography. Whether it was the street photography of Henri Cartier-Bresson or the dramatic landscapes of Ansel Adams, the starkness of the images spoke to me. I wanted to create a Black and White Nightscape Time-lapse because there is something special about the tonality of the night sky and how it lends itself to being monochromatic.

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Need an open space to fight an alien invasion, or explore a pirate’s world? Maybe a deserted location to land a plane? Not a problem - we’ve got you covered. Our #mypubliclands #Oscars celebration ends with out-of-this world movie locations!

The Trona Pinnacles is one of the most unique landscapes in the California Desert. The tufa spires, some as high as 140 feet, were formed underwater thousands of years ago when Searles Dry Lake connected Mono Lake to Death Valley. Ideally suited for science fiction backdrops, Star Trek V, Planet of the Apes and Battlestar Galactica were all shot here.

The remote and rugged Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah served as the backdrop for Independence Day, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End, Con Air and many more films.

The sci-fi classic Tremors was filmed almost entirely on location in the Alabama Hills in California. Other movies filmed there more recently include Star Trek Generations, Gladiator and Iron Man.  

And for the Star Wars fans out there, the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area in California was the filming location of the opening scenes of Return of the Jedi. Formed by windblown sands of ancient Lake Cahuilla, the dunes create an out-of-this-world landscape ideal for Hollywood film backdrops.

Visit these BLM-managed locations for your own out-of-this world experience!  


#mypubliclandsroadtrip watches the sun set at the Trona Pinnacles, one of the most unusual geologic wonders in the California Desert. 

This landscape consists of more than 500 tufa (calcium carbonate) pinnacles rising from the bed of the Searles Dry Lake basin. These tufa spires were formed underwater, 10,000 to 100,000 years ago, when Searles Lake established a link in an interconnected chain of Pleistocene lakes stretching from Mono Lake to Death Valley. 

Did you know? Geologically the pinnacles are classified into four general shapes - towers, tombstones, ridges and cones.

  • Towers are taller than they are wide and rise 30 to 40 feet.  Look for pointed, rounded or flat summits. 
  • Tombstones are stubby and squat and rise 20 to 30 feet.
  • Ridges are massive, toothy and tufa runs.  Trona Pinnacles has three ridges.  One ridge is 800 feet long, 500 feet wide and 140 feet tall.
  • Cones are less than 10 feet tall. Dumpy and mounded cone shapes lay scattered throughout the Trona Pinnacles

The Trona Pinnacles were designated by the Department of the Interior as a National Natural Landmark in 1968 to protect one of the nation’s best examples of tufa formation. Explore #yourlands!


Excellent driving and flying view of the features on Australia’s East Coast. You have no idea how much I love the videographer for giving me the full list of sites they shot, in the caption below.

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7 Jan - Pinnacles Desert, Nambung National Park

A moins de 3H de route au nord de Perth, seule métropole d’Australie Occidentale, se déroule déjà la côte sauvage d’un état désertique. Dans ces vastes étendues de sable doré se dressent des tours de calcaire, horde de monuments naturels montant la garde sur fond de ciel bleu, le regard tourné vers l’Océan Indien. C'est l'action conjuguée de la pluie, du soleil, du feu et du vent qui a façonné ces colonnes de roc.


Die Pinnacles im Nambung National Park in Westaustralien bei strahlendem Sonnenschein.

The Pinnacles Desert in Nambung National Park in Western Australia in bright sunshine.

by aurinkato © 2011, All Rights Reserved
Please leave captions and credits intact

Trona Pinnacles is one of the most unusual geologic wonders in the California Desert. This unique landscape consists of more than 500 tufa pinnacles — some as tall as 140 feet — rising from the bed of the Searles Dry Lake basin. Michael Shainblum captured this dramatic photo of Trona Pinnacles at sunset, which is a popular time to visit the sight. 

When visiting this area, you will understand why more than 30 movies and commercials are filmed here every year. Ideally suited for science fiction backdrops Star Trek V, Tim Burton’s Planet of the Apes and Battlestar Galactica were all shot here.

Photo courtesy of Michael Shainblum.