Furnace Creek is one of three tourist centers within Death Valley National Park. It is home to the Park's visitor center, a pair of hotels, a museum, shops and restaurants. An oasis on the barren valley floor, Furnace Creek originally provided crew quarters for borax miners. Visitors to Furnace Creek are always reminded that they are in the heart of Death Valley -- I made this telephoto image from the parking lot of the Furnace Creek Ranch Inn. The first layer is a screen of gnarled trees housing at least three large ravens at the moment. It is backed by four layers of differently colored ridges of barren rock that stack upon each other from the bottom to the top of the image. It is very much the essence of Death Valley itself -- a barren, hostile landscape, yet often beautiful and surprising.