Desert: The Sheer Variety

Last Tuesday the weather looked promising and I set out to spend another day in the desert. I gave myself a somewhat late start to enjoy the more angled light late in the day while out there, and together with much more dramatic weather than I would have expected, was treated to some quite spectacular moods.

My plan was to find a somewhat “hidden” sandstone dome near the well-known “Domelands” first and then find a more direct route to the very narrow slot canyon that I had only photographed with my phone last time. While there, I also wanted to make better photos of the incredible fossils, and then just explore a little bit more: follow that wash here, climb onto the mud hills, peek around a corner there, that sort of thing…

The gallery below contains only photos from this “explore a bit more” part of the day — and fifteen photos are a lot, I know… but the sheer variety of things one can find out there, combined with the incredible light and moods, was simply too good! I spent much more time than I expected and on the way back, had to hurry a little bit to make it to the car before it got too dark — the route involves some sections that I wouldn’t want to hike down with just a headlamp.

All in all, it was an incredibly rewarding and satisfying day, filled with strong winds, beautiful light, dramatic clouds, rumbling thunder, distant sheets of rain, swirling dust devils — and a double rainbow, on the way back. The photos of the narrow slot and the fossils are yet to come.


As a bonus, here’s another #LunchTimeLapse, with an appearance of yours truly. :) I’ve done these for a while now and a couple more are in my Vimeo profile — this time, I forgot the tripod adapter for my phone (and the beanbag as well) so I tried to secure the phone to the ballhead with a velcro strap. This included a) quite some cursing and b) resulted on some slight movements in the video… I hope you enjoy it, nevertheless.

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20 thoughts on “Desert: The Sheer Variety”

  1. Wow. Especially the double rainbow shot. The timelapse is beautiful, love the person walking in and out. :)

  2. What an incredible day you experienced. Thank-you for sharing it with us through your amazing photos.

  3. Wow! Awesome storm sky over the badlands. Now I know how you can hike so far, man you move fast! laugh.
    I was in Valley of Fire NV from March 14th to the 18th and saw the same amazing storm sky over the sandstone on Monday the 15th but got absolutely crushed by the storm that hit at sunset.
    50-60 mph wind gusts and driving rain, it collapsed my tent even though it was tied up to vertical supports! Was all worth it.

  4. OK. the jealousy is kicking in hard! Wow, Alex, your description should have prepared me but seeing the images drives it home. The changing light as the series of photos progresses, and in the video, also tells the story of how varied the desert really is. And it’s fun to see you racing around! Favorite images for me are the two Atriplex with that beautiful mud, the roots (do you know about asemic writing? That photo is a good example). (And how did you get that photo? It looks like it was taken with a drone, or a person on stilts). Both varnished stone shots are beautiful, especially the second. The Ocotillo has a sweetness to it – those plants are so interesting and seeing that one reaching up, with that window of light in the distance…very nice and a classic desert scene, I think. I have to add my applause for the double rainbow – you must have been grinning from ear to ear when you made that one. I love what the wash in the foreground does – it’s like an amphitheater. An altogether mystical image. The final photo looks very much like the ocean. The light in it is rendered beautifully!

    • Thanks for your nice comment Lynn, and the extra chuckle — “the jealousy is kicking in hard!” xD

      I have never heard of asemic writing and after looking it up I can say yes, that was my first thought: it’s some kind of writing. The size and perspective might be misleading — when you read “roots” don’t think of a tree, it’s some hardy desert shrubs instead. What you’re seeing in the photo is probably no more than 6-7 inches tall.


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