Browse Photos: Desert


Milky Way Joshua Tree Rock ArchRock Arch Joshua Tree StarburstKata Tjuta - The Olgas Aerial ViewDeath Valley Sand DunesPetra Jordan - The Treasury - Indiana Jones in Real LifeSailing Stone - Death Valley, Racetrack PlayaPainted Sand: Pre-Dawn Colors on Mesquite Dunes, Death ValleyMesquite Flat Dunes - Death Valley National ParkTextures of the Fire Rock - Uluru Up CloseUluru Sunset - Ayers Rock, Red Center, AustraliaUluru Sunset GlowSunrise in the Desert - Joshua Trees, Yucca, and a Rocky MountainCholla Cactus Garden - Joshua Tree National ParkTeddybear Cholla Cactus at Sunrise - Cholla Cactus Garden, Joshua TreeMeeting of Sand and Sky - Pismo Dunes, Oceano Dunes - Pismo Beach, CAPainted Desert PanoramaCalifornia Poppies: Antelope ValleyDesert Bloom - Antelope Valley, CAJoshua Tree Rock Climbing at SunsetThe road to Joshua TreeJoshua Tree Panorama at SunsetSuspended Boulder
Milky Way Joshua Tree Rock Arch
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Milky Way Joshua Tree Rock Arch

The Rock Arch in Joshua Tree provides a perfect foreground for milky way photography. This was my first attempt photographing stars in Joshua Tree (actually any night sky photography). The better part of the milky way was actually in the other part of the sky, but in order to make the composition work with the arch I had to shoot this direction. I’d like to come back in the summer to get a different part of the milky way into the photograph.

Technical details: This photo was at 16mm on a full-frame Canon 5D Mk II (my widest lens, though I wish I could go wider), f/2.8 for 30 seconds at ISO 4000. No HDR here, but I did some curves and levels to increase the contrast in the sky to bring out the stars more. I light painted the foreground rocks with a flashlight - my hand blocking most of the light since it was too bright. With this type of shot, the basic goal is to get as much light captured without getting star trails. At 16mm this means not exposing longer than 30 seconds. Be sure to come at new moon if you want to shoot the milky way because otherwise you won’t see much since the sky will be too bright from the moon.

You can buy this photo here, with many options including standard prints, canvas gallery wraps, gift cards, mugs, T-shirts and much more.

January 22, 2014 10:53 am      Permalink

Rock Arch Joshua Tree Starburst
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Rock Arch Joshua Tree Starburst

A really great destination in Joshua Tree National Park CA is this rock arch. It’s just a short walk to the arch from White Tank Campground site #9 in the center of Joshua Tree. The natural rock arch is easy to get to on a half mile hike.

The solid granite arch is a perfect subject for taking photos, especially if you can get a nice starburst effect like this. It was tricky to get my camera + tripod setup in the perfect spot to photograph the sun peaking through the rock arch. The sun moves surprisingly fast in situations like this. An aperture of f/22 produced the nice star burst effect. I processed this as an HDR photo using HDR Efex Pro, cleaned it up in Photoshop, and used Color Efex Pro to add some more pop. You’ll want a wide angle lens to get a photo like this of the arch; I was at 16mm on my full-frame Canon 5D Mk II and I wished I could have been wider.

You can buy this photo here, with many options including standard prints, canvas gallery wraps, gift cards, mugs, T-shirts and much more.

January 21, 2014 11:18 am      Permalink

Kata Tjuta - The Olgas Aerial View
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Kata Tjuta - The Olgas Aerial View

These domed rock formations are named Kata Tjuta, Mount Olga, or The Olgas. There are 36 different domes, though these that you see here are probably the highest, protruding almost 1,800 feet above the surrounding desert. See that "tiny" hump in the distance? Yeah, that's Ayers Rock (Uluru). The Olgas and Ayers Rock are the only distinct feature four thousands of miles in Australia's red center. They are geologically related, having similar rock structure and color. I took this photo from a small plane during a short scenic flight at sunset.

You can buy this photo here, with many options including standard prints, canvas gallery wraps, gift cards, mugs, T-shirts and much more.

February 17, 2012 9:07 am      Permalink

Death Valley Sand Dunes
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Death Valley Sand Dunes

Another photo of the sand dunes of Death Valley. This is the eastern end of Mesquite Flat Dunes in Death Valley National Park, CA. My previous black and white sand dune photo was taken from this same spot.

You can buy this photo here, with many options including standard prints, canvas gallery wraps, gift cards, mugs, T-shirts and much more.

February 9, 2012 12:30 pm      Permalink

Petra Jordan - The Treasury - Indiana Jones in Real Life
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Petra Jordan - The Treasury - Indiana Jones in Real Life

Approaching Al Khazneh or The Treasury at Petra, Jordan. This was one of those moments that you wish for as a photographer but rarely can plan. As we hiked through the sandstone gorge in Petra, we rounded a corner and got our first glimpse of The Treasury, an impressive facade carved into the cliffs. Then out of nowhere this kid on a donkey came riding through the narrow passage to complete the scene. I fired off a couple shots, and this was the only one that came out. Quite a few films have been filmed here, including the last scenes of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

You can buy this photo here, with many options including standard prints, canvas gallery wraps, gift cards, mugs, T-shirts and much more.

February 6, 2012 9:40 am      Permalink

Sailing Stone - Death Valley, Racetrack Playa
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Sailing Stone - Death Valley, Racetrack Playa

This is one of the amazing moving rocks, or sailing stones found in this unique lake bed in Death Valley, shot at sunrise. This seasonally dry lake (playa) has quite a few of these rocks, each with unique tracks. There are a lot of theories as to what causes the rocks to move, involving wind, ice, and water. Racetrack Playa is located in the northern part of the Panamint Mountains in Death Valley National Park, California. It's a long drive on a dirt road to get here, but when we visited the road was in great shape.

You can buy this photo here, with many options including standard prints, canvas gallery wraps, gift cards, mugs, T-shirts and much more.

February 2, 2012 10:31 am      Permalink

Painted Sand: Pre-Dawn Colors on Mesquite Dunes, Death Valley
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Painted Sand: Pre-Dawn Colors on Mesquite Dunes, Death Valley

Pre-dawn colors painting the desert sand dunes in Death Valley. Aaron and I got up at 4:30 in the morning and hiked on the sand dunes for an hour or so in the dark to get to this spot as the first light of day appeared. This was still almost an hour before actual sunrise. This photo is from the western end of Mesquite Flat Dunes in Death Valley National Park, CA.

You can buy this photo here, with many options including standard prints, canvas gallery wraps, gift cards, mugs, T-shirts and much more.

February 1, 2012 10:05 am      Permalink

Mesquite Flat Dunes - Death Valley National Park
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Mesquite Flat Dunes - Death Valley National Park

These are the Mesquite Flat Dunes near Stovepipe Wells in Death Valley National Park. This photo was taken from the top of the highest dune looking northeast towards the rest of the dunes. The eastern part of Mesquite Dunes is the best place to go for photography since those dunes don't get as many footprints from visitors.

You can buy this photo here, with many options including standard prints, canvas gallery wraps, gift cards, mugs, T-shirts and much more.

January 30, 2012 10:02 am      Permalink

Textures of the Fire Rock - Uluru Up Close
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Textures of the Fire Rock - Uluru Up Close

Up close to Uluru (Ayers Rock). The textures and flowing lines of the red rock in contrast with the green trees of the foreground and a great blue sky is what drew me to this scene.

You may also be interested in my Uluru Time-lapse video which I shot at the same time using a different camera. Other Uluru photos: Uluru Sunset Glow photo and Uluru Sunset from farther away.

You can buy this photo here, with many options including standard prints, canvas gallery wraps, gift cards, mugs, T-shirts and much more.

December 15, 2011 9:50 am      Permalink

Uluru Sunset - Ayers Rock, Red Center, Australia
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Uluru Sunset - Ayers Rock, Red Center, Australia

Uluru (Ayers Rock) at sunset. This of course is the classic shot that every tourist to the red center of Australia takes. I tried to find an interesting foreground to add a bit of context to the location. I feel like no photo of Uluru really does it justice, but this is better than nothing I suppose.

You may also be interested in my Uluru Sunset Glow photo or my Uluru Time-lapse video which I shot at the same time using a different camera.

You can buy this photo here, with many options including standard prints, canvas gallery wraps, gift cards, mugs, T-shirts and much more.

December 14, 2011 8:07 am      Permalink

Uluru Sunset Glow
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Uluru Sunset Glow

Uluru (Ayers Rock) at sunset, showing the famous red glow. This is of course the defining monolith of the red center of Australia and the largest found anywhere in the world. You're only seeing about 1/4 of the visible rock in this close-up photo, but I wanted to show the unique textures on the rock face. Tomorrow I'll post a photo showing all of Uluru.

You may also be interested in my Uluru Time-lapse video which I shot at the same time using a different camera.

You can buy this photo here, with many options including standard prints, canvas gallery wraps, gift cards, mugs, T-shirts and much more.

December 13, 2011 9:01 am      Permalink

Sunrise in the Desert - Joshua Trees, Yucca, and a Rocky Mountain
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Sunrise in the Desert - Joshua Trees, Yucca, and a Rocky Mountain

Early morning light hits a rocky hillside in Joshua Tree National Park, with Joshua Trees and Yucca plants in the foreground.

Past Joshua Tree Photos you may be interested in: Panorama at Sunset, Suspended Boulder, Joshua Tree, Teddy Bear Cholla Cactus at Sunrise, and Cholla Cactus Garden.

You can buy this photo here, with many options including standard prints, canvas gallery wraps, gift cards, mugs, T-shirts and much more.

December 3, 2010 10:47 pm      Permalink

Cholla Cactus Garden - Joshua Tree National Park
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Cholla Cactus Garden - Joshua Tree National Park

This is about as close as you can get to a "teddy bear" cholla cactus without getting stuck with their stickers. This photo shows a closeup of a cholla cactus with more of the cactus garden visible behind. If you haven't already seen it, you may want to check out my other Teddybear Cholla Cactus at Sunrise photo.

You can buy this photo here, with many options including standard prints, canvas gallery wraps, gift cards, mugs, T-shirts and much more.

December 1, 2010 7:20 am      Permalink

Teddybear Cholla Cactus at Sunrise - Cholla Cactus Garden, Joshua Tree
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Teddybear Cholla Cactus at Sunrise - Cholla Cactus Garden, Joshua Tree

Sunrise in the Cholla Cactus Garden in Joshua Tree National Park. This section of the park isn't really a garden (it wasn't intentionally planted), but it seems that way with hundreds of teddy bear cholla cactus plants growing together.

You can buy this photo here, with many options including standard prints, canvas gallery wraps, gift cards, mugs, T-shirts and much more.

November 30, 2010 10:21 am      Permalink

Meeting of Sand and Sky - Pismo Dunes, Oceano Dunes - Pismo Beach, CA
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Meeting of Sand and Sky - Pismo Dunes, Oceano Dunes - Pismo Beach, CA

Yes, it has been a while since I've posted here. I was busy with wedding photos and then off for some vacation time up the CA coast (among other things).

We spent 2 days near Pismo Beach, and I really wanted to take cool photos of the Pismo Dunes (or Oceano Dunes). Most of the time the weather didn't cooperate, and I also had limited time to get out on the dunes. But this moment was beautiful, and I'm happy to have captured it. The blue sky didn't last long.

You can buy this photo here, with many options including standard prints, canvas gallery wraps, gift cards, mugs, T-shirts and much more.

September 9, 2010 11:35 am      Permalink

Painted Desert Panorama
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Painted Desert Panorama

This continues my series of desert wildflowers, showing a panorama of the painted hillsides in Antelope Valley, CA. Notice all the sections of different colored flowers. This panorama was put together from 4 HDR photos (3 exposures each).

You can buy this photo here, with many options including standard prints, canvas gallery wraps, gift cards, mugs, T-shirts and much more.

April 13, 2010 8:19 pm      Permalink

California Poppies: Antelope Valley
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California Poppies: Antelope Valley

The California Poppies are out in full bloom on the hillsides of Antelope Valley right now, as long as you come at the right time. The poppies close up at night and don't open again until around 9 or 10 am, when the full color slowly spreads across the hillsides. It's amazing to see the gradual spread of color as the flowers open. This photo was taken near my last Desert Bloom photo.

You can buy this photo here, with many options including standard prints, canvas gallery wraps, gift cards, mugs, T-shirts and much more.

April 12, 2010 9:54 am      Permalink

Desert Bloom - Antelope Valley, CA
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Desert Bloom - Antelope Valley, CA

This beautiful once a year occurrence in the desert is not to be missed: splashes of orange, yellow, green, and purple appearing out of nowhere. The California Poppies tend to steal the show, but I like the mixture of color found in this field. Thanks to Aaron Nystrom for alerting me to the great conditions in the Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve and drawing me a helpful map to the good photo spots.

You can buy this photo here, with many options including standard prints, canvas gallery wraps, gift cards, mugs, T-shirts and much more.

April 10, 2010 7:06 pm      Permalink

Joshua Tree Rock Climbing at Sunset
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Joshua Tree Rock Climbing at Sunset

At least one trip to Joshua Tree is a must when my brother Andy is in town. Here he is being lowered after a climb in Indian Cove, Joshua Tree National Park on Saturday. My brother Joe is belaying his wife Jessica on the next climb over (she's just behind the rock outcropping so you can't see her). This spectacular sunset was a great way to end our day in J-Tree.

You can buy this photo here, with many options including standard prints, canvas gallery wraps, gift cards, mugs, T-shirts and much more.

January 3, 2010 3:32 pm      Permalink

The road to Joshua Tree
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The road to Joshua Tree

This was taken on a stormy day in Joshua Tree National Park last summer (a rare event) on a quick day trip with Simon & Annette who were visiting us from Switzerland. We got a mixture of hail, sunshine, and rain that day.

June 14, 2009 10:08 am      Permalink

Joshua Tree Panorama at Sunset
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Joshua Tree Panorama at Sunset

This is probably the best sunset I've experienced in Joshua Tree National Park. Friends and I were already heading down from Ryan Mountain when this brilliance opened up. I ran back up to the top to capture this panorama. After about 10 minutes, the color was gone.

You can buy this photo here, with many options including standard prints, canvas gallery wraps, gift cards, mugs, T-shirts and much more.

December 13, 2008 2:12 pm      Permalink

Suspended Boulder
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Suspended Boulder

Notice the dual rock veins (either side of the little canyon) which lead you to the suspended boulder in this photo from Joshua Tree National Park.

December 2, 2006 3:17 am      Permalink