The Blue Planet

Standing on the edge of this cliff looking out on the vastness of the desert seemed so overwhelming. How wide should I shoot, how much should I zoom in to the details. Daytime in harsh shadows or under a passing cloud? Maybe at night under a faint glow of the moon. Let’s not overthink this.

I decided to just sit there, breath and forget about taking a photo. I allowed the landscape to surround me. I allowed myself to let everything go but my awareness of my surroundings. I walked along the edge of the cliff while surveying the scenery that seemed to stretch to infinity. I felt the breeze and I smelled the earthy aromas of the desert.

Once I had discarded any urgency I pulled out my 70-200 and sat at the overlook and found anomalies in the desert floor. Shapes and patterns… anything that caught my eye… This ridge stood out to me and caught my attention.

I took a lot of photos that afternoon but only few really made the cut, which was fine with me, but I think that I would have walked away with less if I hadn’t allowed myself to decompress, remove expectations and just let the desert speak to me.

Technical Details

Composite: No
Nikon D850 - Nikon 70-200 VR II
Hand held with VR
Shutter 1/80"
Aperture f/8
ISO - 800

I processed this cool and contrasty. LR/PS


Oh my, this is gorgeous. The muted pinks, blues, and purples really complement all the sinuous lines. It’s so true that really experiencing a scene reaps all sorts of benefits, the least being a good photo!

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Amazing image, Gary. Beautiful patterns and lines, the ridge in the middle stands out, yet blends with the surrounding area. Beautifully processed. Love the cooler tones.

@Bonnie_Lampley Hi Bonnie! :slight_smile: Thank you. I appreciate your kind words. I really do think that my best images from any location come from my subsequent visits. I hope that you’re doing well.

@J_Fritz_Rumpf Hey Fritz!!! Thank you my friend. I appreciate and respect your feedback. :slight_smile:


This is beautiful Gary! Fantastic color and patterns. It must have been amazing just sitting there taking in this wonderful vista. I’m glad you included the smaller peak on the upper right. It was a nice discovery after my eyes traveled through the frame.

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A sublime image, Gary. This is breathtaking. Thanks for sharing it and your story. That is inspiration for many of us.

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I concur 1,000% with @David_Bostock’s words! A sublime image with an extraordinary otherworldly quality. A treasure gifted from delving in pure aesthetic contemplation, when the will has ceased directing the intellect and our eyes see the world “in a new light”. Thank you for sharing!


Just WOW in so many ways.

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@alfredomora It was pretty incredible to spend time at this incredible place. Thank you Alfredo. :slight_smile:

@David_Bostock I’m inspired if I inspire others. Thank you very much David. :slight_smile:

@LauraEmerson Thank you for your kind words Laura. :slight_smile:

@StephenPrunier Thank you. :slight_smile:

Wow Gary. Super sweet image. I love the way you processed this and the composition that you chose. It really gives it great mood and an otherworldly vibe that this area is known for. I appreciate the write up on this as well. Allowing yourself to decompress and relax a little. I know this area very well and this overlook can be completely overwhelming at first sight as there are so many lines, textures and ridges sweeping through the valley floor. This is simply fantastic in every regard. Well done!!!

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The southwest always appears, to me, like that of a whole other planet, a brand new ecosystem which is quite otherworldly. It is amazing how we have such vast variety of beauty in this country, let alone the world itself. Though I have never been to the southwest, I hope one day to be graced with the opportunity to explore its vastness, to get lost in scenes such as this.

Thank you for sharing this wonderful piece; it has brought on many dreams.

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Love this image, the colors, shapes and patterns are just amazing. must have been a wonderful place to visit.

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@David_Haynes Thank you. I’ve been going to this area since my first trip in 1999 and I have just found this spot… and it appears many more photographers have as well. :wink:

@Cody_Schultz Thanks bud. :slight_smile: You must go someday… soon!!! :wink:

@Ola_Jovall It’s an incredible place to spend some time. :slight_smile: Thank you.

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Unfortunately, that appears to be the case. I used to have this all to myself when I went and now there are at least 3 to 4 vehicles there which still isn’t much but before you know it, it will be over run with photogs. Luckily, it’s far enough off the beaten path that some won’t venture down that dirt road.

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Photography as meditation. Too true - its not the product but the process of connection. That being said - what a stunning image but I agree with you, we don’t tend to make these images if we don’t take the time to breathe it in. Well done at all levels!!

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In the past my reason was to solo backpack in the remote canyons for a week at a time. It’s only been in the last ten years or so that I’ve been going primarily for photography.

@Kerry_Gordon Thank you. :slight_smile: