Desert Peace | Fine Art Sand Dune Photography


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Despite growing up in rural Southwestern Pennsylvania and spending nearly half of my life in the lush Pacific Northwest of the United States, there is something about the desert that feels like home — something that feels comforting, inspiring, and powerful. The smell of sagebrush and juniper in the high desert, the millenia of geological processes laid bare before my eyes, the resiliency and flourish of the flora and fauna, and the vastness and quietness of it all can really put me in my place. It makes me feel so insignificant in the grand scheme of existence. I don't know why feeling insignificant is so powerful to me. Maybe it's because it reminds me to be grateful for this extremely small time and space that I'm occupying — that this time is all that I have and it's so very short.

I'm reminded of a realization that I had while I was in Death Valley National Park. I was photographing an intimate scene of curving sand dunes with alternating shadow and light. In just the few minutes that I was exploring that scene the light and shadow moved across it, changing ever so slightly between each exposure. I had never really noticed that before and it made me realize that what I was actually witnessing was the spinning of the earth — a visual and stark representation of the passing of time. It caused me to rethink all of those moments where I watched the sun move through the canopy of the forest, or watched it dip behind the horizon. Time is our most precious commodity. It's something that we can never get back and each minute is as important as the next. It caused me to think about how much value I give those minutes, and even how many of those minutes I don't give enough value to. It's these kinds of realizations that help me to find gratitude and that help me to make the effort to not take the time that I have for granted. Sometimes that's easy to forget and it's a work in progress.

I've grown to be very fond of the time that I spend in sand dunes, particularly the more remote ones. It's a place where I can easily get lost in my viewfinder exploring the different shapes, textures, patterns, and plays of light. When I think back at some of my most peaceful times in the desert where I felt at one with myself and the world, those times were spent amongst the dunes. I've had those peaceful moments in the middle of the day, which watching the color of the light reflect off of their surface, and while sleeping tentless in the middle of them with the stars vividly stretching into the expanse of the universe.

This is a living collection of those moments. I will add photos to the collection as I make them, and each photo is a representation of a time where I felt at peace.

To learn more about adding one of these photos to your collection, please visit my Prints Page.

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