The Wave, Arizona, USA by Chris Perea

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Picture Story

In a place like The Wave in Arizona you maybe would expect a different photo. For me, it's also the subtle things like color, patterns and contrast that make a photo worth taking. This Navajo Sandstone is millions of years old. The iron oxide content in the sandstone in this area of the U.S. make the reddish tints ranging from pink to dark red, terracotta, with the additional manganese imparting a purplish hue. There is a permitting system in place to visit The Wave and that for a good reason. The sandstone is very delicate and crunches with every step you take.

After winning permits to this amazing area, I hiked in the next morning before sunrise. There are a few sandy areas on the hike and a mountain lion left footprints patrolling his territory. When the sun finally rose, the rock formations cast long shadows on the desert ground. Immediately, the temperature rose by about 20 degrees and everything was cast in warm, yellow light. As so often in this dry and desolate area of Arizona, the sky was completely clear. Not a single cloud was in sight. I set up my tripod in the shade of a tall canyon where the lines in the sandstone were especially colorful. What caught my eye, besides the colorful lines, was the perpendicular cross-bedding. This is typical for the Navajo sandstone and origins in the way it was formed about 190 million years ago. I took three photos to make sure everything is in focus and blended them together in Photoshop.

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