Yucca at Sunset, New Mexico, USA by Chip Carroon

Picture Story

I suppose sand dunes are the essence of a desert environment in many peoples’ minds. While that may be the case, sand dunes occupy only two percent of desert landscapes in North America. Nevertheless, pursuing the elusive sand dune imagery is widespread. There seem to be many lines of thought, literally and figuratively. The classic approach may be images of shadowed sinuous dune crests at low light, and this can be very good. However, owing to the stark reality of the desert, images depicting the simplicity of the environment may also be interesting. That was the idea in this picture of one of the yucca species in the southwestern United States.

This line of thought suggests that the clear graphic design of a shape may be as impactful as much more complicated compositions. Graphic design theory often leads one to depict rather simple yet inventive forms. Good examples of this are in the realm of corporate logos. These thoughts, obviously, also carry over to landscape photography where we have seen many notable images that have rather simple designs. The reasoning can extend to the generalization that overly complicated or busy backgrounds can render an image less striking that ones with more bold components.

The other compositional necessity seems to be the weather. Landscape photographers are, rather by definition, constantly constrained by the time-consuming burden of the environmental conditions surrounding their location. Many are the times that we have waited long periods for the sky to offer an appealing backdrop, as was the case at the time of this photograph.

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