Even though I live in Wisconsin and well over 1000 miles from the American Southwest, the desert, canyons and badlands of that area are some of my favorite places to explore photographically. I usually spend several weeks there every year in the spring and fall and since I am quite familiar with the region I now try to find places off the beaten track that I have never been.
The New Mexico Bisti Badlands are very familiar to me so on this trip I wanted something new. I looked at several maps and found a small area that looked like it had similar geology to the Bisti so I figured out a way to get myself as close as possible. I camped about a mile from these sandstone formations for a while to experience a few sunsets and nights and whatever light may be interesting. It turned out to be a wonderful place with many interesting formations but this particular sandstone hoodoo was one of the most unique I had ever seen so I kept coming back to it whenever the light looked promising. It was also easily accessible from all sides so from whatever direction the light was showing it at its most photogenic, there was a new composition waiting.
On this late afternoon, there was a small storm evaporating over the Chuska Mountains to the west at sunset and for a while I felt disappointed with the dull light. Suddenly, however, the sky lit up and then I saw this rim light appear on the clouds and I quickly got to work. It took two exposures to get this look as the correct sky exposure left the foreground extremely dark so I exposed the foreground three full stops more.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor