Can you spot the tiny figures at the top of the hill? I’m confident that tiny figures produce a sense of grand scale in images—particular desert shots, like this one, where the inhuman nature of the place can make understanding the sizes of objects difficult. Nonetheless, I find myself wondering how small the figures in an image can be before the viewer loses the ability to recognize them as human.
Even might Jeep Life™ has its limits, as this Wrangler found at Bombay Beach. The Salton Sea is an artificial body of water in a valley that was once home to an ancient ocean, and the result includes these large flats made from the calcium carbonate skeletons of long-dead sea creatures. Though the outer surface may look like a desert—and the dry surroundings might support the assumption—this is really just a thin crust, below which is a lot of mud.
I’m guessing this kind of thing happens regularly, because the entrance ramp to the beach included multiple signs with telephone numbers of locals offering to pull people out if they get stuck—for a fee, of course.
Dune’s naturally occurring “Shield Wall” always seemed a bit fictional to me—until I saw Denver’s metropolitan area from above. Look at that sharp divide between mountains and the valley floor!
Dream-logic usually stays confined to dreams, but this swing in the Salton Sea appears fully isolated and separated from reality (while still existing within it); I’m reminded of an extremely low-rent version of Itsukushima Shrine.
I’ve shown you a far different view of the wind farms at the northern end of Coachella Valley, but an aerial view at dawn provides better documentation of the project’s true scale, and its place in the fascinating geological setting of the valley.
From modern lasers to something a bit older: the lakeside view of Mohonk Mountain House, looking much as it has for more than 100 years. The sheer face of the cliff contines into the structure and reflects in the water.