Some of you might think that, since the desert is basically a vast expanse of nothing, desert landscape pictures are boring. This post aims to prove they are anything but. The desert is, indeed, a seemingly endless strip of sand and rock – billions upon billions of tiny particles, crowding to form a gigantic mass of… something. The desert invites one to think about infinity and mortality, at the same time. The desert is a space of death, since there is no water to sustain too much life, yet, simultaneously, it is a space of limitless possibilities. After all, deserts are some of the few spots on earth where one can actually see the horizon, the sky and nothing more, realizing how small one is, in comparison to the greatness of nature. The ten photographers featured below managed to capture precisely this, plus so much more, at the same time.
1. “5:00 AM… Wake Up Before the Sun, Start to Run” by Fady Habib
The bold colors and interesting grainy vibe in Fady Habib’s picture make it look like it could be a still shot from a film. At the same time, the dominant and intense yellow, plus the single living, moving subject of the camel add a surreal touch to the image, while also granting it a painting-like quality.
2. “Virgin Dune” by Hamed Saber
Understandably enough, desert landscape pictures are often minimalist compositions, as is the case with Hamed Saber’s image. However, minimalism is very elegant, as Saber so aptly proves. To boot, the quality of detail captured in his image make the sand look impossibly soft and the entire scene appear almost inviting.
3. “Sossusvlei Landscape” by Geof Wilson
Geof Wilson took a different approach to photographing the desert. His desert is not barren or depopulated, even though the plants featured are not exactly lush vegetation. However, the colors employed in post-processing the image, combined with the image of the shrubs, make this image tell a story about resilience, as well as about the fascination of life, which can persist against all odds.
4. “Desert Moon Rising” by Josh Sommers
Josh Sommers’ angle and title for this image immediately make one think of man’s very own moon landing. The macro shot of the cracks in the ground render the scene surreal, almost extraterrestrial, as if it had been snapped on another planet. The strange effect is enhanced by the emergence of the full moon, shining from afar and above, as well as by the thin strip of water which can be seen in the distance.
5. “Like Nowhere Else” by Zach Dischner
Zach Dischner’s ‘nowhere else’ is in Colorado, and it truly feels like a special place, with its low-hanging clouds and dramatically overcast sky. For all the turmoil apparent in the sky, the sand dunes on the ground seem frozen in time, perfectly motionless like soft mountains, that have stood there since the beginning of all time.
6. “Desert to the Ocean” by Mark Bowman
Mark Bowman’s addition to this series of amazing desert landscape pictures is special for various reasons. For one thing, it’s in black and white. For another, it features a very filmic grain effect. For a third thing, it is actually part of an ampler series, which shows the photographers route from the heart of the desert to the coast of the ocean. In this picture water cannot be seen and seems to be located an entire world away, but the title adds a layer of hope to this strenuous journey of the camera across the dunes.
7. “Sand and Sky” by Zack Sheppard
Soft curves, a very special kind of blue light and a sky full of stars all combine to create Zack Sheppard’s composition, which invites a meditation on loneliness and negative spaces. However, due to the overall look of the picture, not all seems lost in this desert. There is something alive and organic in this image, and it’s probably the guiding light of the stars in the sky.
8. “Wolwedans – Namibia” by Rui Ornelas
Rui Ornelas traveled to the faraway African continent and the remote country of Namibia to snap this item on the list of superb desert landscape pictures. The picture has a classic quality to it, due to the elements featured and the timeless angle. There’s reddish sand, sun-burnt vegetation, as well as the chocolaty, rocky slopes of a monolith-like mountain further off into the distance.
9. “n4-10” by Zephyrance Lou
Don’t let the cryptic name fool you. Zephyrance Lou snapped an iconic image, which features the indisputably most famous landmarks built in the desert. The Giza pyramids are featured in strong, unforgiving lighting here. Perhaps the aim of the photographer here was to illustrate the ruthlessness of nature, which these outstanding structures have been surviving for millennia.
10. “Playa Pups” by Steve Jurvetson
Top of the beautiful desert landscapes list is a picture at once beautiful and endearing, which combines seemingly clashing elements to a surprising effect. To see a pair of Husky dogs in the desert is unusual, yet they, too, like the desert, represent wilderness and how nature cannot be tamed, no matter how hard the human race tries.