Words can really not describe this wonderful patch of sandstone in northern Arizona known as The Wave. The cross-bedded sandstone has created a photographer’s paradise of undulating ripples of perfectly formed lines. Due to the fragile nature of the area a very limited permit system has been created by the BLM. A lottery is held every morning for a select few individuals to make the long hike to visit this truly special place.

I have visited this area a number of times over the years. The first couple times I did not get a good picture of the main sandstone area. One of the problems is the light can be very contrasty casting large areas of the sandstone bowl in dark shadow. I knew the shot I was looking for would have more even contrast. Also the sky needed some clouds, not the plain gray sky that is so prevalent in the desert. On this day the conditions aligned, large clouds in the sky consistently shaded the entire area, and the clouds also broke up the distant sky. So I waited for the sandstone to be shaded at the same time as a few photogenic clouds drifted by. The silver gelatin print requires some subtle manipulations to get the tones of the rock balanced, and to darken the sky to bring out the clouds.

Purchase a handmade, silver gelatin print of this image.