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“The Wave” North Cayote Buttes, BLM

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Curator's Choice
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Superb Composition
deonimoolman danielion peterdfolk Kleintje Sensational adrianmuhlawson chrismcilroy +4
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Vitalyas Maple-2103 jeremytravers Joseph1 paullanderos
Absolute Masterpiece
Steve--photography-- JeffreyDeCristofaro James-Evans OBRonTyan dwreid68
Outstanding Creativity
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Joseph1 Platinum
Joseph1 May 15
love the contrast of colored sand and the pathway it has
courtneygattis Ultimate
Thank you. It's a magical place.
Joseph1 Platinum
Joseph1 May 15
Where was this taken
courtneygattis Ultimate
North Coyote Buttes in Utah/Arizona. You have to obtain a permit to visit, and they only allow 60 permits per day. When we hiked it they only allowed 20 per day. We lucked out and scored a permit at the BLM office the day before. It was a bingo style lottery and we were 1 of 137 there that morning.
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Behind The Lens


This is a photo of the most popular shot of the Wave in Arizona. The Wave is a sandstone rock formation located in Arizona, US. Thousands of years of wind have eroded the sandstone into what you see today. To protect the formation, the Bureau of Land Management limits access by only allowing 20 people per day to acquire permits. The permit is a lottery style system. My wife and I were lucky enough to get it on our first try. Many people have tried for years. I've learned though that the BLM has increased the daily limit to 60, so there are a lot more opportunities to visit this beautiful formation. The hike is hard though. There is no trail and it's all backcountry, relying on formations as waypoints.


The best time to hike to the Wave is mid day because early morning and late evening create unappealing shadows and you lose a lot of the color. This shot was taken in May of 2018 around 2:00PM.


You won't need special lighting, and it would just add extra weight to your pack. You'll need that weight for extra water.


This was shot with a Canon EOS 6D, with a Canon EF16-35mm f/2.8 III USM. No other equipment was needed.


This shot was one of over 600 photos taken at the Wave that day. This is the classic Wave shot that most people see, so of course I had to create my own image.


Yes, I had to adjust the highlights and shadows quite a bit. The colors were a little too orange for my liking so I toned them down a bit.

In my camera bag

My wife and I are seasoned hikers, so I often think of weight when I pack my pack. My lenses are the heaviest part so my go to lenses when hiking are my 16-35 and my 70-200. If it's a long hike, I will often leave my 70-200 at home and take my 135mm. It's an old lens but creates great depth of field and my wife is often far enough in front of me to get some great shots of her with it. My main camera body is my Canon 5D IV, although I will probably make the switch to mirrorless at some point.


If you try to attempt to hike to the Wave please read all the information carefully. It is a dangerous hike. A father/son duo attempted the hike the very next month. They lost their way and the father became very dehydrated. He succumbed to the elements while the son went for help. So if you do try the hike, take plenty of water and be very aware of your surroundings. Photographing the Wave is not hard. It is a very easy subject. I only took my wide angle and a polarizer filter.

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