Classic Wave Photos
An estimated 50% of visitors to Coyote Buttes North never explore much beyond The Wave. This is especially true in the summer and winter when extreme temperatures, lightning, or snow cover tend to keep visits short. In view of this I've added some thoughts on how to shoot The Wave itself. A gallery showing what I believe to be the classic images of The Wave is here, and below is a map of The Wave showing where these were taken. Click on any image in the map to zoom in.
The Wave opens up in three directions, to the north (the direction you came in on), to the east, and to the southwest. Each of these openings has a good photo associated with it as can be seen on the map above.
- 1. The most popular photo of the Wave is taken following the red arrow. This photo is best shot in the morning - very early afternoon. Don't shoot too late as the south wall goes into shadow in the afternoon, especially in winter.
- 2. The shot to the north following the blue arrow is also popular and again works well late morning to early afternoon. Outside this time frame either the west or east wall will be in shadow.
- 3. The image taken towards the south (green arrow) works best when there is water present on a calm day. Only a little water is needed to get a good photo, even one inch will do. Shoot close to ground level to emphasize the little rocks in the water, with a wide angle to normal lens. If possible shoot when the foreground is entirely lit or in shadow and some portion of the wall to the south is lit.
- 4. The last image, shot following the black arrow, is of a short slot canyon which gets excellent reflected light in the morning. Watch your DOF when shooting this. You may want to smooth out the sand in the slot using a cloth, jacket, or rain jacket before shooting. It is very difficult to remove the footprints in this sand using Photoshop.
All of the above photos can be shot at night as well. Shoot startrails following the blue and red arrows, or the Milky Way following the green arrow on a moonless night. I have not yet shot the slot canyon at night but believe it would work well also.
Permits to The Wave are so hard to get that I'd suggest you shoot all of the above on your first trip. They can all be shot early morning to noon. In addition to these images there are many other possibilities, see my main Wave gallery for some ideas.