Last July, London, UK-based photographer Simon J. Byrne was lucky enough to photograph The Wave in Arizona, coming back with these stunning shots. The Wave is a sandstone rock formation near the Arizona and Utah border that’s famous among photographers for its gorgeous rock formations. Located on the slops of the Coyote Buttes in the Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness, the renowned Wave is made of Jurassic-age Navajo sandstone or 190-million-year-old sand dunes that have turned to rock. Stacked one atop another, the dunes calcified in vertical and horizontal layers.
“After a nice hike through the Arizona desert in 40 degree heat (or 104 Fahrenheit) and with no shade you come to The Wave,” Byrne says. “It’s pretty special here, I’ve never seen anything like it, which is why I took about 295423423 photos. Thankfully, the BLM limit visitors to 20 a day, and you can only get a permit via applying months in advance, or through a lottery system the day before you want to go. 40 people showed up, and 10 got tickets. Thankfully, I was one of them.
“It’s very strange when you get to The Wave as, unless you’re inside it, you have no idea it’s there. You climb a hill and, all of a sudden, you’re inside this incredible sandstone formation, which curves all around you in lines that don’t seem to have a beginning or end. It took a good while to take everything in, and the views change so dramatically depending on your angle or height.
“It was amazing to be in this geological wonder almost completely alone, and it was perfectly preserved.”