236 comments

    1. The picture was taken on the U.S. side of the Rio Grande in Big Bend National Park. The range in the background that is tinged purple and orange are the Sierra del Carmens. I’ve stood almost exactly in that spot on one of my past visits.

    1. Big Bend National Park, though possibly on the Mexican side (Maderas del Carmen). Whole area is on my figurative bucket list.

      1. Yeah – I’m studying Conservation Biology and Ecology and we were having a discussion on the impacts of the wall. It’s actually horrible for wildlife and biologists are horrified. Jeff Corwin actually spoke out against the wall from a purely ecological standpoint.

        So, what can you do? The key law in the US that has established a precedent for the US is NEPA (national environmental policy act). Because of this law, the government MUST tell citizens what it’s going to do to the environment and examine the potential impacts in the light of day- known as an environmental impact assessment (EIA) AND then publish an environmental impact statement (EIS). There is a period called scoping in which citizens can suggest that the government look into specific environmental implications (e.g. how would the bright lights on top of the wall impact migratory hawks?) and the government MUST respond. If the government does not respond, or if they respond and simply say no without giving a reason, you have legal recourse (i.e. you can sue the government. God bless America). There is public input at every stage. After the EIA (with public input) has been conducted, then there’s a draft EIS with public input. Then, a final EIS will be released. After the EIS is released, a final decision will be made (such as, should we build the wall?) and this decision includes public input.

        Where can you contribute?

        Watch the federal and state registers.

        The EIA listing will be found in the federal register with a trigger for public comment.

      2. Been a couple times, Chisos basin is a great campsite. There’s a reserve only section you can do online, and then there’s a first come first use section pretty much connected. If you stay at chisos you can commute to all parts of the park in less than an hour either way and most of the best hikes are 0 drive at all.

      3. I always feel close to home looking at this landscape. I live closer to Dallas, but I could see a picture with that kind of prickly pear and those juniper bushes and know that I’m looking at West Texas. Or at least at the nearby Chihuahuan Desert.

      4. I believe this image was taken on the US side at 29.185801, -102.984653, pointing almost due east. If you search that on google maps, the closer mountain range is about 4 miles away and the taller mountains in the background are about 8 miles away.

      5. I went in April. Check the calendar and try and go with no moon and see if there’s an meteor showers happening. It’s life changing.

          1. Unfortunately the American government does and I’d need a passport for the Mexican side.

          2. Or just do like most of us and dont get caught. Unless you’re being suspicious or disrespectful to the area, you won’t be bothered. We walked through the river to the Mexican side several times

          1. I couldn’t imagine August. April was miserable after about 11am, but beautiful and cold at night.

          2. I camped in the Chisos, which was only upper 70s most of the time, even in August. At the upper elevations on the trails it was very nice weather.

  1. The US southwest desert is the prettiest place on earth. Everywhere you look is another breathtaking vista.

  2. AZ resident here. I understand the cactus, but could someone eli5 the weird thing in the middle of the picture?

  3. People need to learn how to utilize HDR properly instead of sloppy adding it where it doesn’t belong. You can’t just add it anywhere and expect it to turn out well.

  4. [Here](https://500px.com/photo/116370573/big-bend-evening-by-inge-johnsson?ctx_page=1&from=user&user_id=390414) is the source of this image. Credit to the photographer, [Inge Johnsson](https://500px.com/ingejohnsson), who took this on March 5, 2015 and provided the following caption:

    > Big Bend Evening

    >Big Bend National Park in the U.S. state of Texas has national significance as the largest protected area of Chihuahuan Desert topography and ecology in the United States. It contains more than 1,200 species of plants, more than 450 species of birds, 56 species of reptiles, and 75 species of mammals. The national park covers 801,163 acres. A variety of Cretaceous and Cenozoic fossil organisms exist in abundance, and the park has artifacts estimated to be 9,000 years old. Historic buildings and landscapes offer graphic illustration of life along the international border in the 19th century. For more than 1,000 miles, the Rio Grande/Río Bravo forms the international boundary between Mexico and the United States, and Big Bend National Park administers approximately 118 miles along that boundary. The park was named after the area, which is bounded by a large bend in the river and Texas-Mexico border.

    [Here](https://www.google.com/maps/@29.1847069,-102.9832849,349m/data=!3m1!1e3) it is on Google Maps.

    1. Some of those 450 species of birds are migratory. The park doesn’t really “contain” them.

      Whatever the source and however pilfered, it’s nice to see some love for Big Bend.

    2. Fucking Big Bend National Park! I did my Summer field camp there for my undergraduate degree. I thought it looked familiar.

      For starters *don’t visit in the Summer…* it’s scorching hot >100, little wind, no shade. However in the Spring and Fall it’s amazing (had a 1 week camp in the Spring too, way more enjoyable). We went to non trail locations to map and indeed, there were numerous scenes just like this one. Breathtaking, and popping with color.

      This park is probably the most beautiful place in the state of Texas. It’s worth a visit, put it on your bucket list.

      P.S. The bees there are Africanized. Just be chill. They’re very curious, so they’ll likely hang out. They’re only a problem if you make them sting you, and you’ll get chased by their bee pals.

      1. We just recently went for July 4th weekend, was most certainly unbearably hot in the desert areas (Rio Grande/Panther Junction) but the Chisos Mountain area is definitely more bearable (anywhere from 10-25 degrees cooler depending on how high you hike). Managed to do most of the hikes we set out to do in that area.

        1. You’re right! We went there on a “break day,” way cooler and okay to hike at in the Summer. The place we went to had a trail that was well shaded by trees.

          I wasn’t aware that was actually still in the park – TIL! We kept to the desert for mapping because less vegetation makes it easier. The Chisos Mointains is a whole other environment.

    3. The wide range of terrain is amazing in that park. Been twice, in the winter we hiked/4×4’d in the quiet desert to an abandoned mine shaft drinking beers. In the summer, we attempted for 45min to hike in the desert but quickly opt’d for the South Rim hike in the Chisos Mountain Range. Going from the Rio Grande Caballos del Muertos Canyons, to the lower desert, to the Chisos Mountain Basin in an hour is nothing short of amazing.

      Not to mention it is a gold-tier international dark sky, a catch phrase used for Big Bend and other parks receiving this uncommon rating (Grand Canyon) is: “Half the park is after dark.”

  5. So did you have to hike four hours at the crack of dawn to get this picture? Totally worth it right?

    Come on, dude

  6. Reminds me of the Chronicles of Narnia, specifically, The Horse and his Boy after they leave Tashbaan on their way through the desert.

  7. Moving away from the desert next week after living here for 24 years, sure am going to miss the beautiful sunsets.

  8. The range in the background tinged purple and orange is the Sierra del Carmen. It is sometimes referred to as the most remote place on earth, and is more characteristic of mountains found in the western U.S. I’ve wanted to go there since I first set foot in Big Bend country, but there is no infrastructure to support tourism. It would take a lot of effort and resources most of us don’t have time for. Plus, a considerable amount of the range is privately owned by the largest concrete company in North America, which is based out of Mexico. They purchased the land with the intent of environmental restoration to reverse the devastating effects of their construction activities elsewhere. I do commend this effort, but I so badly wish I could visit the Carmens….

  9. I never understood people who thought the desert was boring to see; it’s just an entirely different palette than most of us are used to.

    1. I grew up in what is called a chaparral desert region in Texas. Nope not for me. Give me forests like the Pacific Northwest and I’m happy.

    1. While I agree that OP’s photo is way oversaturated, I wouldn’t say this is any better – it’s desaturated below what is actually realistic.

      1. I mainly work in video, but it’s standard practice to shoot ‘flat’ so that you can have more control over colours later in the edit.

        1. For sure. I’m not as familiar with video but that’s to increase the dynamic range so you have more to work with in post.

          Anyways, in post-processing of a landscape photo the goal is to stay within the bounds of realism. My point is that neither OP’s nor the correct version effectively capture the scene.

      2. I live in Arizona and OP’s picture is certainly more realistic than this. Deserts are actually quite beautiful and have plenty of color and life you just need to know where to look. Especially in places like these you’ll see loads of contrast between the green of plants, blue of water, and the color of the rocks. Plus the sunsets are gorgeous.

        1. Nah that’s what it looks like when the suns going down in the desert… the contrast is a little too high though.

        2. The dessert and the sky in AZ is more beautiful than anywhere else I’ve been. Even the storms are amazing. Nature really is unreal sometimes.

        3. Lived in Arizona ~25 years. This photo is too undersaturated. OP’s is too oversaturated. Yes you have to adjust the raw photo to make it more realistic, but this looks like it’s slightly carried away.

        1. I believe that is Big Bend National park. The photo was probably taken from the Marufo Vega trail on the Southeast side of the park.

          1. I literally pasted one at fifty percent transparency on top of the other one.

            Results aside, it was *shit* work I did.

          2. I figured that was what had been done, seemed like the most obvious approach. It’s pretty funny that it didn’t require more tweaking than 50% though.

        1. Looks natural to what i’ve seen. The flat green of the trees below really makes it.

          I don’t mind the saturated version either.

          pretty girls still get to put on makeup

          sports cars get a new wax

          the nice house gets to put out flowers

          nice canyon photo gets some saturation…

    2. That appears to be *way* undersaturated. Almost like they took an AdobeRGB image and displayed it as sRGB without remapping.

    3. Hate to be a dick, but color correction could actually give you more natural colours, the sensor from the camera doesn’t resolve colour like your eye does, but then again, everyone’s eyes are different, I do colour correction for movies, and one of my eyes has a different colour value than the other (one of my eyes sees things warmer than the other). Just and FYI!

    4. This is bullshit cynicism.

      Go drive to the desert. Be there for sunrise. It really does get fantastically purple and orange. Sunset often does too.

      You can tell the sun is just at the horizon by the color banding on the far cliffs, by the way.

      OP’s photo is a little saturated but is actually quite realistic to what you will remember seeing.

      Yours is wrong. The desert simply does not look like that at sunrise or sunset with that weather. It may look drab when the sun is fully up, or heavily overcast, but not when OP took the photo.

      If you’ve never been, guys, and you think this guy’s callout is fair – seriously, go. Utah is gorgeous. Nevada. Arizona. New Mexico. Southern California. Texas. Etc. All very accessible. See the amazing views and don’t be cynical.

      (OP being the original photographer; the original poster is reposting).

      I probably have a dozen desert photos similarly colorful and I guarantee they look very close to how the eye saw the scenes at the time.

      1. For real. I grew up in Arizona and sunsets would give these gorgeous pink and blue/purple color across the desert all the time.

      2. Texas – Palo Duro Canyons and Big Bend National Park are really the only two places I know of that are this pretty. There may be other places, it’s a huge state. I haven’t gone super South. Mostly east, central, west, north.

        I live in New Mexico now. Just taught Field Camp in the Taos area. So far *everywhere* in New Mexico has been gorgeous.

        Wyoming was pretty breathtaking, so was Colorado. Arizona too. I need to see Utah!

        The colors can indeed be just about as stunning and popping as the original image. This desaturated image is definitely off.

    5. This is way under-saturated. You can tell from the color of the trees and the overall “grey” look to it.

        1. Photograph is about trying to reproduce what you saw, not only physically, but also emotionally. OP’s picture looks great, not even getting all into the oversaturated territory.

        2. Take a photography class where you develop film in a dark room. It’ll change your philosophy on what is “fake”.

  10. Trump wants to build his wall straight through here, the border between Texas and Mexico. So…that’s great.

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    1. I was just about to say thanks for the new desktop background… but your comment leaves me confused about what to do. On one hand it is quite literally a background/wallpaper, but on the other hand, there’s no need for me to bring up /u/Simmo5150’s sexual orientation.

    2. But did someone originally take this picture? I mean, is this a real place? Or digitally-altered and edited within an inch of its life?

      1. Yes, it’s a real place. However, someone didn’t treat the colors properly when editing it, so the cast is wrong and the colors are overdone. [This is what it really looks like](http://i.imgur.com/iGjcnMv.jpg).

        ~~Arizona~~ Texas really is beautiful, though.

        1. Ah! Yes, this is the Texas I know, nice and rocky and dry, not that supernatural blue stained, breezy place the photo this thread depicts.

        2. Thank you. The funny thing is that OP didn’t even need to do all that editing. The original picture is breathtaking enough! And I never knew Texas had beautiful places like this.

      2. Yeah, usually major companies license work from photographers and graphic artists for their backgrounds. There’s also a lot of sites where graphic artists contribute screensavers freely for public use; their high skill means it only takes them a few hours to make a new one. u/your-opinions-false actually reproduced how the original would have appeared and you can see that the posted version was edited to increase the range of colours and saturate blues a bit more deeply. The colour contrast produced by doing this gives it a lot of dramatic effect.

        Normally photos have a more neutral tone or a single colour tone, both of which don’t make for a dramatic photo (even though they’re photorealistic, they look ‘washed-out’ I guess). I like to bump up contrast and saturation a little bit. Some pros like to do HDR and/or major edits like putting in mountains, erasing objects like trash bins, and even adding a bit of background blur.

        EDIT: It appears that u/Spartan2470 may have found [the original](https://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/6nm9lp/desert_colors/dkaudsa/) posted by the photographer.

          1. He was wearing nothing but an American Flag around his nether regions. When he slid the glistening elixir labeled “2018” into my hands there was no questioning that kind of ethos… I understood in that moment what I must do.

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