DESERTS - Karen Hutton Photography
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Rock Solid

Valley of Fire, Nevada

In western to southwestern parts of the U.S. we have what is known as Southwest monsoon. We call it "monsoon season". It's a period of increased rainfall that typically happens somewhere around June-July over large areas of the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico.

As a photographer, I love it! When it's in full bloom, the day might dawn clear, but then we get these ominous thunder clouds that build up during the late afternoon-early evening, which makes for amazing sunsets! I'd say that a good portion of my sunset images were created during this time.

It's a very specific - and relatively short time frame that this phenomenon happens, so I have to plan ahead for it.

In this case, I chose Valley of Fire just outside Las Vegas, Nevada. It's less crowded than many of the typical desert scenes in Utah and Arizona... and if you know where to look, just as dramatic.

This day, it had been raining, which turns the red earth a much more brilliantly colored version of itself. The thunder and lightning had just moved off to the east, leaving us bathed in color, clouds overhead and moist air - which is rare in the Nevada desert. It was magical all the way around!

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