Unexpected Beauty: Transient Patterns in Nature

There are things in nature that don’t last more than a few hours but for the hours they last, they create the most mesmerizing patterns of textures and light. Here are some that we seldom get to see because they reveal themselves in places we rarely visit and least expect to find beauty such as deserts, canyon narrows and soggy forest floors. All photos by Jennifer Renwick.

A formation of swirls and patterns in a puddle of water containing grains of pollen in a rain-soaked forest.

A unique combination of standing water, flow patterns and reflected light created a scene that resembles flames rising out of the desert floor in California. The blue lines are the sky reflecting, and the warm glow is the result of wet mud reflecting the light. ⁠

Beautiful foggy conditions right after the sun rose. Yellowstone National Park.

Blue and silver tones accent the lines and curves on sand dunes in the Mojave desert of California. Sand dunes are reflective, so they take on whatever colors and tones the sky offers on any given evening. This photograph was taken long after the sun went down during civil twilight.

Freshly deposited mud, Mojave Desert, California. The braided patterns of freshly deposited mud combined with the blues and gold of sunset give these ephemeral textures a magical quality.

Winter sand dunes in the Mojave Desert before sunrise revealing fresh textures and the color contrast of warm early light.

Sand dunes in the Mojave Desert twenty minutes before the sun rose. Taken in February, this image captures the amazing effect of haze in the atmosphere mixed with twilight light. No photoshop magic here, those colors do exist for those willing to take the time to be early and patient in the landscape. ⁠

Light and shadows dancing across sand dunes in a winter morning, creating a dappled and moody effect in the Mojave dune field.

The rainbow colors of waters swirling in the Virgin River in the Zion Narrow. Narrows is the narrowest section of Zion Canyon in Zion National Park, Utah.

Water reflects the sky and canyon light in a small river flowing through a canyon, Utah. The color combination of warms and cools here is particularly pleasing.

An ephemeral of canyon light projecting shadows of trees on red sandstone. Utah.

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