March 26, 2011 ·

Miles Hecker

Cottonwood Cove

 South Teepee Sunrise
© Miles Hecker



The Coyote Buttes area is typical of the high southwestern desert. Summer temperatures often exceed 100° F, making strenuous exercise difficult. Late summer monsoon season brings violent storm cells which often cause flash floods. Winters are cold, with highs averaging 30° to 50° F, and lows averaging 0° to 20° F.

With regards to light, it is excellent in winter, good in spring or fall, and poor in summer. In the summer the sun is high and brutal and so are the temperatures. I would suggest avoiding the popular June, July and August tourist season. The October through May period will give you far more pleasant temperatures, a better chance of a scenic cloud cover and a more enjoyable photographic experience.



The golden hours and predawn period will yield the best light in the often cloudless desert. In the summer the golden hour is more like the golden minute. The sun rises quite quickly and the light becomes harsh within minutes of first light. Cloudy days in spring, fall and winter will yield mote productive shooting time, but the light will be very blue in nature. If you are lucky enough to be present during a rare snowfall, the contrast between snow and red rock is striking .

If you use a headlamp, you can make the 30 minute hike to the South Teepees before dawn and catch sunrise at this location. You could hike to them in late afternoon and shoot sunset there. In mid summer the afternoon hike could fry your brain as the temperatures may be well over 100°F!

The photo above was taken at 35mm focal length on a full frame camera.


LENS: 24-70mm for 35mm sensor cameras, 17-55mm for crop sensor cameras

FILTERS: A large hand held diffuser will help with macro work on sunny days.


Slide films: Fuji Velvia 100F


About Miles Hecker

Miles has been involved with photography for over forty years. He teaches digital photography at Casper College in Casper,Wyoming. His photos have won awards fromNatures Best magazine,, The Luminous LandscapeandWyoming WIldlife . Miles’ photos have been published in American Vignette, Backpacker Magazine, Natures Best Images, Popular Photography, Wyoming Audubon, and Wyoming Wildlife. He is co-founder ofWyoFOTO LLC.

                                                                                                                                                            March, 2011

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