The winding beauty of Southwest deserts

A collection of photographs capture nature’s rhythms.

  • Mudhills and Grass, Cottonwood Canyon, Utah, I

    Stephen Strom
  • Trees and Desert Foliage, viewed from the rim of Canyon de Chelly, Arizona

    Stephen Strom
  • Cottonwoods and Desert Floor, viewed from the Mummy Cave Overlook, Canyon de Chelly, Arizona

    Stephen Strom
  • Mudhills, near Burnham, New Mexico

    Stephen Strom
  • Oak Savanna Landscape, Summer, Priest Valley, California

    Stephen Strom


Winding its way through the red dirt of a canyon floor, a muddy creek carves a path between leafless cottonwoods in Arizona. The image is one of 46 photographs by Stephen Strom collected in Earth Forms, a visual celebration of the deserts of the Southwest.

Strom has been a student of light and landscape for decades, both as a professional astronomer studying the origins of our sun and solar system and as a photographer. From the golden, rolling hillsides of California to a spare, shrub-dotted expanse in New Mexico’s Capulin Volcano National Monument, the desert landscapes gathered here capture the abstract, rhythmic patterns of nature. As Gregory McNamee writes in one of two accompanying texts, Strom’s photographs “speak to the wonder that we experience when we are able to attain a glimpse of something that we know but have never quite seen in the same way before.”

Earth Forms
By Stephen Strom.
96 pages, hardcover: $45.
Dewi Lewis Publishing, 2009.