Alvord Desert in Oregon

November 27, 2019

Sunrise on the Alvord Desert

November 2019 Viewer's ChoicePhotographer: John Kupersmith
Summary Author: John Kupersmith 

Shown above is striking sunrise over the Alvord Desert, a playa (dry lake bed) located just east of Steens Mountain in southeastern Oregon. The Alvord Basin, roughly 8 x 70 miles (13 x 113 km), is a graben that formed when a mountain block surrounded by faults dropped in relation to the surrounding mountains. Because the playa is on the lee side of Steens Mountain (in a rain shadow), it’s typically quite dry here. The surface often exhibits the cracked appearance demonstrated in this extreme close-up view; however, it’s generally smooth enough to be used for activities such as land sailing and launching sailplanes. Photo taken on October 8, 2019.

Photo Details: Camera: iPhone 11 Pro; focal length: 14 mm equivalent; exposure: 1/105 second; f/2.4.