The Beauty of Quiet Landscapes

I like landscape photography. I like looking at it. But more than that, I like photographing it. The reason is simple. In order to photograph a beautiful landscape, you have to go there. And being there is itself worthwhile, even if you decide not to take the picture. Landscapes vary a great deal. Some are gentle on the senses like farm scenes or rolling prairie. Others are overwhelming. Towering mountains or crashing waves come to mind. Some are noisy and some are quiet. Among my favorite landscapes are the quiet ones. 

Two of the quiet landscapes I count among my favorites are White Sands National Monument near Alamogordo, New Mexico and Rock County, Wisconsin. At White Sands among the dunes, it is so quiet that you can almost hear the beating of your heart. Being there is like being transported to another world where the cacophonous hubbub of daily life has gone completely silent; where you are left only with your thoughts and the sound of your own breathing.

This past winter I experienced the same thing here in Rock County, Wisconsin. Covered in snow the local rolling countryside presented the same simplicity of line as White Sands, New Mexico.  In the sub-zero temperatures there was frequently  nothing to be heard. Nothing disturbed the white outlines of the snow-covered terrain. All that remained was a reflective silence.

Here are two photos. The first is a scene at White Sands National Monument taken in June, 2002 . The second is from Rock County near Janesville, Wisconsin. It was taken in March, 2014.

White sand dunes against a dark sky near sunset

White Sands National Monument – June, 2002

Snow convered fields against a blue sky.

Rock County near Janesville, Wisconsin – March 2014

2 thoughts on “The Beauty of Quiet Landscapes

  1. Charles, Of course I especially liked this reflection on landscapes. I’ve passed through White Sands but never had the opportunity to walk it. I’ve just started a book that might or might not interest you by Belden C. Lane called “The Solace of Fierce Landscapes,” on the spiritual aspects of desert and mountain landscapes.

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    • Susan, thanks for the comment. If you ever have the opportunity to spend a couple hours walking through the dunes at White Sands, I recommend it. I have been there in both the summer and winter. I think the summer is better. The sand is dryer and the dunes have sharper lines. Winter is fine, however. The sand is always cool to the touch.

      I’ll put Lane’s book on my reading list. Thanks for the suggestion.

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