The Edge Effect

I am always on the lookout for cool new photography ideas. I recently came across the work of Daniel Kukla. Daniel is a photographer who has a background in biology and anthropology. His educational training heavily influences his artistic tastes, as can be seen in his clever project titled “The Edge Effect”. In this photography project, Daniel hiked out in the Mojave Desert with a large mirror and a painter’s easel. Setting that up to capture the connection between the sky, the Earth, and the different ecosystems coexisting, Daniel managed to capture breathtaking photographs that look like landscape paintings. The juxtaposition of the landscape photography with the authentic desert background gives viewers a new appreciation for the beauty of this barren land.

Daniel Kukla said in his description of this breathtaking project:

“In March of 2012, I was awarded an artist’s residency by the United States National Park Service in southern California’s Joshua Tree National Park. While staying in the Park, I spent much of my time visiting the borderlands of the park and the areas where the low Sonoran Desert meets the high Mojave Desert. While hiking and driving, I caught glimpses of the border space created by the meeting of distinct ecosystems in juxtaposition, referred to as the Edge Effect in the ecological sciences. To document this unique confluence of terrains, I hiked out a large mirror and painter’s easel into the wilderness and captured opposing elements within the environment. Using a single visual plane, this series of images unifies the play of temporal phenomena, contrasts of color and texture, and natural interactions of the environment itself.”

Here are the photographs from this project:

1. The reflection of the sunrise over a hill can be seen in the mirror and the easel is set up among stones and flanked by two spiky desert plants, still left in shadows.

sunrise reflection

2. This sunset picture captures the pink and blue sky over the top of a dark and shadowy ridge. The easel is placed beside large boulders and framed by feathery plants.

sky reflection

3. This beautiful shot of blue sky looks like something you could find in a museum of modern art. The tips of strangely shaped cactus barely manage to fit on the blue space, bright against the dusty brown-grey background.

blue sky

4. Another sunset picture, this one captures the orange sky and faintly tinted clouds over a dusty grey ridge. The twisted remnants of a tree frame the mirror and the dark background is brought forth with artificial lighting, making the entire setup seem surreal.


5. This sunset photo takes a whole different spin. The mirror reflects dark rocks as artificial light brightens up scrub brush and silhouettes cacti. The dark ridge is just visible with its pink tinted horizon and a jet trail splits the darkening blue sky.

sunset mirror

6. This picture within a picture concept plays with perspective. The mirror reflects stone and the easel is placed between and slightly behind stones so everything is a texturized beige color. Very cool.

7. I love the duality of this photo. Within the mirror the sky is blue and peaceful, but on the other side the sky is grey and stormy, casting the valley into shadow. It really looks like two separate worlds.


8. I love this wintery picture. The brown rocks and scrub are coated with a thin layer of pure white snow. In the mirror, the blue sky is lightly covered by wispy white clouds. It is like the sky and ground are both dusted with snow. I also love how the blue sky is the only rich color in the picture.

winter pic
9. This is another picture that capitalizes on the juxtaposition of the blue sky and the dull beige ground. The pure blue of a cloudless sky looks astonishingly bright against the sun bleached stones surrounding it. It almost looks like the photographer cut a piece of the sky out and framed it.

10. This photo of the stars is just amazing. Taken in the dead of night, the photographer used artificial lighting to reveal the soft grays, the dark greens, and the dusty yellows of the plants framing the mirror. The thing that really stands out to me though is the perfect way the mirror captured the starry sky while still reflecting the edges of the plants. Wow.


If you would like to see more of Daniel Kukla’s work you can visit his website at:

About the Author:

This guest post is contributed by Debra Johnson, blogger and editor of She welcomes your comments at her email Id:  jdebra84 @


This post is written by guest author, you can also write one here at by checking Write For Us page For more information.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply