A few times each summer, the monsoon tracking north from Mexico into Arizona kicks up a giant dust storm, also known as a haboob, like this one bearing down on Phoenix. "They wreak havoc on the city," says Pielage, a Phoenix native. When he saw the storm on the horizon in July, he raced to the top of Tempe Butte, a 1,500-foot mountain overlooking the city, to capture the encroaching cloud. Two minutes later it overtook him. "It clogged my eyes, ears, and mouth," he says. "I spent the next day coughing dust." THE TOOLS: Canon 5D Mark II, 24-105mm f/4 lens, ISO 50, f/8, 1/100 second.
"Apparently, arch highlines are hard to find," says Wright, who declined to reveal the precise location of this span between the legs of a 150-foot-tall natural arch outside Moab, Utah. "The last time I told the press where I shot a slackliner, he got so ticked," says Wright. Despite the indiscretion, Emily Sukiennik, of Concord, New Hampshire, invited the Australia-based photographer to join her on a sunset slacklining trip, during which Sukiennik traversed this 50-foot rope more than 20 times without falling. In the months ahead, Sukiennik plans to walk a 275-foot-long highline—a world record attempt. "And no, I can't tell you where that will be, either," says Wright. THE TOOLS: Canon 1D Mark IV, 24mm f/1.4 lens, ISO 400, f/1.4, 1/640 second.
It was the seventh and final day of an all-girls ski-mountaineering course in British Columbia's Selkirk Mountains when Polar captured Claire Smallwood, of Santa Fe, ripping down a 2,000-foot powder field. "The terrain back there is truly endless," says Polar, who lives in San Francisco. Unfortunately, the students didn't get to ski much of it. Field classes kept them from the best slopes until the final morning, when school was out and the skies were clear. They awoke at 6 a.m. and immediately began skinning up the surrounding 10,000-foot peaks. THE TOOLS: Canon 5D Mark II, 70-200mm f/4 lens, ISO 320, f/11, 1/2,500 second.
Next Up: Traveling Down the Ganges, From Source to Sea