Sunset, Great Sand Dunes
Sunset, Great Sand Dunes
Sunset, Great Sand Dunes
Sunset, Great Sand Dunes

Christopher Burkett

Sunset, Great Sand Dunes

Colorado, 1980

Original Cibachrome Photograph

Pristine condition

certified authentic
Add to Collection $2,000.00
Sunset, Great Sand Dunes
Sunset, Great Sand Dunes
Sunset, Great Sand Dunes
Sunset, Great Sand Dunes



Original Cibachrome photograph by Christopher Burkett, “Sunset, Great Sand Dunes, Colorado.” Individually handmade by Christopher Burkett from 6×6-format transparency film. Mounted on cotton rag Antique Rising Museum Board. Signed in pencil on mount with title, date and edition number on mount verso.

The 33×40 inch Museum Edition is limited to 15. Due to the size and delicate nature of the artworks, they must be shipped directly to a professional framer of your choice. For clients in the Bay Area, we also offer framing and installation services. Please for additional information.



“I exclusively used black and white materials for my first four years of photography. Eventually, I became interested in exploring the possibilities of color. At that time, it was possible to do high quality work only by using color transparencies. I had saved up my money for a long time and I was finally able to purchase a used Hasselblad camera with the normal 80mm lens.

Rather surprisingly, this image is one of my first color photographs, taken on the second or third roll (12 exposure) of film. I was living and working in Cheyenne and had a three day weekend for Memorial Day. My wife Ruth and I drove hundreds of miles south to Great Sand Dunes National Monument in Colorado and camped out for two nights.

After studying the light on the dunes for the first day, towards the end of the second day I hiked with the camera out over the dunes in the hot sun. Being rather inexperienced, I chose to hike over the hot sand in my bare feet—a choice I soon regretted. The light was magnificent but the wind was blowing a steady 20-30 m.p.h., kicking up sand everywhere.

I was walking carefully, studying each view before proceeding, lest I spoil a photograph by walking into it. As I neared the summit of the highest dune in the Monument, (over 750 feet tall), the elements of this scene fairly leapt out at me. I set my bag down in the sand and carefully got the camera out, shielding it from the blowing sand. I had to compose the scene by pre-focusing the camera to the approximate distance, whirling around to face the sun and wind, whipping the lens cap off for a brief moment, catching a quick peek, then spinning around, placing the lens cap back on and trying to absorb what I briefly saw in the viewfinder.

I needed to move fast, as the sun was swiftly setting and the backlit highlights on the dunes were changing with every passing second. I carefully measured the light in the scene with my 1° spot meter, set the aperture and shutter speed and then, pausing with my back to the wind, I waited for a momentary lull between gusts. Facing the sun, I removed the lens cap, held quite still, and exposed the film – one exposure only, then I turned from the wind and waited (with the lens cap back on) for another small reduction in the constant wind for one more exposure.

This is the only handheld photograph I have ever exhibited – it’s an image which still amazes me. Don’t ask me how I managed to do it! It was truly a gift to me and it was quite influential in my decision to begin to work exclusively in color.

I see in it serenity, power, and the unexpected, unified beauty which fills the earth.”


All Christopher Burkett photographs sold at Photography West are new and in pristine condition. HD videos of the individual piece you are purchasing are available upon request. For more information, please


Christopher Burkett has labored for over four decades to create what many regard as the most impeccable and luminous color photographs in the history of photography. Gifted with a contemplative spirit as well as painter’s eye, Burkett has an uncommon ability to capture the natural world in a manner that simultaneously reflects “the world behind the world” as Minor White and Paul Caponigro might have put it. And although Burkett has been compared by curators to American color landscape photographers Eliot Porter and Ernst Haas, whose genre of American landscape photography he extended, neither of them exclusively developed their own film, nor attempted the darkroom standard clearly in evidence upon viewing Burkett’s original Cibachromes.



Cibachrome, also known as Ilfochrome, is among the most stable of all color photographic processes. The dyes reside within the emulsion layers, giving the photograph its characteristic color saturation. The base is a polyester triacetate, rather than fiber-based paper, which adds to the longevity. It was a positive-to-positive photographic process based on the Gasparcolor process, created in 1933 by Bela Gaspar, a Hungarian chemist. Purchased after the merger of Ilford UK and Ciba-Geigy Photochemie of Switzerland, the process was first trademarked and marketed as Cibachrome in 1963. Each Cibachrome is composed of ten layers containing various combinations of light-sensitive silver halides and dyes that are sensitive to blue, green, or red light waves, which gives it an incredible depth and three-dimensional quality. After exposure of a positive, either through an enlarger or direct contact, the Cibachrome must be developed with black-and-white developing chemicals. This step creates a silver negative image within the layers. Next, the photograph must be bleached. The bleaching rids the photograph of dyes in proportion to the amount of silver that has been developed in the previous step and produces a positive dye image in color. In 2011, Cibachrome/Ilfochrome products were discontinued and it is now considered a historical process.