Where Rain is Rare by Kristin Piljay

About this series

The Salar de Atacama is the largest salt flat in Chile. It is located in the Atacama Desert, which is considered the driest non-polar desert in the world. The extreme dryness, salt flats and volcanic activity yields a very surreal appearance to the landscape which greatly appeals to me. I visited this area in December of 2013, which is a time where clouds may appear (and they are often spectacular looking). I was told by the locals that most of the year there are no clouds at all and this is the time of year when you might see them. The clouds did form and fog forms too, but it rarely ever rains. It’s one of the most fascinating places I’ve visited on this planet. These photos all show clouds, but many other days, there were no clouds - just the pure blue sky above.

This series shows the surreal nature and austere beauty of the landscape. The Licancabur volcano can be seen in the distance in three of the photos.

I really love to photograph and experience surreal volcanic landscapes, so this is what drew me to visit this area. I was not disappointed! If you do visit, bring lots of moisturizer! It is so, so dry!


Kristin Piljay


Kristin Piljay has been an internationally-published photographer for over two decades and has traveled to many places in search of knowledge, beauty, and adventure. She tends to like to wander off into the wilderness of the mountains and forest, capturing the magic in this world.

Starting out as a portrait photographer in the 1990s, she eventually became a travel photographer for Lonely Planet Images stock agency and some of her images have been published by Lonely Planet, Mountain Sobek Travel, Pearson Education, Microsoft, Condé Nast, Cengage Learning, Oprah Winfrey Network, Hearst Corporation, Aerial Dance Festival, Redbull and BBC Travel.