I saw this in the Guardian’s photography series My Best Shot, it’s currently in a show at the Architectural Association in London (click on it to see it at a reasonable size):

It’s by a German artist called Uta Kögelsberger.  It’s from a series called “Getting Lost”, it’s a flare lighting up the desert at night.  That’s the only illumination, which is why the landscape gets darker towards the right hand side of the picture and there’s the pinkish light on the ground below the flare.  Can you see the tiny figure to the right of the centre?  That’s the artist.  The Guardian piece has this explanation:

I took this picture on the Bonneville salt flats on the Utah-Nevada border in 2006. It’s part of a series where I tried to get lost in remote places; I was investigating why we are so fascinated with the idea of “untouched” wilderness. Part of the reason I went to Bonneville was because I heard about the Donner party of pioneers, who got lost there on the way to California in the 1840s. They ended up eating each other.

I’ve always used unusual lighting in my images, and the idea of a distress flare came from another project about getting lost at sea. I arrived in daytime and spent a long time scouting the right location. Then I framed up the shot while it was light, and waited for night to fall, so even though I couldn’t see anything through the camera, I knew what I was getting. I worked out a spot which was about 400 yards in front of the camera, opened up the shutter, and ran to the spot to set off the flare. I left the shutter open for about 15 or 20 minutes, and the aperture was pretty small: f22 or f33. The flare is what’s lighting the landscape. Everything you see is created in camera. There’s no digital manipulation; I’m a purist in that way. If you look very closely you can see a small black smudge on the right hand side: that’s me. It’s deliberate; I had to stand still for about 10 minutes to get something to register.

The whole place was very dry. I could easily have sparked off a fire, so I had to make sure to catch the flares when they hit the ground. Considering that they go up over 1,000ft and get carried by the wind it was pretty tricky. Out of four tries, only two flares actually launched, and out of those only this image worked out.

Though it seemed like a simple idea, I soon realised it was going to be very difficult to set up. Flares are easy to get hold of in Britain, but it’s much harder in the US – they’re classified as a weapon. Once I had managed to buy some, I wasn’t legally allowed to shoot them off. I had to negotiate with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, which meant alerting the local sheriff, who in turn had to alert the local search-and-rescue team so they wouldn’t think someone really was lost . . . so the whole idea of actually getting lost didn’t happen. Everybody knew where I was!

I once stayed for a week at that lake near Truckee in the Sierra Nevada that is the last resting place of the Donner party.  I always thought “party” was the wrong word.

Update, 8 October: Thanks to Bruessel’s comment below, we can now see Uta Kögelberger’s website.  She’s really good, I recommend you take a look at her work.  There’s an interesting series she’s done called Paradise which she discusses with an interviewer.