But then he realized a way -- by airplane. He convinced Chris Condit, a pilot for the U.S. Geological Survey and a fellow geology student, to take him. They spent three days flying and shooting over desert peaks, plateaus, and deep canyons, and it was a revelation. "This was a new way to see what we'd been studying," he says. Viewing geology from the air "adds a dimension, a perspective that's priceless."