Back to black and white. I photographed this image in the middle of my last afternoon at Capitol Reef. Who says you can’t create a good image in the middle of the day. It was a beautiful afternoon. The overhead sun lit up the Henry Mountains as well as provided nice shadows in the valley below. I had the point all by myself. It was a wonderful and peaceful feeling. Looking down at the cliff walls and valley below, I was experiencing over 100 million years of history. Human existence is pretty insignificant in the scheme of the natural wonders of our planet. Let us all protect it for future generations.
I recently completed a workshop with John Barclay and Mitch Dobrowner at Capitol Reef National Park, Utah. This view is from a plateau cliff overlooking a valley 400-500 feet below. My knees were shaky as I got near the edge. My tripod saved me. First, it was a nice brace to have between me and the edge. And second, there was no way I could have hand-held a shot with my wobbly knees.
My focus for this workshop was to work on my black and white skills with Mitch Dobrowner. However, when I saw this variety of color, I could not pass the opportunity to share this experience in color.
The view from Skyline Point was breathtaking. It is a 270 degree panorama of a colorful unearthly landscape. The point is a sheer cliff falling down to the valley down below.. Approaching the point, one has no idea that the plateau stops abruptly to this scene.
This image is a repeat of a prior post in 2018. I was driving through the Alabama Hills, turned a corner and saw this strange looking alien staring right at me. Chills ran down my back! I quickly pulled off the road, let the dust settle, and introduced myself. He didn’t say much and just frowned.
Simple lines of abstract art are intriguing. They can be found everywhere. Some are works created in art mediums (paintings, sculptures, etc.). Others are created by architectural forms. Still others are found in nature.
Abstract 1 is an oil painting created by Barnet Newman titled “Achilles”. I stood and looked at this piece for quite a long time. Rather than try to figure out “what it is meant to be”, I tried to focus on what feeling it brought out in me. The red made me feel a little anxious. I did not resonate with this piece.
Abstract 2 is a photograph of the exterior of the East Wing of the National Gallery of Art. I was walking along, looked up and saw these contrasting shapes of shadows and light. It just grabbed me.
Abstract 3 is a photograph of the sheer basalt cliffs cut by the Palouse River during the Ice Age Floods. Nature’s artwork stops me in my tracks. Sometimes I just do not want to leave. It instills me to think about how our would was formed and just enjoy the beauty of nature surrounding me.
Art is everywhere!
The following is one of the lessons that I have learned from who knows where: When you see something interesting in the background, find something else interesting in the foreground to add to it. The red hills in eastern Oregon caught my eye. I am intrigued by sagebrush. One plus one equals three. I can still smell the wonderful aroma of sage as I look at this image.
Above, a lone sagebrush and sun appear.
The sagebrush peers over the edge watching me.
The sun’s bright fire lights my way.
I have always been fascinated by the unusual geological formations in the eastern Washington/Oregon landscape. A few weeks ago, several college friends and I went exploring around Christmas Valley, Oregon. Our first stop was “Crack in the Ground” (see excerpt from Wikipedia below}. Most of the group scurried along the bottom of the fissure. I, along with a special friend, stopped, gazed around in wonderment, and photographed whatever jumped out at me. By the time the group had walked to the end, walked back to the start, and then walked back to fine us, we had only covered about one half of the distance. My mind and eyes wondered at every turn. I am a wondering explorer, not a hiker.
Crack in the Ground is a volcanic fissure about 2 miles (3.2 km) long with depths measuring nearly 30 feet (9 m) below ground level in Central Oregon, United States. The eruptions from the Four Craters Lava Field were accompanied by a slight sinking of the older rock surface, forming a shallow, graben-like structure about 2 miles (3.2 km) wide and extending to the south into an old lake basin. Crack in the Ground marks the western edge of this small, volcano-tectonic depression. The crack is the result of a tension fracture along a hingeline produced by the draping of Green Mountain lava flows over the edge of upthrown side of the concealed fault zone. The fissure is located at the southwest corner of Four Craters Lava Field in the Deschutes National Forest.
Crack in the Ground is estimated to have been created around 1,000 years ago.
A few weeks ago, a few of my college friends and I drove out to a remote area in Central Oregon to photograph the Milky Way. We had scouted the area on the previous day and thought it would be interesting to photograph the Milky Way rising out of Ft. Rock Crater. The bright object in the lower left is Mars. The bright object in the lower right is Jupiter. We were blessed with this interesting symmetry.
Mary Dahlin wrote this following poem about her experience observing the beautiful sight
The Milky Way over Ft. Rock, Oregon
Our galaxy plots a path from a crater in central Oregon.
Fort Rock, a grand and lonely crater,
looms coolly over flat ground, showing remnants
of what spewed forth a hundred thousand years ago,
short in geologic time but long in human time.
The Milky Way seems to jump out from the center of the crater,
billions of years the product of our Creator, and we look at it
with Mars on the left and Jupiter on the right. Much of this is a mystery.
We know it is a galaxy, but it is too great to fully understand.
The colors are green, blue, and bright yellowish white,
all colors of life, like the ocean, the plants, and the sun.
What is time, and how all-important are we, really?
These are questions too difficult to answer, but for a moment
we can accept the complexity of the universe and our own
and be filled with wonder.
Nature is magical! It renews itself. Out of a devastated landscape, life emerges. I wish I had taken photographs when Karen and I visited the devastated mountain twenty plus yeas ago. Everything was grey and brown, mud and ash. It reminded me of what I thought the moon’s landscape was like.
Now, life is emerging everywhere. The reds, oranges, yellows, and purples of the wildflowers scattered about breathe life into the landscape. The greens below are young trees that have sprouted from seeds that have been brought to the surface by the small ground animals that survived the blast underground and from returning birds dropping seeds from above. Life is a miracle! My spirits lifted as I looked down over the valley below. My imagination looked forward to picture a natural forest that will return in the centuries to come.