Sunday, September 12, 2010

Winter in the Southwest

I was in the Arizona and Nevada early in the year. I decided to blog now with these images because it will be a while before I have another chance. Monument Valley is one of the most photogenic sites in the USA. It is vast and interesting because of the topography and driving with snow is tricky, although it looks as there is not much of it.

The predominant red color of the Southwest is challenging to manage, it is either over or under saturated. The desert is mostly deprived of vegetation and other than short grasses, one may encounter a lonely dead tree. You wonder where all the water has gone considering that the mesas were created by water erosion.

While driving from Monument Valley to Page, I passed this windmill and continued but had a change of heart and returned. I had to capture the painting on then tank of a typical western scene, it just fitted perfectly in the landscape. The itinerant artist who created the scene left no marks as to whom he was, might was well, in the desert nothing last long.

I was at the Antelope Slots two years earlier in late summer. I just wanted to see how different the lighting was in the winter; quite honestly, there was not much of a change in brightness or coloration inside the slots
but there was nobody else there to disturb the sand creating a dusty air. Below is and image of the surface above the slots, I guess not many has seen it in photos since most of the photogenic interest is underground.

Next is an image which is most familiar, since hundreds of photographers come to the Slots yearly to capture the “Award Winning” photograph. Mostly what you see printed, is not what they really look like because of the difficult lighting conditions and the artistic freedom provided by Photoshop. Most of us processing images have a different recollection of what the “true” colors were. What the eyes see and the mind remembers is not what the camera records. Regardless, the hues and the textures captured are pleasant.

The southwest had a record snow fall that caused great damage and blocked major highways for days when I was there. Fortunately, I was able to enter the Grand Canyon from the northeast. Walking to the edge of the canyon with 24 inches of snow was tedious; the tripod became the third leg that allowed me to reach the edge. But there was nothing to fear, I ran into two park rangers on skies patrolling the rim ready for the rescue. Was the walk worth it? You decide. the result is below.