As if the moonscape of Lake Powell weren't bizarre enough, here's some local flora doing its part.
At the geographic center of the lower 48, an odd thing happens. There are no trees in this tallgrass prairie : the winds will not suffer them. But the rims of abandoned silos make good roosts, and after a bird does its thing a hackberry like this might just find its way up...
In a way the strangest part about The Narrows is that because of the unbelievable scale of the river gorge, you almost can't take it in : these micro moments of magic are everywhere, though.
If you are going to get lost in the natural world somewhere, I would highly recommend bringing my cousin.
My aunt found this pond in the summer of 2009, when my cousins and I worked like dogs for a few weeks to whip the homestead into shape. Black flies, hordes of mosquitoes, deer flies, ticks and leeches absolutely loved the 95 degree heat in strangling humidity. At the end of the day, we'd do a "speed run" : two guys standing in the bed of the truck while the third jammed the thing uphill as fast as possible. You'd dive into this pond and for a moment didn't care if you were coming back up.
Photographs are an odd thing :
What's in an instant? What is one?
The places we see, moments flitting by in an ever-thrumming flip-book, once in awhile get a chance to stick around.
The power to capture these moments -- to hold on to them for a lifetime, and leave them behind for the future -- is a gift.
That sawtooth is the Whitney and friends ridge--the highest in the lower 48. I had ended the John Muir trail there the year before, and thought I was up to a 40 mile, 2 day cross country smash-and-grab to the Kern hot springs. I was not.
Nothing makes you ponder a creator quite like a piping hot pool of water in the middle of nowhere. Snowshoeing in to be there completely alone in an eerily still high desert gives you some time to wonder.
My uncle had found this thing out in the woods on a property being donated to his land trust. Walking through a second or third growth forest into the clearing of a wolf tree like this is bizarre : the presence these trees possess is mesmerizing. I hung the Nikon F3 (that's right--35mm) on a sapling to get this shot, and we somehow both mimicked the postures of the forks perfectly.
On the John Muir Trail, you'd be totally gassed from hiking, basically ready to just be done. Then you'd come around a bend in the trail and see something like this and you'd laugh out loud, all alone. If your knees work, think about it.
This film was expired, which fouled the contrast on this roll. But it was sharp and I liked the imbalance.
Seeing this thing in the "context" of the endless expanse of BLM land on which it was rusting into oblivion made it an irresistible subject.
San Luis Valley
Even roads like this somehow do a decent job weeding out the faint of heart. A cave with a quarter-million Brazilian free tailed bats does the rest. But the hotsprings are killer.
These trees are 5,000 years old, and hard to find. Being in their presence, in an odd, inexplicably nurturing valley to these beings, is a humbling, haunting experience.
A distant fire on a clear and calm winter day. I tracked it down and ended up watching a rancher and his sons burn their whole years' cache of cottonwood litter--with no reservation about wildfires. The patriarch put his beer down to greet me, and promptly forgot about it. The fire grew while we became acquainted, and we heard his beer bottle explode from the heat of the bonfire. By the time I left, you couldn't stand within twenty-five feet of the thing.
There was a windstorm a day after this shot was taken, and on the drive out all the leaves had been blown away. I remember thinking that I had to pay better attention to the road. Scenery can be hazardous.
This is off the first roll of film I ever shot. I still remember waiting to get the prints--it seemed like it took forever. When we did, there were 35 disasters and this one. My Dad said, "One of the hardest things in photography is knowing when not to shoot." I tried to act accordingly. Then I got a digital SLR. Sorry, Pops.
I had been living on the beach in Southern France and surfing nine hours a day for three weeks when some guy in a Speedo got this shot, paddled over and handed me a fiberglass business card he was hiding somewhere. I'd be cooking my dinner on a little campfire in the dunes and people would cross the beach -- 100 yards of it-- just to come up and say "Bon Apetite". And a rocking bottle of Bordeaux was $5. The french have some things figured out.
Designer // Builder // Artist // Activistst