photography from the ground up

Shiprock-The Big Plug

New Mexico is a geologic wonderland. Much of the earth is laid bare by erosion, both wind and water sculpt the land removing the softer material and leaving the harder stuff to stand as enormous monuments to a time long past. Shiprock in the northwestern corner of the state is what remains of a volcano that erupted about twenty-seven million years ago. It now stands at a height of nearly sixteen hundred feet above the flatlands which surround it. The monolith is sacred to the Navajo people and it plays a large part in some of their creation stories.

I made this first image as we approached Shiprock from the west. I saw this as a great addition to my byways project; it also puts Shiprock in perspective in relation to its surroundings. The plain stretches for miles in all directions and the great volcanic plug is virtually the only-and certainly the biggest-thing to break the horizon.

As we got a little closer, there was a herd of ponies grazing peacefully with Shiprock in the background. Close by stood a trailer with a small addition. I assume these horses belong to whomever lives there. What a great backyard!

This last image was made after we drove through the breech in the largest lava dike. It is one of six that run for miles in all directions away from the central column. These dikes were underground lava tubes at the time of the eruption, they now stand high above the ground, like Shiprock itself, exposed by time and the elements


14 responses

  1. Stunning photos!


    April 10, 2012 at 4:16 pm

  2. Nice Work, Great Clouds and Love the BWHDR


    April 11, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    • Thanks. It’s not HDR. I did some minimal processing in Silver Efex Pro.


      April 11, 2012 at 4:50 pm

  3. John P. Meyer

    Spectacular, Jim. Great skies! You were fortunate to have clouds.


    April 11, 2012 at 5:14 pm

    • Thanks. Yeah I was lucky with clouds. Not long after, they became a solid overcast. Everything went flat, so our timing was just right.


      April 12, 2012 at 6:31 am

  4. That last shot, with the unpaved road leading toward Shiprock, that it for me!


    April 11, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    • I don’t think I have a favorite, but this one one certainly ranks high.


      April 12, 2012 at 6:32 am

  5. just great – I love blackandwhite


    April 13, 2012 at 7:23 pm

  6. they are stunning with those high contrast clouds 🙂


    April 14, 2012 at 8:58 pm

  7. Amazing imagery!


    July 30, 2013 at 6:35 pm

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