photography from the ground up

Time, Wind, and Water

If you’ve never been to the desert southwest, you may not be aware of the importance of water to the landscape. Not only is it the source of life for the many hardy species that call this arid environment home, but is also one of the main forces by which the landscape came to be what it is.

These first three images were made in Blue Canyon on the Hopi reservation in northeastern Arizona. Over eons, a small stream and countless windstorms have sculpted the soft sandstone leaving a wonderland of deep chasms and etching the stone with amazing textures.

Just in case you have the idea that this small stream doesn’t have its moments of glory, here is an image of a car that was carried away while the rivulet was in flood. It is now wedged firmly between the walls of the water cave.

This is the place where the stream plunges into the chasm it has carved out over the course over millions of years. I had posted this image in a previous blog about my trip to Blue Canyon, but that was a color image. I made this black and white conversion using Silver Efex Pro and put some emphasis on the structure and texture to show the wrinkles time has etched into the face of this desert landscape

And just so you know that we have our fair share of “Erosion Art” in New Mexico, here is an image I made recently in the Mesa de Cuba badlands in the northwest corner of the “Land of Enchantment”.

These places can mean different things to different people: Some may look at such a place with a mix of wonder (wonder that anyone could find beauty there) and fear-fear of the unknown, fear of what may be lurking around that next bend, and fear that somehow they may, as I did, develop a deep sense of love and respect for such a harsh, unforgiving environment. One thing is certain if you take the time to look around you and think about how things work in a desert ecosystem, you will come away looking at life a little differently from the way you did before your visit.

Happy wandering! Oh, bring a GPS and plenty of H2O.

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29 responses

  1. What a beautiful place! I think the black and white really brings out the emotion and depth in this photo. Keep up the great work, Jim!

    Like

    April 23, 2012 at 2:20 pm

  2. Fabulous shots of a fascinating landscape. I reaaly like these.

    Like

    April 23, 2012 at 2:36 pm

  3. Beautiful and haunting images of such a unique place.

    Like

    April 23, 2012 at 3:10 pm

    • Thanks Melody. It truly is a unique place

      Like

      April 23, 2012 at 4:53 pm

      • We’ve been as close as Mesa Verde park, but haven’t seen the true desert yet – so much to see, so little time!

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        April 23, 2012 at 5:20 pm

      • Mesa Verde is truly amazing.

        Like

        April 23, 2012 at 8:10 pm

      • We made whirlwind trip down through Colorado last summer – need to get back there again. Where were you taking your desert photographs?

        Like

        April 23, 2012 at 8:18 pm

      • I take them in various places. I lead photo tours in several desert locations in New Mexico. Most of these were made on the Hopi reservation in NE Arizona.

        Like

        April 23, 2012 at 8:29 pm

      • Is that where the Hopi lead you on tours of their reservation themselves, and share their history? Someone was telling us about that in a campground one night, and said it was an incredible experience.

        Like

        April 23, 2012 at 8:40 pm

      • No, that’s different. I went there by invitation of the Director of Cultural Preservation for the tribe to make images for a book they want to put together about their sacred lands. The area is closed to visitors for resource protection.

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        April 23, 2012 at 9:22 pm

      • Excellent! When is the book scheduled to come out?

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        April 24, 2012 at 7:54 am

      • Not sure. It’s in their hands now.

        Like

        April 24, 2012 at 8:03 am

  4. Acep Abdullah

    Amazing picture

    Like

    April 24, 2012 at 12:28 am

  5. Must be a great place. Your fotos look amazing. With great details and structure even in this smal size. And B/W was the right choice to cover the atmosphere.

    Like

    April 24, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    • Thanks. Yes it is a great place. I hope to get back there soon for another round.

      Like

      April 24, 2012 at 1:41 pm

  6. excellent 🙂

    Like

    April 26, 2012 at 9:53 am

  7. This is a
    wonderful piece, keep up the good work and I’ll keep supporting it. May the best happens to all!

    Like

    April 30, 2012 at 6:14 am

  8. lisaelskerarvid

    Kjempe flotte bilder;)

    Like

    May 10, 2012 at 7:49 am

    • Thank you. I had to find the English translation. 🙂

      Like

      May 10, 2012 at 9:11 am

      • lisaelskerarvid

        Hei;) er ikke så god til å skrive engelsk;(

        Like

        May 10, 2012 at 9:58 am

      • That’s OK. I found an online translator.

        Like

        May 10, 2012 at 10:02 am

      • lisaelskerarvid

        Skulle gjerne vært her;) så vakkert;)

        Like

        May 10, 2012 at 10:01 am

      • It is a pretty nice place.

        Like

        May 10, 2012 at 10:03 am

      • lisaelskerarvid

        Ja helt utrolig;) tar pusten fra en;)

        Like

        May 10, 2012 at 10:04 am

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