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Posts tagged “Painted Desert

Collapse Of The Onyx Bridge

Collapse Of The Onyx Bridge

On our last day in the Painted Desert, we hiked down into the Black Forest Wilderness. I had heard about, and seen photos of the Onyx Bridge: a large petrified log that spans a wash far out in the wilderness. I had also heard that the bridge had collapsed, but the staff at the Painted Desert Inn Museum assured us that it was still intact. So, GPS in hand, we set off.

The hike, which according to the staff was only about a mile, turned out to be closer to three miles one way. We walked down the trail into the beginning of the wilderness where the trail turned into a path, and then the path became a track, and finally disappeared altogether at the edge of the Lithodendron Wash. We bushwacked across several s–curves in the huge wash and then began to search for the smaller side wash in which the Onyx Bridge was reputed to be still intact. By now my faith in the staff’s knowledge had begun to erode.

After a couple of false starts, we finally found the right course, and after scampering up through yet another side wash around huge petrified logs, we came to the bridge…collapsed as rumored. It was still a memorable experience. This large conifer, now millions of years old, it’s wood now replaced by a mineral matrix, had taken one more step towards its ultimate demise.

We spent about an hour exploring other parts of the Black Forest before beginning the long trek back to the museum and the parking lot. Once back, we went in to let them know we had returned safely, and to inform them that the bridge had indeed collapsed.

Our trip was at an end; we drove home, talking about the experiences we had enjoyed over the past several days. There is always a bit of melancholy for me after a long anticipated trip or event has come and gone, and this time was no different. I will return to the Petrified Forest, but it will never be quite the same as the first time.

Equipment: Nikon D700, Nikon 17-35 mm f2.8 zoom lens, circular polarizer, Bogen tripod.

Camera Settings: f 22, 1/15th sec., ISO 100


Blue Mesa Symphony

I made this image as we were leaving Blue Mesa. I’m not really a fan of overlooks; people have a tendency to think that once they’ve seen something from an overlook, they have experienced all there is of that particular place. In this case, however, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the view.

We had already hiked down to the base of the mesa, and had seen it up close and personal, but the wider view afforded by the overlook was pretty amazing as well. The bands of color are caused by the different minerals present at various times during the area’s geologic history. I think this is one of my favorites from the entire trip.

This is another Exposure Fusion HDR made from four source images in Photomatix Pro.

Equipment: Nikon D700, Nikon 17-35 mm f2.8 zoom lens, circular polarizer, Bogen tripod.

Camera Settings: f 22, 1/10th, 1/20th, 1/40th, 1/80th sec., ISO 100.

The Painted Desert

We just got back from a three day trip to the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert in northeastern Arizona. What an incredible place!. We put a lot of miles on our hiking boots, and saw some amazing and other–worldly landscapes, This was my first time there, but it will definitely not be my last.

This image was made from Kachina Point which is an overlook at the Painted Desert Inn. Before the trip was over, we hiked down into the Painted Desert/Black Forest Wilderness which is visible in the background of this photo.

Equipment: Nikon D700, Nikon 17–35 mm f 2.8 zoom lens, circular polarizer, Bogen tripod