Thursday, December 14, 2017

Hokokam Star Party

Remnants of an ancient American Indian tribe, these petroglyphs sit atop a hill in the Saguaro National Park outside of Tucson. The Hohokam tribe existed there between 200 and 1400 AD.

My girlfriend and I spent an evening there watching a meteor shower and making some long exposures over the Thanksgiving holiday.

It remains unknown what the etchings mean, but I imagine it to be a representation of the earth spinning within the stars.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Petrified Forest

I have to thank Arizona Highways for their issue on the Petrified Forest National park. Having lived in Arizona, and only an hour and a half away, I have not until now visited the National Park. I have driven by it a number of times, but this last spring break I made the decision to stop for the evening and following morning to see what it is all about. We arrived just before closing, and sunset which is typically the best time to do landscape photography. They close at sunset and as there is no camping within the park we couldn't dally. From the main entrance and visitor's center you don't get a glimpse of any petrified wood right away. Instead you follow the road along a rim with pull-outs and wide views of the Painted Desert.

Painted Desert Sunset

Petrified Forest is one of the few parks where you can take your pets off the road and onto their trails. We did just that as we circled one of the Ancient Puebloan ruin sites. Not much to see there except some remnants of a few foundations. Anxious to keep moving before the sun is completely down we made our way to a relic of Old Route 66, a 1932 Studebaker. The exhibit was installed in 2006, which includes the donated antique vehicle positioned along the old Route 66 road bed. From the pull-out you can see remnants of some telephone poles and make out where the road once carried cars from Chicago to LA.

1932 Studebaker

Not much to see after dark, so we headed out of the park, and slept in a free campground adjacent to one of the rock shops. Free also means no facilities. If you go be prepared to "hold it" until the park opens the next morning at 7. The visitor's center is always a treat, and full of interesting fossils, petrified wood samples and information on the creation of the petrified wood from the Pliocene era. Basically the forest pre-dates the ancient dinosaurs at about 200 million years old.

Petrified Trees Fractured

The area was once a large rain forest on the ancient land mass Pangaea, at that time located approximately along the equator. Volcanic ash layered on top of the fallen trees, then covered by an ancient river system and its sediment preserved the wood by turning it into a quartz like substance. Erosion eventually uncovered the trees. Shifting sand and earth cracked the trees much like a broken piece of chalk would if dropped. This enables you to see a cross-section of the crystalline wood.

Petrified Wood Cross Section

The variety of colors are produced by impurities in the quartz, such as iron, carbon, and manganese. Large cracks in the wood developed and encased large jewel-like crystals of clear quartz, purple amethyst, yellow citrine, and smoky quartz. If you have any interest in history, geology, or dinosaurs, then this park is a jewel in and of itself. As far as I know it is one of the most unique and geologically interesting parks on earth. If you ever find yourself around Holbrook, Arizona take the time to discover Petrified Forest National Park.

Ancient Araucaroid Petrified Tree

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Farewell 2016. Parting is such sweet sorrow.

Twenty-sixteen was a bittersweet year for me. I experienced the absolute worst day of my life, seeing my father pass away from lung cancer. The image of his last breath is forever burned into my consciousness, and will be something I will have to carry with me the rest of my days. Another disappointment is shared with the entire country. The events that transpired on November 8th will no doubt change forever the environment and landscape as we know it. These recent events really make one look deep and focus on what really matters. Like it or not the job of a landscape photographer is to document the beautiful world we live in, and to serve as a reminder that nothing is forever. The landscape image is one that can increase awareness of the necessity to preserve and conserve. I set out on my journey in photography to not only remember the good times and adventures, but to document for posterity the disappearing and fragile universe. The melting glaciers, the collapsed arches, the vandalized ancient ruins, and fallen stars. Twenty-sixteen has further strengthened my resolve.

My year wasn't all bad though. I experienced some of my favorite epic trips from Maine to the Grand Canyon. Times spent with friends and family will be remembered and cherished. Here are some of my favorite images from the last year, and sharing them is my pleasure.

Solon Falls on the Kennebec River, Maine

Bass Harbor Head Light House, Acadia NP

Lone Pine at White Pocket

White Pocket Wildflowers

Take out Beach, Colorado River UT

Castle Valley, Colorado River UT

Heart Prairie Aspen Sunburst

Ribbon Falls, Grand Canyon

View from Horn Creek, Grand Canyon
Toward Monument Creek, Grand Canyon

Snow on Yaki Point

Toward the Within

Of course there are many more images worthy of sharing, so check out my New Additions gallery on my website. Thanks for looking, and commenting. Here's to looking forward....cheers.