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Friday, 10 January 2020 17:13

The Hangout of Saint Rafael

 When the great, roughly ovular uplift that became the San Rafael Swell was formed, the lands to the south and east came ultimately to lie within the rain shadow of the imposing uplifts, and the lands it circumscribed became known as the San Rafael Desert. How apt it is that San Rafael, the beloved angelic being, is charged with healing both the Earth and humankind. This landscape is beautiful and barren, if you are not familiar with the life of the desert; but if you are reasonably attentive, you quickly recognize that the San Rafael is a sea of living things, including the rocks and the soils they become. The San Rafael is life itself: often hard, harsh, and prickly. This land belongs to all of us, and to become familiar with it is to open a doorway into how we manage the Commons for the benefit of the many rather than the few.

With the early morning sun at an angle left-to-right behind me, a focal length of 108mm, surprising in that it actually represents short-telephotoland rather than wide-angleland, gave me the somewhat-narrower-than-you-might-imagine-angle-of-view. An aperture of f/20, focused about a third of the distance between the closest foreground and camera infinity, which in this instance was about the tilted rock slab in from the bottom of the frame, gave me depth-of-field; and with a shutter speed of 1/15th of a second at ISO 100, created a medium exposure.

Perhaps the give-away that this is not wide-angle work is the relative size of the background uplifts which would "appear" smaller if seen through wide-angle focal lengths. The San Rafael Desert is a spectacular example of how easily great beauty can become lost in the Southwest's greater icons; Bryce, Zion, Capitol Reef, and the others. Please join me in advocating for the San Rafael Deserts of our world. They are too precious to lose.  

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