Friday, 23 February 2018 10:59

Designing Bisti

The Desert Southwest is an amazing and wonderful place, and nowhere in the desert is this more evident than in the geological wonderland called Bisti/De-Na-Zin Wilderness, a small wilderness of 45,000 acres, cobbled together from two even smaller contiguous tracts, Bisti and De-Na-Zin. This badland is nature's design at the peak of its creativity, and it is essential to be mindful so that nothing is overlooked, nor passed by. It is such mindfulness that leads to the everyday beauty that fills the eroded forms of Bisti from the highest strata above you to the rain-washed dirt at your feet, a soil so darkened gray that you might be tempted to believe that here the earth itself once caught fire and burned to ash. What water as does arrive in Bisti, unless it merely evaporates, leaves through an interlocking series of washes, and when the water has gone, the remaining dirt shows the intricacy of Nature's written language, the intricate cuneiform of a desert streambed.

Hiking the edge of one of Bisti's washes, I spotted this design in the place where the water sometimes flows. A focal length of 110mm from about 3.5' above the soil gave me the angle-of-view I wanted and a bit of magnification. An aperture of f/22 gave me depth-of-field and sharpness edge-to-edge; and a shutter speed of 1/15th second at ISO 100 gave me an overall medium exposure.

The dimpled outlines of small droplets of evaporated rain gave an additional sense of texture to a surface that already seemed interesting in its delicately eroded appearance.

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More in this category: « In the Winter Palace


  • Comment Link Donald McGowan Friday, 02 March 2018 17:10 posted by Donald McGowan

    Hi Judy and Mike. Thank you both for joining me for this conversation and for taking the time to respond. One of the things I have noticed over the years of offering the "Image" is that, as a general matter, abstract images seem to attract the fewest number of responses, and I am more than a bit curious as to why this may be so. What is it, I wonder, that discourages folks from responding to images which have purposefully been created to remove the labels of the things and to seek to offer the essential being of whatever is being photographed. It is, indeed, a curiosity for me.
    Hey Mike. It seems to me that this may be the first time you have joined us, and I am grateful and pleased that you have done so, especially in view of the image itself. Your words speak directly for themselves; thank you. I am honored.
    And Judy, knowing you as I do, this seems like just the sort of image that might attract your attention. Your love for intimate landscapes that tend toward the abstract would make this composition something I could readily see you creating for yourself. I'm very glad you like this one, and were willing to look at all of the possible orientations which might be considered. I think that is one of the aspects of this form that is so attractive: the possibility that orientation is essentially free from the constraints of up-down-diagonal, or whatever.
    Thanks, again, to both of you for your thoughts and insights. I continue to believe that the abstract form offers all of us the greatest potential for self-discovery as we walk down this road of creative endeavor. Walk in Beauty.

  • Comment Link Judy Sunday, 25 February 2018 15:39 posted by Judy

    I love this image, Don. I must admit that I first looked at it on my cell phone. This gave me the opportunity to rotate the image 180 degrees, as well as 90 degrees in either direction. Each orientation provides a very different sense of energy flow. I think my preference would depend on my mood at the moment. All the orientations work for me. Thanks for sharing.

  • Comment Link Mike Sunday, 25 February 2018 11:26 posted by Mike

    Very cool looking

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