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Friday, 20 March 2020 17:27

Looking Down the Long Ditch of Time

There is a thin peninsula of a headland that juts into the great chasm of the Grand Canyon from the southern extremity of the North Rim's Kaibab Plateau. Though technically part of the Kaibab, it has been given the separate name of the Walhalla Plateau. One day, Bright Angel Canyon will erode its way into Nankoweap Canyon and Walhalla Plateau will become an isolated island in the sky above Unkar Delta. At the very tip of Walhalla Plateau, Cape Royal, one of the premier Grand Canyon sunset locations on the North Rim, overlooks the canyon of Vishnu Creek and the seemingly miniscule profile of Vishnu Temple at its southern end, while far, far to the west of everywhere, a mid-spring sun sets beneath a moody Arizona sky. Clarence Dutton, John Wesley Powell's intrepid geologist, gave Cape Royal its name in 1882, as he waxed poetic on the myriad geological wonders that lay before him at this location.

A focal length of 27mm gave me the angle-of-view I wanted, wide-angleland to be certain, but not so wide that the background receded into nothingness. An aperture of f/22 provided depth-of-field, and a shutter speed of 5.0 seconds at ISO 100 gave me a silghtly darker-than-medium exposure.

Grand Canyon National Park is one of our great public lands; and while it may be tempting to think that nothing this majestic could ever be sold for money, there are material interests that are at work to see parts of this awesome landscape sold for the purpose of uranium mining. Please join with me to see that this never happens. The destruction of this beauty would be a travesty beyond words.

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7 comments

  • Comment Link Donald McGowan Thursday, 26 March 2020 18:05 posted by Donald McGowan

    Good afternoon Everyone. Thanks to all of you very much for joining me for this conversation as we stretch into another week of restricted life, self- and otherwise. I hope all of you, and by extension ALL of you, are healthy and well. Perhaps it would be worthwhile to reflect and remember that many are tremendously less fortunate than are we, and whatever we can do to alleviate their suffering is kindness that the Universe will recall favorably.
    Hey Kev. It's always good to hear from you, as I always appreciate your kind and thoughtful comments. Remember that every effective wide-angle image takes into consideration its handling of three grounds - the foreground, the mid-ground, and the background. All are important for different reasons, and if the effectiveness of one of them fails, the image will fall short of its potential. The foreground of this particular image is a bit unusual in that there's not much of an "object." Much of the foreground is space, but it's space that is highlighted by the lines and shapes/forms of the rocks of the cliffs. There was a polarizing filter on my lens in this image, but because of the angle of the image - fairly close to the path of the sun's travel - the effect of the polarization was minimal. The clouds were, in my mind, an integral part of the story and it was a matter of deciding how much of the cloud-line to include. Fortunately it was quite textured, so it did not take much of it to fulfill its purpose. I'm not quite sure how to consider your thought on the "red tree" in the upper right. I agree that it carries quite a bit of visual weight in the image, but it seems to me that, overall, there is a balance between that weight and the visual weight of the remainder of the image, which is why I chose to present it in the way I did. You may recall that my first impulse in evaluating an image is to experience the gestalt, or wholeness, of the image to understand my overall emotional response. Only when I have done that do I begin to deconstruct to image into its component pieces as a way of critique. When I did that here, the gestalt feeling I had was a pleasant one that did not seem to reveal the portion of the scene with the sun in it as a distraction. Perhaps this is an indication of that wonderful truism that we don't all respond to a given image in the same way, but I appreciate having your response.
    Hey Ray, it's always good to have you join us. Thank you so much for sharing your sense of the tensions and contradictions at work in this image. It always means more to our understanding when someone else shares their perception of an image. In these ways the metaphoric aspects of the visual experience are given words and thus are widened out to embrace all of us. I am grateful for your wonderful story of your nighttime adventure in the Tidal Basin. I know that area, and this time of year (lately anyway) it is beautiful - even in spite of the dire concerns of social interaction. Imagine that your gear-lugging only served to enhance your appreciation, and the images you created in your mind's-eye will always be with you. Have a great week, my friend!
    Hi J. Warren. There is no apology needed for telling the story of how an image - mine or anyone else's - made you feel. Isn't that what all images are for: to evoke feelings. And I deeply appreciate your description of the feeling this image evoked for you. You and I have shared a number of places of similar evocation west of the 100th Meridian, and I am grateful for all of them and the stories they have engendered.
    Hey Mike. It's good, as always, to have you with us. I very much appreciate your kind words. I hope you will find many opportunities for creativity as we move into the coming months. Walk in Beauty.
    Hi Lynne. Thank you so much for joining us and for your kind words. I always learn much from the perspectives you share and the thoughtfulness with which you share them. I hope this writing finds you well on the road to recovery. We look forward to sharing virtual coffee with you and John soon. I've just received a shipment from Panacea, so we're ready for FaceTime.
    Hey Nancy T. Thank you so very much for your wonderful words and the beautiful description you have shared with us. You always manage to find the positive in all things visual and to bring it forward in a way that always evokes a smile. Talk soon.
    Thank you all, again, for sharing your thoughts with me and with each other. You bring light and delight to troubled times and I bow to all of you in gratitude.

  • Comment Link Nancy Tripp Sunday, 22 March 2020 13:49 posted by Nancy Tripp

    Breathtaking! You found another perfect spot on our planet to take a sunset photo. It looks like a place you could go 100 times and get 100 different beautiful images. The sunset being a spot in the upper right emphasizes the vastness of this landscape. The clouds add so much as they mimic the land beneath them in color and texture. Thanks for sharing the beautiful image to brighten the ugly that seems to be creeping into our lives. If beauty can negate ugly, COVID-19 wouldn't stand a chance there. Be save everyone.

  • Comment Link Lynne Diamond-Nigh Sunday, 22 March 2020 11:51 posted by Lynne Diamond-Nigh

    I learn so much from your commentary.

  • Comment Link Mike Sunday, 22 March 2020 10:33 posted by Mike

    Beautiful picture of a beautiful place.

  • Comment Link jwarrenberry Sunday, 22 March 2020 10:10 posted by jwarrenberry

    On my first trip “out west” nearly half a century ago, I was stunned by the vastness of the truly infinite sky, but when I reached the Grand Canyon, the land seemed to join the sky without time or physical limits. For years I thought it could not be captured with a camera, but you did it here. The overwhelming feeling of standing there with a cold wind cutting at my cheek and being at one with nature all come through your image. It captures me as it draws me into the frame.

    I apologize for speaking here more of my experience than your image, but for a few moments we were intertwined. Thank you for sharing the time it took to pause and be patient. It is a very timely reminder.

  • Comment Link Ray Foote Sunday, 22 March 2020 09:26 posted by Ray Foote

    Don, thank you for this uplifting image in an odd, anxious moment in our collective lives. It is beautiful, both warm and cool, inviting and maybe a little ominous, too. Good paradox for this pandemic which is already bringing heaping measures of suffering and grace. I spent an hour or so late late last night down at the cherry blossoms along the Tidal Basin; they're in full bloom and the place was (delightfully) deserted. My lugging of full camera gear was wasted as the lack of light defeated me, but pleasant to be in that setting in total quiet and isolation. Today's daylight hours will see them thronged again, despite public health warnings. Perversely, that's a testament to people's innate quest for beauty. Have a good weeks. Ray

  • Comment Link Kevin Desrosiers Sunday, 22 March 2020 08:24 posted by Kevin Desrosiers

    Stunning image. Once again, a technique I need to improve on, wide angle using an object in the foreground to anchor the shot.Love how the rock formations lead us into the scene. I assume you used a polarizer for this shot. The clouds also are a key element in the shot. About the only thing I would suggest is toning down the red/orange color of the tree in the upper right portion of the frame. My eye keeps wanting to go there and to me, that isn't what the picture is about.

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