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Saturday, 17 May 2014 14:22

...Your House is on Fire

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 Sometime in the mid-to-late 1200s a small community of Ancestral Puebloan people moved into a secluded canyon on the extreme northeastern slope of what would one day come to be called Cedar Mesa in what is now southeastern Utah. Their scar in the earth would become known as Mule Canyon. Up and down the length of Mule Canyon they built a scattered village. Dwellings and granaries were perched on the inclined sides of the sandsone walls. One of the locations was situated underneath a modest alcove whose layered sheets of stone gave the impression, when seen in the late morning light, of being engulfed in flames. I have no idea whether the Ancient Ones saw it that way, but later visitors most definitely do, and it has come to be known as the "House on Fire Ruin." Sitting on the ledge in front, waiting for the light to reach its ideal position, one can feel the spirits of those who were here so long ago. May they walk in beauty forever. Deciding on the focal length of the lens to use to give just the information I wanted to convey was the most difficult choice, along with the amount of "flame" to reveal and the amount of "house" to go with it. I finally decided on a focal length of 27mm, in landscape format, from an angle to the left of, and below, the ruin. An aperture of f/20 gave me depth-of-field, and a shutter speed of 0.4 seconds at ISO 100 gave me an ovearall medium exposure.


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  • Comment Link Don McGowan Sunday, 01 June 2014 00:24 posted by Don McGowan

    Hello Nancy and Dave. Thanks for joining us in this conversation. Nancy K., it was a truly awesome feeling being there in person. We arrived earlier that we needed to due to the uncertainty of the location and season; and so we were able to watch as the change slowly occurred. In the beginning it seemed so unlikely, but as the change took place, it was nothing short of amazing. Dave, it's always good to hear from you. Wonder and imagination are words that easily came to mind during the hours that we watched the house ignite. There were so many directions in which the imagination could freely wander here and each of them led to a place of wonder. I'm glad both of you shared the feeling I had when I stood in front of it.

  • Comment Link Dave Eckerdt Monday, 26 May 2014 11:01 posted by Dave Eckerdt

    I do eagerly await each Sunday's 'Image for the Asking' composition lesson. " on fire" is one of those lingering photographs that the eye sees perhaps only once but the mind returns to again and again. It invokes a sense of wonder that melds image with imagination. It is perfect, thank you for sharing!

  • Comment Link Nancy Kelly Sunday, 25 May 2014 16:44 posted by Nancy Kelly

    This image is incredible. I can only imagine how inspiring it was in person! Thank you for sharing.

  • Comment Link Don McGowan Thursday, 22 May 2014 22:01 posted by Don McGowan

    Thanks Everyone, for joining this conversation. Horace, I appreciate your kind words, and I feel blessed to have seen it. Dorsey, in researching locations for our 2011 trip I came across this ruin, but we did not visit it until this year. The location was known, but there was no suggested time to be there other than mid-morning. As you might imagine, ideal mid-morning light varies with season, so as it turned out we were nearly two hours early for mid-May; so we had plenty of time to prepare creatively for the opportune moment. Given the history of the Anasazi in this area and the relative seclusion of the canyon and the closeness of resources, especially water, I would have to believe that they enjoyed being there for perhaps a century, or two. Nancy T., Helen, and Jessyca, I'm really glad you enjoyed this Image. It really stood out when I was doing the research. Karen, I would like to know the answer to your question also. Given the Anasazi capacity for abstraction, you could easily imagine that they appreciated the symbolisms inherent here as well. Mike, thanks for your words; if this image has encouraged you to return here I am gratified. I believe one could be in these canyons forever and never tire of the variety and the incredible beauty of that variety. Thanks, again, everyone.

  • Comment Link Jessyca Stansbury- McCargo Monday, 19 May 2014 14:18 posted by Jessyca Stansbury- McCargo

    Wow! It does indeed look as though the house is engulfed in fire. Awesome capture. Also, thanks for sharing your technique.

  • Comment Link Mike Di Stefano Sunday, 18 May 2014 22:46 posted by Mike Di Stefano

    My true love in Photography is the Southwest. You give me reason to visit there again. Though Utah & Arizona is very much the same with it's golden sandstone features, they are all individually sculptured into works of art waiting to behold by the human eye and the camera.
    Love your interpretation.

  • Comment Link Helen Phillips Sunday, 18 May 2014 18:45 posted by Helen Phillips

    You caught it! My very first quick thought when I opened the picture, before I read anything, was that a house was on fire! Terrific.

  • Comment Link Karen Lemoine Sunday, 18 May 2014 14:29 posted by Karen Lemoine

    What an amazing sight! It would be hard to believe the ancient ones did not know of this beautiful light. It really mimics a real fire with the cooler colors and the bottom of the inferno and the hotter ones at the top.

  • Comment Link Nancy Tripp Sunday, 18 May 2014 14:03 posted by Nancy Tripp

    That is beautiful! It looks fully engulfed! Thanks for sharing.

  • Comment Link Dorsey Davis Sunday, 18 May 2014 10:10 posted by Dorsey Davis

    An absolutely awesome image of a place I had not heard of previously. Your choice of focal length and orientation are perfect. Would love to see this one day. One cannot help but wonder what kind of life its inhabitants might have lived.

  • Comment Link Horace Hamilton Sunday, 18 May 2014 09:40 posted by Horace Hamilton

    Beautiful composition with exquisite light. Lovely image!!

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