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Sunday, 25 May 2014 03:00

Deserts from Swamps, Like a Circle

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The Earth's geologic history is the most fascinating story I can imagine. This rock in space we call home has been around for some four and a half billion years, and the amazing forces that have molded and shaped it continuously during that span of time repeat themselves with the recurring certainty of a fine chronometer. Mountains arise only to be flattened by erosion; sediments are carried low by the movement of water, only to be deposited, fused by pressure into new rock and uplifted once again; sometimes here, sometimes there, sometimes here once again. The awesome beauty of the high desert of the Colorado Plateau bears witness to the truth of this story, and nowhere moreso than in Capitol Reef National Park where the unique feature that is the Waterpocket Fold tells a tale of swampy lowlands, perhaps 155 million years old, raised up and dried out to reveal the lithic bones that are its structural underpinning. This is literally so, for the Morrison Formation, the foreground of this image, is the primary repository of dinosaur bones of all the rock strata revealed in this country. I followed the line of the Fold looking for places to photograph the colorful bands of the Morrison Formation with the older Navajo Sandstone, which through faulting is now the rimrock of the giant crease, in the background. As I walked over the layers of ancient Morrison mud, I found a couple of blocks of volcanic-ash-become-rock to offer themselves as my foreground. Kneeling down over the ash blocks, I positioned them in the frame so that they did not become barriers to the doorway of the image, and then I tilted up to reveal a small amount of cloud-dappled sky above the slanting rimrocks. A focal length of 27mm gave me the angle of view I wanted. An aperture of f/20 gave sufficient depth-of-field and a shutter speed of 1/25th second at ISO 100 gave an overall medium exposure.        


Read 10438 times Last modified on Sunday, 08 June 2014 08:17


  • Comment Link Don McGowan Sunday, 01 June 2014 00:08 posted by Don McGowan

    Hi Dorsey and Nancy. Thanks very much for joining this conversation. Dorsey, I always appreciate your words, for I know they are offered in straightforward appraisal of what your heart has spoken to your visual senses. And you always offer something complimentary to the subject of every image I send out. The amazing geological story of our Earth is so endlessly fascinating, and I am grateful for your perspective on that story. You are so right, it was the lines of contrasting tonalities and the lines of, both, which stood out for me as I was composing; and I was amazed by the softness of those lines even in the harshness of the environment. Nancy T., your observations always lead me to consider every Image more closely in some newer light, and I always marvel at what I discover there. Chaos was very much a word in my mind, and yet within the chaos was an orderliness that shouted clearly. Thank you, both, again; it's always good to share thoughts with you.

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

    If only the rocks could talk! There are so many textures and contrasts you managed to align with shapes and lines to share your view. You have created art from chaos with a wide angle lens. Thanks for sharing your adventure.

  • Comment Link Dorsey Davis Sunday, 25 May 2014 10:27 posted by Dorsey Davis

    I find our deserts to be fascinating places. So difficult to get our minds around the idea that they were once ancient sea beds. Even more that the artic circle area was once so rich with vegetation and animal life that it now produces billions of gallons of crude oil! Don, you once again have done a superb job of using varying bands of color and diagonals to leads us into this forbidding landscape and the two rocks in the foreground provide the perfect foundation from which to launch our eyes. I enjoy seeing the world from your eyes each Sunday morning. Keep up the good work.

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