Saturday, 21 July 2018 12:09

The Land of Frozen Dunes

Arches is a land of icons. Almost everyone can rattle off the names of Delicate Arch, Balanced Rock, Park Avenue and a host of others. And Arches is, indeed, all of these; but it is, in my mind, so very much more. The beauty of Arches is also of the everyday kind. In places, the frozen dunes of Navajo Sandstone spread over the red rock like rolling waves of time set in stone, the wall of the Moab Fault looming several miles away in the background. Wind and rock-eating lichen, over the millennia, have gnawed bits of the dunes into a veneer of sandy soil that supports juniper, pinon, several species of cactus, grasses, and a host of wildflowers. Every day it is this beauty that amazes me.

From a quarter mile away a focal length of 230mm gave me the angle-of-view I wanted. An aperture of f/20 provided depth-of-field, and a shutter speed of 1/15th of a second allowed by an ISO of 200 stilled the motion from the slight morning breeze wafting over the rock.

The everyday beauty of Arches speaks with a volume easily equal to its icons whenever we stop to listen.

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  • Comment Link Donald McGowan Friday, 27 July 2018 17:55 posted by Donald McGowan

    Hey Ray, it's always good to hear from you and to receive and consider your always thoughtful comments and observations; and I know that while, like all of us, you can be persuaded in the presence of the iconic, it is also true that you are a firm believer in the power of everyday beauty. Perhaps the Universe was also an ardent fan of the "everyday" for It made much more of it than the iconic. And I truly believe that in the realm of the everyday we are instructed in the deep nature of beauty itself.
    In Ode on a Grecian Urn, Keats does not address icons, but rather extols the ordinary matters of everyday living and the great beauty to be found in all of it, and he leads us to understand that the beauty he describes through the urn is of the everyday kind. And I think it is that way with the photographic journey. What we find along the way, if we are simply observant, is the abiding beauty of every day.
    I'm really glad you are enjoying Zen Camera. David Ulrich has long been a mentor to me. His The Widening Stream is my favorite book on creativity and living a creative life. I highly recommend it as well.
    It was an interesting trip home - through SW Kansas, Western Oklahoma, and Arkansas. I approached the Washita Battlefield site from the north, which gave me a completely different perspective. I'm back in Asheville preparing for the second heart of the workshop season.
    Walk in Beauty.

  • Comment Link Ray Foote Sunday, 22 July 2018 08:11 posted by Ray Foote

    Good morning and thanks for your image and observations this morning. I need to have your reminder about icons vs everyday beauty stitched onto the top of my camera case as an unavoidable reminder. Yes. Wonderful image from Arches, and "waves" was the first thing I noticed too. Then the little surprise of the small rock formations at about two o'clock appears, wonderful. I bought "Zen Camera" a couple of weeks ago after reading some of your references to it. Ulrich does a nice job with it, and I'm enjoying learning from it. Hope you have a great return East. Ray

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