I just finished a wonderful photography excursion with my friends Bobbie Baird and Ken Fox. Our leader was photographer Frank Comisar from Scenic Aperture and the experience was truly amazing and a gift for the soul. In fact, we were all participants in Frank’s first Photography MASTER CLASS called “Navajo Nation Journey.”
Located just outside of Page, Arizona, Horseshoe Bend overlooks one of the most spectacular views on the Colorado River, 4 miles south of the Glen Canyon Dam. When you reach the edge of Horseshoe Bend you are looking down about 1000 feet of sandstone to the Colorado River as it makes a wide sweep around a sandstone escarpment. Long ago, as the river meandered southward toward the sea, it always chose the steepest downward slope. This downward journey did not always occur in a straight line, and sometimes the river made wide circles and meanders. As the Colorado Plateau uplifted about 5 million years ago, the rivers that meandered across the ancient landscape were trapped in their beds. The rivers cut through the rock, deep and fast, seeking a new natural level. Here at Horseshoe Bend, the Colorado River did just that, and as the river cut down through the layers of sandstone, it created a 270° horseshoe-shaped bend in the canyon.
Adapted from HorseshoeBend.com
This photograph was taken at sunset and the experience of photographing Horseshoe Bend is not for the “faint of heart.” One needs to take time to slowly move closer to the edge of a sandstone cliff and one constantly needs to check the stability of the ground underneath both yourself and your tripod.
“…The imposing and mysterious Shiprock rises above the high-desert plain of the Navajo Nation in San Juan County, New Mexico. The rock is sacred to the Navajo people who refer to it as ‘the rock with wings.’ There is one legend that the original Navajos lived on the rock, only coming down from its peak to plant and water their crops. One day, when the men were off the rock, lightning struck it, leaving them no way to get back to the top, or for the women and children to come down for food and water. One of the reasons that it is forbidden to climb the Shiprock is that the Navajo fear that the ghosts of those stranded will be disturbed…”
Adapted from an article called “The Legend of New Mexico’s Mysterious Shiprock” by Anna Hider
The featured photograph was taken in Mystery Valley on the Monument Valley Navajo Reservation. It is quite the off-road drive to reach this magnificent landscape with the rippled rocks and formations.
The second photograph is of ruins on the South Rim of Canyon de Chelly near Spider Rock. The ruins were nestled in an area of a very, very tall canyon wall.
I converted both images to black and white and used toning and sepia effects to create the “old west” look.
My friend, Ken, discovered this beautiful “white tree” as our Indian guide was driving us through Canyon De Chelly. We all photographed it but we will always give Ken credit for this discovery and his keen eye for photographic composition. As perspective, the below photograph (taken by Frank) is actually me with my camera and tripod. I know that I am small in statue, however, I wish I could share with you how tall the canyon wall was in actual height. Again, a study in perspective…
“…The walls of Canyon X begin to close in and suddenly we turn right, facing a narrow crack in a sandstone wall. This is the entrance to the lower slot in Canyon X – the red walls rise up to 150 feet above us. At its narrowest point, the canyon is a mere three feet across. The sky becomes a thin ribbon of blue high above and the sandstone walls take on the fluidity of blown glass. Thousands of years of erosion have left one wall smooth while the other has grooves and ridges like a vinyl record…”
from “The Inner Light” by Erika Ayn Finch ~ THE SEDONA MONTHLY
“The hero is the one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches
in the dark streets of life for men to see by.
The saint is the man who walks through the dark paths of the world,
himself a light. ” ~Felix Adler
“Dare to reach out your hand into the darkness,
to pull another hand into the light.” ~Norman B. Rice
Canyon X was truly amazing. However, I was very grateful that the snakes, spiders and scorpions were in hibernation!
“May the blessing of Light be on you, light without and light within…”
“Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.”
Yes, here we are in Canyon X and I am proud to say that we all graduated from Frank’s
first Photography MASTER CLASS.
The experience was a spiritual quest with a new appreciation of the earth and Native American culture
with life-long friends.