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Duality

 

Duality -- Photo  Chris Carvalho/Lensjoy.com

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On my 2002 trip to the Southwest, I was doing some photography on the Navajo reservation and encountered an old sheepherder.  He knew the area well, and I asked him about places to photograph.  One, he said, had unusual rock formations and would be worth seeking out.  The instructions involved a long drive over dirt road to a lonely, dry wash.  David Trumper and I decided it would be best to bring supplies and camp in the riverbed so we could get up early in the morning for the sunrise light.  When we arrived in the evening the area had an eerie feeling about it, as if we were being watched. The rock formations we saw were otherworldly, almost apocalyptic, and contributed to the mood of the place.  Locals call them "woody toadstools", and there are many places throughout the region where they can be found.  

We made camp by the riverbed and took out the stove to cook dinner, but found that we had forgotten fuel.  Our hopes and hunger for the dinner feast we planned sank along with the sun behind the canyon walls.  After a few minutes of dejection, I realized there was driftwood and an endless supply of rocks in the riverbed.  So we built a fire and created a rock platform to balance the stove pot on.  We boiled corn on the cob, roasted sausages on sticks,  and toasted buns for them by the fire.  It made for a wonderful evening and kept us warm as the night brought on a chill.  

The next morning we set up cameras among the rock formations and I got this photograph as the first light of dawn touched the ridge.  The name "Duality" occurred to me as a title because the scene represents an interesting paradox:  Nature's cycles of creation and destruction are intertwined as erosion of the rocks creates delicate sculptures.  On the time scale of these sandstone and mud hoodoos, we are but brief apparitions, spending an hour or two in their presence as we capture light for a quarter of a second.  

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Info:  Chromira digital print of Velvia 4x5 chrome, Fuji Crystal Archive CD paper
 

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