Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hubbell Trading Post old farm equipment

Here are a few snaps that I took in July of old farm equipment sitting behind the Hubbell Trading Post in northern Arizona. It was nice to see them in the open, sitting more or less where they might have been when they were in use by the Trading Post.

This also illustrates one of the no-win trade offs faced when dealing with historic items found outside: Do we leave objects where found, allow them to age and decay naturally over time, and let visitors experience them in their normal environment while they last? Or, do we whisk them far away from where they were found and put them in sterile environments, on concrete floors, where their structure is preserved but spirit lost? Probably some combination of the two is best...

Saturday, August 29, 2009

last week's cacti blooms

Spotted several nice cacti flowers last week. The red fish hook cacti above is right outside my home office window. It was a naturally occuring cacti started by a passing bird that I relocated away from my foundation to its current location. Seems to have tolerated the move just fine.

And the rest of these guys were taken Friday at a brief stop at Tucson Botanical Gardens...

[Links: GrannyJ has posted some great pictures of a colorful moth well worth checking out on her blog at WalkingPrescott.]

Sunday, August 23, 2009

purposeful shadows

I was sitting out on my patio early this morning, sipping coffee and making some notes on a notepad when I noticed some interesting shadows from a patio plant on my notepad. Hey cool, I never thought of purposely getting plant shadows versus just finding them where they happen to fall on the ground! A quick trip into the house to get some blank paper, my camera, and off to wander my backyard to try to capture some purposeful shadows.

I've got to refine my technique on this, but I do like how things came out for a first try.

At first I thought I'd just go for the shadows alone, but quickly changed my mind with shots like the above of subject and shadow.

This was pretty neat, two perspectives in one shot. The one from where I'm standing and the one from where the sun is in the sky.

It was something of a challenge to keep my own shadow out of the picture. Now I know how a groundhog must feel! The picture above has the shadow of a hanging bell clapper in it as well as the plant.

A golden barrel cactus. I tweaked the contrast and brightness of several of the snaps in photoshop.

Even a dead dried weed takes on new dimensions.

I think this has some possibilities for future shadowy snaps of various objects in the future. OK, ok, back to work on my original note taking...

Monday, August 17, 2009

goats, living on the edge

If you look closely, you will see a small herd of Navajo goats resting under a tree on the side of a canyon wall in Canyon de Chelly (zoomed view below, click for larger size).

They must have a good view from up there. Shade and probably a nice breeze too!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

petrified of heights

This interesting sculpture greets travelers in Holbrook, AZ at the intersection of highways 77 & 180. The cowboy on top of the petrified log seems to give new meaning to the expression "petrified of heights"? A much saner native american figure watches from a safe distance below. Great design and fits the region well!

click pic for better view...

Friday, August 7, 2009

Petrified Forest National Park Rock Art

This large (see radiator in background) petroglyph of a mountain lion was discovered by a bulldozer in 1930.

Looking down on "newspaper rock" from a park overlook (as close as you can get to this one). Note that there are many petroglyph sites in the southwest called Newspaper rock, people seem to like to use this term when they discover a large number of petroglyphs on one rock.

Here a closer view of Newspaper Rock, click on it to wander around... These petroglyphs were chipped through the oxidized rock finish between 650-2000 years ago.

Part of Newspaper Rock...

Another location in the park near the Puerco Pueblo ruin which was built/occupied around 1250 AD. There are some solstice petroglyph markers in this area that only get aligned with a band of sunlight on the summer solstice.

My photos are slightly enhanced to darken the patina finish on the rock, its actually a little lighter in real life with slightly less contrast between the patina and exposed underlying rock that has been chipped out for the petroglyph. There are also a very large number of petroglyphs on privately owned land with restricted/no access in the greater surrounding area of the park.

One of the issues with petroglyphs and pictographs is that they do degrade over time due to erosion, patinas reforming in chiseled out portions, vandalism, etc. One option would be to remove them and put them in sterile museums. Another would be to build protective covers over them (like the huge monsterous structure over the Casa Grande Ruin in Casa Grande National Monument). Another is to let them be, keep them in place in their natural environment. This last option is the current option favored by the Park Service and by the Navajo. I tend to agree. Seeing something in place is a different experience than seeing it thousands of miles away and behind glass.

The mountain lion petroglyph symbol is found in modern reproductions like this metal art piece at the park headquarters. It is a pretty cool figure.

I wonder what people of long ago would think if they could see and handle this paper bag with several of their symbols displayed? Or would they be more fascinated by the text? Or just the paper bag itself? Ok, well this wraps up the Petrified Forest National Park pictures, next up is Canyon de Chelly.