Posts tagged “Tafoni sandstone

The Glowing Granary

The Glowing Granary

The Glowing Granary

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In about 1250 many ancient Puebloan people began constructing settlements high in the cliffs of southern Utah and northern Arizona —settlements that offered defense and protection. These villages, well preserved by the dry climate and by stone overhangs, led the Anglo explorers who found them in the 1880s to name the absent builders the Cliff Dwellers. Nobody quite knows why during the latter part of  13th century, some cataclysmic event forced the Anasazi to leave their cliff houses and their homeland and to move south and east toward the Rio Grande and the Little Colorado River. The accepted belief is that a series of droughts led to fighting, even cannibalism.

I found this ruin with its roof of tafoni sandstone  particularly photogenic.

The Burn

Roof on Fire!

The Golden Granary

The Golden Granary


Windstone Arch

Windstone Arch

Windstone Arch

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Windstone Arch is barely 4′ tall, you could easily pass right by without knowing it was there. I’d seen photographs from Marc Muench and whilst I knew the alcove was somewhere in Valley of Fire I had no idea quite where. These days people seem only too happy to add location advice on their websites and with camera phones recording GPS satellite data locating places like this has never been easier. When I set out to find the alcove I had no such help, I spent countless hours roaming the state park looking in every opening. Eventually I had to give up in defeat, it was months later when I was back in the UK, I got an email from someone who kindly pinpointed the location on a map for me.
I shared the location with a good friend who lives nearby and he came up with the idea of using a tumbleweed as a prop. I had to wait a year before I could return to the States and one of my goals was to attempt a shot of Windstone Arch for myself. It was a time when I was beginning to experiment with focus stacking, I knew that this composition would look its best when shot with a longer focal length. I wanted to compress the distance between the arch and the tafoni sandstone in the background. Focus stacking allowed me to use a long focal length whilst maintaining depth of field.