Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Colors Of The Spirit

Ending one of the most spectacular Southwest winters I'd ever witnessed or photographed, I headed out to roam as the season transitions into spring.  Temperatures in Phoenix had warmed already into the 80's and I traded my down jacket and traction device laden hiking boots for lighter attire. 

Leaving in the pre-dawn hours wearing shorts, flip-flops and with coffee in hand, I was off into the lands of Navajo and San Juan County. It seems worlds away from the months I'd just spent trekking among the desert winter whites.  My mood is lifted by the sheer comfort of not having several layers of thermal wear on.  

Miles and miles of desert plains are now golden in the early Spring. The sky hints at a spring storm moving in and this delights my photographic sensibilities.  The Navajo horses and cattle graze in wide open spaces under heavy brooding skies.  Windows down, temps in the 70's and the warm sun in my hair,  I'm on the open road that I love. 

Monument Valley, Valley of the Gods, The San Juan Goosenecks and Muley Point are on the agenda but I'm game for revisions. I spent 3 days wandering around Monument Valley and the areas East of Kayenta. I camped out of my SUV and as I slept in my 4x4x "tent on wheels", I could see the buttes in the barely lit mornings. 

Almost too good to be true, more than I could have wished for, the photographer in me screamed,  "OH COME ON"!  

Right on cue, a spring storm rolled in. The massively beautiful dark drama kept me on my own "cloud nine".  The sandstone buttes took on a golden ochre glow and as the sun warmed one area the clouds draped the lands with sheets of deep purples and grays. All of this moved and rolled and kept it intense for hours and hours. In the late afternoons the winds would chime in.  The skies, the light, the colors and the wind whips it all into a Southwest symphony beautifully rendered by mother nature.  
The spectacular palette of the Southwest landscapes mixed occasionally with a bit of rain here and there would saturate the already intense desert colors of crimson, vermilion, orange, salmon, peach, pink, gold and yellow.

"Nature always wears the colors of the spirit" 
Ralph Waldo Emerson

Yes, it does.