Intimate Encounters — Desert

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Fiery Sunset — Capitol Reef NP, UT  © jj raia

Fiery Sunset — Capitol Reef NP, UT © jj raia

For someone who spent most of his life along the northeast coast, a cross country road trip in 1977 to the American southwest expanded my concepts of the earth’s geologic history. I saw for the first time what people really meant by jagged peaks, vast plains, “big sky country”, and desert. These were things to which I’d never been exposed, but that first taste of these magnificent landscapes of the western U.S. really sparked a desire to see more. So another cross country drive was done the following year, but this time it was a solo trip to the northwest; Colorado, Wyoming Montana, Oregon and Washington State. And a few years later in 1982, I teamed up with my bride of two years and headed out west in a tiny car, full of youthful exuberance and expectations, following the same route taken in 1977.

I suppose it was seeing land in its most raw, undeveloped and unspoiled state that was the initial attraction. And nowhere is the affect of erosion so easily evident as in the desert; the effects of water and wind wearing away mountains, mesas, valleys and narrow canyons are on full display. To see a landscape, untouched by human interference, left alone to exist in the face of the fierce and relentless forces of nature, is a blessing… a gift that is disappearing quickly. To have the same experiences of seeing an untamed land as did the very early explorers to this continent is difficult to say the least. But to have something similar, is a gift nonetheless.

And for a photographer, the desert light is as beautiful as the desert land itself. Please click here to share in those gifts among the whims of light, and the clarity of the desert night in the next video in the series, Intimate Encounters — Desert.

To view either of the previous two videos, simply click on them below.

Intimate Encounters — Trees

Intimate Encounters — Water