Texas Panhandle, Palo Duro Canyon

2015

Back home from China in Santa Fe; several weeks later I drove east across the high plains of Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle before heading south to Ft. Worth to see friends. En route, I stopped to have a look at Palo Duro Canyon, situated just south of Amarillo, that claims to be the second largest canyon in the U.S. Typical spring weather — wind and furious thunderstorms across Texas’ high plains — did not disappoint.

Early Spanish Explorers discovered the area and named the canyon “Palo Duro,” Spanish for “hardwood” due to the abundant mesquite and juniper trees. Palo Duro Canyon’s elevation at its rim is 3,500 feet; it is 120 miles long, 20 miles wide, and 800 feet deep, compared to the Grand Canyon — the largest in the U.S. — which is 277 miles long, 18 miles wide, and 6,000 ft deep.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park comprises 30,000 acres at the north end of the canyon. Water erosion from the Red River deepens the canyon as it moves sediment downstream, while wind and water erosion gradually widen the canyon.

Humans have resided in the canyon for approximately 12,000 years. Nomadic tribes hunted mammoth, giant bison, and other large game. Later, Apache Indians lived in the canyon, but were soon replaced by Comanche and Kiowa tribes, who resided in the area until 1874 when Colonel Ranald Mackenzie was sent into the area to transport them to a newly appointed reservation in Oklahoma.

In 1876, Charles Goodnight entered the canyon and opened the JA Ranch, which at its peak, supported more than 100,000 head of cattle.

Texas Panhandle<br>Texas Panhandle, Palo Duro Canyon — 2015 Windmill<br>Texas Panhandle, Palo Duro Canyon — 2015 Windmill II<br>Texas Panhandle, Palo Duro Canyon — 2015 Palo Duro Canyon<br>Texas Panhandle, Palo Duro Canyon — 2015 Palo Duro Canyon II<br>Texas Panhandle, Palo Duro Canyon — 2015 Palo Duro Canyon III<br>Texas Panhandle, Palo Duro Canyon — 2015 Palo Duro Canyon IV<br>Texas Panhandle, Palo Duro Canyon — 2015 Mesquite & Pinon<br>Texas Panhandle, Palo Duro Canyon — 2015

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Abiquiu Lake

2014

Abiquiu Lake is a reservoir located in Rio Arriba County 60 miles north of Santa Fe.

The Rio Chama was damned in 1963 to create the 5,200 acre Abiquiu Lake, which is more than 12 miles long  at an elevation of 6,100 feet.

From the bluffs along the southern side of the lake, the views north of the red cliffs that frame Ghost Ranch are just beautiful. Behind (south of) the lake is the very distinctive 9,862′ mountain, Cerro Pedernal.

Abiquiu Lake<br>Abiqui Lake — 2014 Abiquiu Lake II<br>Abiqui Lake — 2014 Abiquiu Lake III<br>Abiqui Lake — 2014 Abiquiu Lake IV<br>Abiqui Lake — 2014 Abiquiu Lake V<br>Abiqui Lake — 2014

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Mount Garfield

2013

Mount Garfield at 6,780′ elevation is the high point of the Book Cliffs range — a series of desert mountains and cliffs stretching 200 miles from western Colorado into eastern Utah, north of Grand Junction. Appearing primarily along the southern and western edge of the Tavaputs Plateau, these cliffs are largely composed of sedimentary materials that cap many of the south-facing buttes, appearing similar to a shelf of books.

Within the Colorado Plateau geologic province, these cliffs of Cretaceous sandstone begin where the Colorado River descends south through De Beque Canyon into the Grand Valley before running west to Price Canyon near Helper, UT.

Mount Garfield<br>Mount Garfield - 2013 Mount Garfield II<br>Mount Garfield - 2013 Book Cliffs Mountains<br>Mount Garfield - 2013 Book Cliffs Mountains II<br>Mount Garfield - 2013 Tavaputs Plateau<br>Mount Garfield - 2013

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Galisteo Basin Aerial

2012

Just south of Santa Fe at the southern terminus of the Rocky Mountains, the Galisteo Basin begins a 2,500′ elevation descent south over 40 miles to the Sandias adjacent to Albuquerque; And to the west it stretches beyond the Rio Grande Rift to the southern end of the foothills of the Jemez Mountains.

Surrounded by these three mountain ranges, the Galisteo Basin’s classic northern New Mexico high desert landscape offers dramatic views in all directions. Having introduced three Galisteo Basin image series captured in 2011, this posting comprises a series of the Galisteo Basin captured from a morning helicopter flight in 2012.

To view more images of the Galisteo Basin, see Galisteo Basin I, Galisteo Basin II and Galisteo Basin III.

Galisteo Basin South<br>Galisteo Basin Aerial - 2012 Mesa<br>Galisteo Basin Aerial - 2012 Galisteo Basin Southeast<br>Galisteo Basin Aerial - 2012 Cerrillos Hills West<br>Galisteo Basin Aerial - 2012 Southwest Across Rio Grande Rift<br>Galisteo Basin Aerial - 2012 Jemez Foothills West<br>Galisteo Basin Aerial - 2012 Jemez Foothills Northwest<br>Galisteo Basin Aerial - 2012 Rio Grande<br>Galisteo Basin Aerial - 2012

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Ghost Ranch West III

2012

Warm early March light on this lovely array of high desert colors, just north of Abiquiu Lake, leading west from Ghost Ranch along the dirt road to the Monastery of Christ in the Desert…

‘Georgia O’Keefe country’ is an hour north of Santa Fe, and lies within the broad shallow Chama Basin along the eastern margin of the Colorado Plateau as it transitions toward the Rio Grande Rift further east. Because the Colorado Plateau has been a relatively stable block in the Earth’s crust for at least 600 million years, the rocks around Ghost Ranch are generally flat-lying and less deformed by broad-scale folding.

The oldest exposed rocks in the ghost ranch area belong to a thick layer of brick-red to red siltstone and mudstone, and mudstone and white to tan sandstone. Deposited more than 200+ million years ago when the Ghost Ranch area was located just 10 degrees north of the equator these varicolored cliffs provide its signature palette, when raised by low-angled light.

Blended with motion, it is my intent that this palette suggest its millions of years’ passage of time.

To view more images of Ghost Ranch, see Ghost Ranch and Ghost Ranch II.

Chamita River<br>Ghost Ranch West III - 2012 Road West II<br>Ghost Ranch West III - 2012 East Facing Butte<br>Ghost Ranch West III - 2012 Southeast Facing<br>Ghost Ranch West III - 2012 Southeast Facing II<br>Ghost Ranch West III - 2012 Chama Basin<br>Ghost Ranch West III - 2012

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Western Landscape II

1999

Western Space + Time

Having awakened my appetite for large-scale landscape, I explored other western vistas in Wyoming, Utah, California and northern Arizona, in addition to return visits to the high country of Montana. Experimenting with the panoramic format, I found it easier to capture the breadth of the land while more closely matching its flow.

During the creation of this series, I first realized that my obsession with condensing time via motion within a single frame was intimately linked to a lifetime of restlessness.

Hidden Cliffs<br>Western Landscape II - 1999 Potato Ridge<br>Western Landscape II - 1999 Red Gulch<br>Western Landscape II - 1999 Drakes Bay<br>Western Landscape II - 1999 Lake Powell<br>Western Landscape II - 1999 Snowy Range<br>Western Landscape II - 1999 Sonoma<br>Western Landscape II - 1999 Tensleep<br>Western Landscape II - 1999

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Western Landscape I

1997

Needing an escape from urban living, I spent weeks in the solitude of Montana’s incredible high-country where I first experienced the grandeur of western landscape. It’s grand distances, unavailable in the Washington, DC parks, opened up a host of new possibilities in light, color and resolution that took me to a place I hadn’t experienced since the transatlantic ocean sailing days of my early twenties.

Lamar Valley<br>Western Landscape I - 1997 Judith Bench<br>Western Landscape I - 1997 Big Creek Ranch<br>Western Landscape I - 1997 Wind River Range<br>Western Landscape I - 1997 Smith River<br>Western Landscape I - 1997 Absorakas<br>Western Landscape I - 1997 Toward Bozeman<br>Western Landscape I - 1997 Choteau Sunset<br>Western Landscape I - 1997

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