Indian Country

Indian Country

Arizona Window, Meteor Crater, 2000

This photograph was taken at the visitor center ofMeteor Crater, AZ. It symbolizes for me the archetypal tourist viewing and photographing the landscape of this desert and mountain state. A photograph of a photographer in a picture window. How poetic.

In early December, 2000 fellow landscape photographerSteve Kossackand Videographer / DirectorChris Sandersonand I spent a week traveling some 1,800 miles through the area of the Southwestern U.S. known asIndian Country. This area, the so-calledFour Cornersregion ofArizona,Colorado,New MexicoandUtahis home to theNavajo Nationas well as other native Americans. It also is one of the premier locations for landscape photography in the Southwestern United States.

I have photographed in this area frequently on this trip and returned to several of the sites visited for a second or even third time. The weather was cold (below freezing at night and mid-50’s during the day) but the plus side was that there were very few tourists, and reservations were not needed at any of the location’s motels and lodges. So, we were able to move about freely and were not bound to a tight schedule or rigid motel reservations. This is in sharp contrast to touring the region at other times of year when heavy tourism makes advance reservations mandatory.

A D30 Shoot

This trip was a unique event for me. I shot more than 1,500 images and didn’t expose a single roll of film. The reason for this was that I spent the week shooting with the newCanon D30digital SLR. If you’re not yet familiar with this exciting new camera a good place to start is with myD30 review.

This was my first major shoot with a digital SLR and the D30 in specific. I’m pleased to report that the camera’s performance exceeded expectations in most respects. As I’ve reported elsewhere I find the autofocus to be deficient due to only having 3 sensors, and other gripes that I’ve already mentioned continued to annoy. Image quality though, I’m pleased to say, was as excellent as my early tests had shown. More commentary on using the D30 is available in each individual section.

Monument Valley

Mittens Dawn

Monument Valleyis both remote and familiar. We’ve all seen its buttes and canyons in countless western movies, fromJohn Waynesagas to the most recentMI2. For a photographer it is endlessly fascinating, and early December, 2000 found me there yet again.

Canyon de Chelly

The Window

One of the least visited yet loveliest National Monuments in the American Parks system,Canyon de Chellylies in the remote northeastern corner ofArizonainside theNavajo Nation. This was my second visit to the town ofChinleand the nearby Canyon in less than 2 years.

Bisti Badlands

Mushroom 1

In a remote corner ofNorthern Arizonalies a little-know wilderness area called theBisti Badlands. Though our time there was limited we were fascinated by the photographic possibilities and the delicacy of the geology.

Lower Antelope Canyon

Lower Antelope 3

An icon of contemporary landscape photography,Antelope Canyoncontinue to fascinate. After being closed for a couple of years due to the tragic deaths of 11 photographers and tourists in a flash flood,Lower Antelopehas now reopened.

Grand Canyon

What can one say about theGrand Canyon? I’ve visited both theNorthandSouth Rimsand rafted theColorado Riverthrough its heart. With this visit I’ve now also flown over it in a sightseeing plane. The circle is complete.

Rock Art

Pictographs and petroglyphs are a visual record created by ancient peoples, andIndian Countrycontains many hundreds of such locations. On this journey I was fortunate enough to have visited and photographed an obscure and very well preservedAnasaziruin and set ofpictographs.

Lesser Know Locations

Agathla Peak

No region, includingIndian Country, is composed solely of famous or popular locations.This sectionshows several photographs taken in lesser know or even totally unfamiliar locales.