The Desert is an Unknown Place

That is the truth that I believe in; one where the status quo has no control over your personal sovereignty and you begin to go back to the roots of our non-reality. The desert is one such place of mystery, full of the Unknown. I’ve learned this over the last decade and a half while roaming canyon labyrinths and mountain ranges. What I have witnessed adds a lot of meaning to this short life of mine. We rural desert dwellers see and hear a lot more than those who get entrapped and surrounded by dense civilization. Out there on the outskirts of the fringe you begin to see what’s truly shrouded while being accompanied by structures and ruins from the distant past that slowly wrought and crumble to the harsh desert elements.

Landscapes of Terlingua in Far West Texas

During my travels along the US/Mexican Border between Calexico, California, and Brownsville, Texas, my favorite borderland landscapes were found in Far West Texas around Marfa, Terlingua and Alpine, Texas. This is a good location to escape winter somewhat!

These photographs were taken in April of 2015 but I can only imagine what Christmas would be like in this Big Bend Country? As a desert rat, I would guess that the nights still get cold in winter, but the day time hours are fairly pleasant. According to the latest weather check for Terlingua, it’s 42 degrees Fahrenheit with an average of 70 degrees this week. Not bad for December!

The mountains off in the distance are Big Bend National Park. I highly recommend photographers avoid this national park because I was harassed by park rangers there and they don’t take too kindly to any photographers using cameras in the national park. Locals warned me that I would run into trouble and I have enough fodder for a good story. On top of that, I would recommend visiting Texas’s own Big Bend State Park which is much more inclusive towards visitors and in my opinion, more beautiful than the national park!

 

An Alien Landscape – Grand Staircase National Monument

I captured these landscapes a few years ago out by Big Water, Utah on the way to Lake Powell, just after sundown.

In the early 1990s, Bill Clinton, President of the United States declared this national monument a rare treasure and designated over 1.7 million acres of land in Southern Utah off-limits. It stirred  a noteworthy controversy with local ranchers who have worked on the land for generations. On the other side of the token, there are countless historical Indigenous cultural and archeological sites inside the monument as well as an unknown treasure trove of undiscovered dinosaurs and other prehistoric life.

I do empathize with the ranchers and people whose livelihoods were affected by the monument’s creation, including my own family, but it was worth preserving these irreplaceable and priceless resources.  These sacred places do not belong to us; they belong to the future generations who have yet to be born and these histories cannot be rewritten and can easily be lost in time, forever, with any sort of carelessness.

As a photographer, the landscapes of the Grand Staircase remind me of another planet – a strange alien world in another galaxy and that is an amazing feeling to tap into. Places like Big-Water can heal the soul with its sheer beauty and you can feel the ancient ones (historic tribal peoples) whom once used this land. Traces of their long existence are found all over the monument.

I’ll be returning to Grand Staircase pretty soon with a Sony A7R and capture much more details photos of these alien landscapes.