A nice early evening capture of the Frontier Motel in Truxston, Arizona, along Route 66! I’ve taken more photos along this historic road probably than any other photographer in the American Southwest. I love old Americana and preserving the past in photos. This is a beautiful evening when there was a massive cloudburst during monsoon season just after a massive cloudburst full of lightning. The sun came out just in time to illuminate the front of the hotel in this crimson light.
These round balls are called moqui marbles are natural and take millions of years to erode out of solid Navajo Sandstone – They are hard concretions of iron that formed in the sandstone. After they are exposed to millions of years of sunlight they develop a dark polished patina called #DesertVarnish which takes eons to form.
Currently, these #moquimarbles are under threat because of their value on the #BlackMarket. They are also popular with the new age tourist trade and they can fetch a pretty penny by the piece. Last I spoke with a BLM Officer, they stated that over 30,000 lbs of these marbles have been stolen from off of Grand Staircase National Monument in Southern Utah. This is truly saddening, because I’ve actually gone to many of the locations where these marbles have gone missing and it destroys and scars the landscape where they were heavily removed. If you’re caught robbing these off of a federal monument, you may as well rob a bank because the consequences are just as severe!
While I do not believe that wilderness is virgin, untouched, or pristine – I do think that humans have an innate responsibility as stewards over the land. The people who rip off these moqui marbles do so for a quick buck. The beauty, once changed, is irreplaceable.
The image above shows a moqui marble out in the wild in an area where theft has occurred regularly for decades according to sources that live in the nearby community of Escalante, #Utah. Mostly what I was able to find here were bits of marble in a place that was once filled with shiny black marbles, smooth and baked in Desert Varnish.
This picture was captured with the Olympus EM5 (a Micro Four Thirds) Camera by me in mid-Spring near Alamagordo, New Mexico. This whole region found in the Southern part of the state including Far West Texas is quite enchanting and memorable. I love every aspect of New Mexico, from the cultural diversity to the colorful and varied landscapes.