Arch and Honeycomb Weathering Picture of the Week

When you were a child and thunder was new to you, did your mother try to console you by explaining that the noise was just God and the angels bowling in heaven? My mom did that. I believed her because she’d never lie to me, and she knew I’d catch her (although I don’t understand why Santa stopped sending me $20 at Christmas when she died). She always told people that I was their peer, although there may be more intelligent children. Well, what her exact words were is, “He sure ain’t the brightest kid in the class.”

Arch and Honeycomb Weathering - inside the cave on the Jenny's Canyon Trail are a natural window and Honeycomb Weathering.
Arch and Honeycomb Weathering -Inside the cave at the end of Jenny’s Canyon Trail are a natural window and Honeycomb Weathering.

This memory comes to mind because I think I’ve captured the scoreboard that the angels used. It’s visible in this week’s picture—the rows of distorted cribbage holes. If one of the bowlers threw a strike, a lightning bolt would cause a tree to burst into flames. Then they’d advance their marker into the next hole. The one that got their rock in the last spot won. It’s that simple.

I did a lot of online research to prove my thesis, but I found nothing. Instead, the experts call this kind of erosion honeycomb weathering. It’s not clearly understood, but it’s an alchemy of rock, salt, rain, freezing, and expansion. You also have to hold your tongue just right while you’re making it. I saw this type of erosion before in Canyonlands National Park when we visited too long ago, so I assume that it’s shared across Southern Utah’s sandstone formations.

This example of honeycomb weathering is in Utah’s Snow Canyon in a place they call Jenny’s Canyon. It’s at the end of a half-mile (round trip) trail near the park’s south entrance, and it was the shortest and the most rewarding of the side trips that we took. The trail leads to a slot canyon in the sandstone, but not the usual slot. Unlike Antelope Canyon near Page—where running water has cut a course into the sandstone—this is one of those stacked dunes (see last week’s picture) with a gap between the layers. Jenny’s Canyon begins as a typical slot, but dead ends in a short cave. I took my shot from inside the cave.

If you think some weird bacteria are growing on the cave walls, let me explain the color. Like wearing a pair of rose-colored glasses, when the sunlight bounces off the red sandstone, it adds that color to the reflected light, and that’s why the back wall seems to glow orange. Other photographers have successfully captured this phenomenon at Bryce Canyon, but I’ve been unlucky so far. “Damn you, Bryce. I’ll get you one day.”

Jenny's Canyon Sky - Because the canyon walls almost touch, the view of the sky is a narrow ribbon in Jenny's Canyon.
Jenny’s Canyon Sky – Because the canyon walls almost touch, the view of the sky is a narrow ribbon in Jenny’s Canyon.

The second image that I included to illustrate my post is the sky from Jenny’s slot canyon. I’ve seen photos like this, and I wanted one of my own. I think the blue against the glowing orange and dark walls look like torn craft paper glued on one another as a collage. I consider it an abstract because it has no story of its own.

You can see a larger version of Arch and Honeycomb Weathering on its Web Page by clicking here. Come back next week to see the next trail that we explored. It’s not far up the road.

Until next time — jw

Eagle Eye East Picture of the Week

My sweetie loves me! Incredible, I know. After living together for over 32 years, this morning, on Valentine’s Day, she asked me what I would like for a romantic dinner. The question took me by surprise. I had to think about it. I puzzled about which meals nurtured the minds and souls of great artists. What’s the most romantic place I can think of? Then it hit me—Giverny, France of course—home of Claude Monet. So I looked up the restaurant menu from Hotel Baudy—a scene in several of his paintings and where he gathered with many of his Impressionist cronies.

I Google translated each menu item looking for something manly and not cheesy. Halfway down the list, the obvious choice jumped off the page. It has three of the world’s best things you can put in your mouth in one dish: Magret de canard poêlé aux cerises et sauce au porto—seared duck breast in a cherry-port sauce. Ah—I slobbered all over my keyboard, thinking about it.

I rushed into the living room where Queen Anne was reading the Sunday paper dressed in her threadbare robe, fuzzy slippers, and rollers. I blurted out my dinner choice. I guessed wrong. She explained that what she meant was, “Which of the packages in the freezer do you want me to microwave for you—and you can’t have the one that I picked.” <Sigh> So, I picked the other TV dinner. Ain’t love grand?

Eagle Eye East - The view from the top of Eagle Eye Mountain looking east towards the arch on Eagle Eye Peak in Aguila, Arizona.
Eagle Eye East – The view from the top of Eagle Eye Mountain looking east towards the arch on Eagle Eye Peak in Aguila, Arizona.

Letting my romance wilt on the vine, let’s talk about this week’s featured image. As I promised last week, I wanted to show you the Eagle Eye Arch from another angle. In this image—that I call Eagle Eye East—we’re looking at the arch from the south side of the mountains in Aguila. I shot this picture from the top of Eagle Eye Mountain facing Eagle Eye Peak, and that’s why the arch seems more distant than last week’s photo. Since this was the sunny side of the mountains, it better shows how rough the lava surface is. I like how the bright green saguaro and palo verde contrast with the reddish-brown rocks.

Another interesting thing in this image—to me—is the background mountains. The Forepaugh Range is on the right and beyond them is the town of Wickenburg. Beyond the Aguila Valley, the tall mountains on the left horizon are the Weavers, and that’s where we call home.

You can see a larger version of Eagle Eye East on its Web Page by clicking here. Be sure to come back next week, and I’ll show you the final shot that I liked from my outing in Aguila.

Until next time — jw

False Cave Picture of the Week

This week’s featured photo concludes our May adventure to Alamo Lake’s mud cliffs. I have another couple of detail shots that would fit nicely into this grouping, but I’ve run out of weeks this month and we have other places to go. I suppose I could put together a set of six and make up a folio like Santa Lucia Fog, or maybe I’ll go back and shoot enough images to complete a portfolio. I’ll have to think about that—what do you think?

False Cave
False Cave – This appears to be the opening of a shallow cave, but it’s not that simple.

May’s final image looks like I shot the mouth of a shallow cave with—if you squint and let your imagination go wild—a pair of cherub heads as keystones, and that’s exactly what it looks like when you approach this structure in the field. But there’s something in the photo that gives a clue that this isn’t a cave. It’s the light shining on the floor past the opening. If you crawled into the cave where that light area is, you could stand up—or you could just walk around the pile of mud to the left, and come back down the stream bed. This is actually a low arch that is torso high. If I had a model, her legs would show in the lower opening while her head and shoulders would be visible on top. It would make a unique open shower design—like you would have poolside.

In all honesty, I wasn’t creative enough to come up with that idea. The woman in spring’s photo class, whose images inspired me to visit this place, came here with a group, and one of her friends posed behind the arch. Except he was a guy and he wasn’t naked. When I walked up to this spot, I wasn’t sure it was the same because it’s so well camouflaged. If I do go back for a reshoot, I’ll need to have a model join me. What are the odds of that happening: me—a toothless old geezer—convincing an attractive woman to go with me to this barren wasteland so that we could shoot that picture? Yeah, I didn’t think so either.

You can see a larger version of False Cave on its Web page by clicking here. I hope you enjoy viewing my newest entry and join Queen Anne and I as we present new photos from a different location—this time in Yavapai County.

Until next time — jw