Sunday, June 12, 2022


Closed bulk plant, Monticello, Utah

Gas Pumps, Monticello, Utah

Even when you have a photographic mission it’s often subjects that are incidental to the objective that command your attention. That was true in my trip to the Four Corners and the Navajo Nation three weeks back. Sure, I got some worthy shots of the vast Navajo Reservation. And some showed man’s insignificance against the sweep of the vast desert. But the evidence of our feeble efforts to tame a harsh wasteland captured my fancy as much as the otherworldly beauty of the Navajo homeland.

Standard Oil of Cow Springs, AZ

What's left of Tsegi, AZ, Population Zero

Depicting man's fleeting mark has been something of a calling since 2006 when I climbed out of Death Valley to behold the Sierra Nevada looming beyond Lone Pine. Just because it was there I took a left turn to a place called Keeler. Keeler, a withering burg of 66 souls with a median age of about the same sat on the alkaline shore of what had once been a lake. That was before LA stole the water or, more accurately, the citizens of the Owens Valley took LA’s money and were left with Keeler and other dusty remnants of a vibrant life under the Sierra’s gaze.

Good Luck, Keeler, CA. 2006
Today’s post is a blend of images, one old and the others as new as yesterday. They prove the premise that we can adapt to an unforgiving landscape, but Mother Earth has the last say. In the past and in a fraught present we are faced with that truth. We, in our stunning hubris, ignore the natural world’s power at our peril.

Adobe at Ranchos Plaza

Good Luck
 spawned a portfolio called At the Edge of What's Left. The first four images above join that growing series. Good Luck was my most successful photograph until last year when it was dethroned by Adobe at Ranchos Plaza. It was quite a run.

1 comment:

Blacks Crossing said...

8:08 this morning, we received your Detritus blog, and others probably did as well, so it appears the ghosts in the system are gone and you can get back to photography, running, bicycling, and settling into summer without the load of technology in your backpack. Standard Oil of Cow Springs is significant of life in the 21st century, complete with graffiti on crumbling walls and con trails criss crossing the vast sky. Good luck, Keeler, California, definitely says human detritus. To top these scenes with the adobe at Ranchos Plaza in snow was a brilliant counterpoint. Love the selective color in that shot. Kudos to you for persevering through the transition!