In the desert, rock is ubiquitous, and seemingly everlasting. Wind and water, however–the forces that carve rock–are not so permanent in the desert. Water especially is ephemeral, coming in bursts throughout the year. Winter’s snowmelt feeds the rivers, but many are reduced to a small flow by summer. During summer, thunderstorms feed canyons, washes and rivers–anything that drains a watershed–in violent bursts. The spring water works to carve the landscape and sustains life; summer flash floods finish the job. Finally, any remaining water freezes during winter and expands in cracks, working to part rocks.
I made this image in Buckskin Gulch in southern Utah in January. Buckskin, combined with the Paria River, makes for an accessible backpacking trip through one of the nicest slot canyons in the southwest. I noticed the brown “bath tub ring” in my RAW images, and thought there was something going on with my lens, but then I realized that’s a high water line, probably from years of flash flooding. For scale, its about 6 feet off the ground.
Incidentally, this is my 200th blog post here at Alpenglow Images. I’m grateful for several things. First, I’m grateful for the participation, both from people who comment and those who don’t. Thank you for commenting, and for sharing your ideas. To that end, I’m also grateful for your inspiration, because you all have been with me on a continuing journey to define my vision in photography. Finally, I’m just plain happy this blog hasn’t been ephemeral. Thank you again for a great 200 first posts.