Dean M. Chriss
Sacred Landscape, Sunrise
(Click image to enlarge)
The Navajo people (Diné - pronounced di-neh) have lived
here for more than 500 years, and their Pueblo Indian ancestors, the Anasazi, for over a thousand years before them. It is no wonder the
Navajo people regard this as a sacred landscape.
photographed this scene in 2007. Since then I have photographed
it on more than a dozen occasions and have spent the nicest Thanksgiving day sunrise of my
life there. The photographic results have varied widely due to weather.
Skies range from totally cloudy and drab to clear blue, but the big problem is
usually wind. As with
all large canyons, winds fueled by changing temperatures at sunrise
are often strong enough to prevent any hope of sharp photographs. The photograph
above is my most recent attempt, and the first where any sunlight was present in
the absence of any wind. There was a large deck of
clouds to the east. The early light shone through a through a small gap
between the cloud layers, muting the light while filling shadows and softening contrast. I am not sure if this is the
"best" photograph I have made at this spot, but it is certainly among them and
due to atmospheric conditions. The most distant
conical peak in the center-right in the background is thirty miles away. I will definitely return
here again for the experience, if not for the photographs.