Creeping on a dark night towards a thousand foot drop-off, in a place one has never been, with no clear path or trail, while lugging heavy gear is surprisingly (or maybe not surprisingly) creepy. In both senses of the word. My going was slow, and I found contemplation of the dramatic and fenceless drop ahead to the Colorado River as it made a 270 degree loop around Horseshoe Bend oddly unnerving. Maybe fatigue had something to do with it. I’d driven all day, stopping to photograph at Valley of Fire, and already shot a night sequence on Navajo Bridge.
I seem to get myself into this kind of situation with a certain frequency. When I’m alone in the dark in dubious cirumstances with photography in mind I talk to myself. There’s the trudging sentiment after the character Dori in the Pixar movie Finding Nemo: “Just keep walking, just keep walking.” And more reassuringly, the Serenity Prayer, which for reasons that are unclear to me always calms me and helps me realize I am not alone as I walk by star or moon, or in sun and rain, whether or not the world around me seems empty.
Paradoxically, those moments that I feel most alone in a void are also some of the times I feel most at one with the universe.
At the brink of the abyss it was calm, but so dark down in the canyon of the Colorado that I could hardly see it. I shot a long exposure at a high ISO (ten minutes at ISO 1000) so my camera could pick up more than I could see, then shot a sequence to stack for the stars in the sky. After that, I made my way back to the van in the parking lot and got a few hours sleep before returning to shoot dawn (but that’s another story).
Edif data: All shots with 10.5mm digital fisheye, tripod mounted; foreground exposed for 10 minutes at f/2.8 and ISO 1000, sky a stacked composite of 12 exposures, each exposure 3 mintures at f/2.8 and ISO 320.