Balance (Zion National Park)

Every symmetry needs to be broken.

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The tree up above stands on a pass that separates the Upper East Canyon in Zion National Park from the area south of it that eventually drops into Parunuweap Canyon. The casual tourist driving on route 9 will not wonder what else there is beyond the magnificent scenery that is accessible from the road. We did. The symmetric tree on the pass is not an indication what to expect.

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The way up through the sometimes narrow Checkerboard Mesa canyon is not difficult, and the view back from the pass is already rewarding.

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Turning around, the landscape opens up. We are on top of an intermediate mesa, and can stroll around, even climb some minor peaks.

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Few people come here, we had all this for ourselves. Still, there are regions higher up, not (yet) revealing their secrets to us.

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Then, this rock, put by chance upon much smaller support that did not erode away like everything else, and kept it in balance.

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So this is what we seek: Broken symmetry, but still balance.

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Landscape Without Sky

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Of course this landscape has a sky. But everything in Zion National Park is so big that our human field of vision is somehow inappropriate.

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It’s like the romantic landscapes of Caspar David Friedrich about which Heinrich von Kleist wrote that when looking at them, he felt like his eyelids had been cut away.

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After a while, the desire to grab the widest lens in the bag and to take it all in fades. We become aware of a landscapes full of still lives.

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This is in particular true for the eastern part of the park, where most hikes are off trail (and which is much less overcrowded).

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Navigating this terrain is fun, but one needs to be careful. What appears easily accessible can well end in sheer cliffs.

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Also, be sure to pack plenty of water. The trees will thank you for it.

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Zion Rock Art

The rock formations in Zion National Park make it almost impossible to take poor pictures. Well, that’s a pretty vacuus statement. Let’s put it this way: Taking decent landscapes photos is way easier in Utah than in Indiana. So, here are images from Zion of a slightly different kind.

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While in my Spheres series I am trying to create abstract 3-dimensional art, here I am trying to squeeze the inherently 3-dimensional concrete landscape into abstract 2-dimensional art.

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I like about this approach that it becomes irritating, because the viewer loses her footing. She neither knows where she belongs in relation to the image, nor how big or small the image (or she) is supposed to be, nor whether she has to orient herself horizontally, upwards, or downwards.

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It also makes it easy to lie. Not all of these photos were taken in Zion. Some are from the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. None, however, are from Indiana. I swear.

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