I thought about driving back to Flag from Chinle but was tired and decided to stick around instead. Got a room at the Holiday Inn which is actually very nice.
Drove over to Denny's and had a club sandwich, not having eaten all day. Lots of navajo kids running around, all the locals very nice and friendly.
The first time I was in town, well over thirty years ago, there was only a Kentucky Fried Chicken, now long gone. I remember they were out of chicken, potatoes and biscuits the night I was there. Was I interested in a piece of corn?
I got up at dawn and drove to Antelope again for some sunrise shots that really didn't take. Then back to Spider Rock to see how it looked with the sun to the east.
I bought a lot of little tidbits from the local vendors. I had just made a bunch of money selling Indian stuff in the big city and felt it was time for a little karmic payback. Least I could do.
And I thought, hey I could use a little healing. Never know in what form the sage will come, pays to keep an open mind about such things.
And since I am on the subject about loss, I was greatly touched talking to Jay in Santa Fe, who lost his beautiful wife last December. Jay's grief is barely under the surface. Mel lost his wife ten days ago. Many people are feeling sorrow from a loss or certainly will if they live long enough.
I was personally touched by the words of all the promotors and their staffs concerning the loss of my brother, Terry, Marcia and John. John mentioned his name in the brochure and I teared up looking at it.
I took my leave from the Canyon, thoroughly enjoying my solitude and experience there. I headed down the road and decided to find the 264 and see what happened from there.
I drove through the hopi res, past Keems Canyon but didn't tarry in the mesas. Drove past Moenkopi, the western most Hopi outpost and towards Tuba City.
Jeez, it was taking me a long time to get home. This return trip was going to set a new record for me. But what the heck, I was so close, might as well see what was up at the Grand Canyon. Drove a few more hours and stopped at the first overlook to the Little Colorado, always a good stop.
Grand Canyon is a place of wonder but humans really screw it up. I get the same sick feeling sometimes that I get from Niagara Falls. Too many humans. Still... can't protest too damn much. Awesome even on a shitty day.
In any case, I got a call from a photographer friend a few weeks ago that was a real beauty.
You are almost ready to take good shots, young Quanchin Caine.
Your shots are almost good.
Well shit, I don't know what to say.
We talked again the other day. "You should have taken the telephone pole out of that. Your sunset is too dark. Too bad you didn't stay and take more angles of that one, I would have (I did).You're never going to be a real photographer until you start selling more work. Why are your daytime shots so dark?"
The point is, everybody can set their own rules for what is aesthetically appropriate. I am comfortable with mine. I rarely take unwanted objects out of shots. Cartier Bresson wouldn't even crop. Telephone poles are an aesthetically distressing fact of modern life. I like things as they are and not overly romanticized. I typically shoot my night and evening shots darker than others do. Why?
Because that is how I like them. You do yours any way you want to. Capiche? I of course, have been known to have an opinion and criticize. Feel free to tell me where to jump too. I am simply never going to take pictures the same way you take them. And I never will. What would be the point?
Photography is simply a means of recording and communicating visual images. I will communicate my way, sometimes knowingly imperfectly and I can live with that.
Saw a bull elk tearing down a tree by the side of the road. He was being mobbed by fools. Much like the french tourists petting the cow elk last time Ken and I were here.
I left the canyon a little bit queasy. Pushing the play portion of my return a little too hard, not ready for the sudden rush of humanity. Leslie found me a nice hotel in Williams, an hour away, the Grand Canyon Railroad Lodge. It was pouring rain when I got there. Had their excellent although expensive buffet.
Next morning posed a real problem. I could shag ass home in eight hours or so or I could go up to the canyon and give it one more college try. It was the solar eclipse, first since 1979 and who knew what it would do to the canyon's light and chroma?
In for a dime, in for a dollar. I stayed. Got up at 3:30 a.m.. Williams time is different from reservation time, the dineh stretch into four states and they want life to be uniform for them. I drove in darkness, trying not to hit a deer or elk and arrived at Grandview Point before dawn in a light rain and heavy wind.
Pretty glorious sunrise. Worth the price of admission and the extra two hours in the car.
I headed east, only a couple hours until the totality.
One of the amusing moments this day was when a guide told an indian woman that the oldest rock in the canyon was six thousand years old, within an arms length of a sign that set the date of the super rock at a 130 million.
I couldn't help it, I snorted and she gave me a death stare.
Later I saw another tour guide from Phoenix say the same basic thing and I got scared.
Checked with Kerry, yes there are creationist tours of the canyon now, free from such pesky trivialities as the fossil record, which everybody knows was faked.
Tried to engage a ranger but he went bible too, giving me a lecture on the length of one of god's days. Guess there are selling creationist material in the gift shops now.
Good to be back. Long ass trip.