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Deception


No, this is not a photograph of some remote uninhabited location on earth taken from space. I made this photograph on my first exploration into a slot canyon in Death Valley National Park.


I arrived in the early morning about an hour after sunrise. Mine was the only vehicle parked at the trailhead. Loose gravel crunched under my boots as I walked toward the entrance of the canyon. With the sun still low in the early November morning sky the air temperature was still comfortably chilly, shadows lingered everywhere, and a small cottontail rabbit scampered to safety several yards ahead of me. I was fascinated by all the geologic detail and caught off guard by the unexpected colorful landscape.


I must admit, I have lived a blessed life and have spent a good portion of my time exploring the natural world and thankfully while doing so I have had many opportunities to feel the sensation of wonder. I cherish those moments, and this was quickly becoming another series of moments filled with wonder.


Everywhere I looked something new begged for my attention! Colors, patterns, light, lines, shadow, and texture. From small details to the grand landscape there seemed to be a lifetime of photographic opportunities waiting to be discovered right here in this canyon.


The photograph above shows the details of a very small section of the canyon wall that was on my left as I stood just beyond the mouth of the canyon. I thought it was deceiving, hence the name I chose. As my eyes took in the details and studied the patterns of cracks and veins I reached out and touched the wall of ancient rock before me. I was surprised by how cold and smooth to the touch it was. I thought it was the perfect antonym for what I normally think of when I think about the desert.


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