Wupatki-artist-in-residence

May 15, 2013

Wednesday, May 15

The spectacular sunset silhouettes the tallest wall on the Wupatki Pueblo.

The spectacular sunset silhouettes the tallest wall on the Wupatki Pueblo. (Click to enlarge)

I’ll be spending the next 10 days as artist-in-residence at Wupatki National Monument, an amazing place north of Flagstaff, Arizona. It’s a site with many pueblo ruins that date from the 1100s. I’ll be doing the night sky landscapes in and around the ruins. A group called Flagstaff Area National Parks wants to help promote Wupatki, nearby Sunset Crater and Walnut Canyon National Monuments. The Wupatki staff are hoping to use one of my night photos to help promote the night programs at the park.

I flew into Flagstaff Tuesday afternoon and it was mostly cloudy with a bit of sun. After shopping for food in Flagstaff it started to rain. Not such a great start to the trip, I thought. The clouds persisted on the drive up towards Wupatki, which is about 30 miles north of Flagstaff. Holly, the head ranger, greeted me and showed me the apartment I’m staying in near the Visitors Center. It’s a nice 1 bedroom place that is part of a single story building with 4 apartments. Holly and two other staff people live there full-time.

The view straight out of the front window is the Painted Desert- a spectacular vista of various colored buttes and geological formations all the way to the horizon. I was eating dinner when I looked out the window and saw the landscape glowing orange. Sunset! I grabbed my cameras and headed to the Wupatki Pueblo (picture below), a ruin just behind the Visitors Center. The storm clouds broke just enough to see the sun setting and provided one of the most brilliantly colored sunsets I’ve seen. Clouds were blazing in orange, reds and yellows behind the pueblo and the distant mountains. (Picture above) So it turned out to be a really great start photographically for this trip.

Sandstone and basalt glowing orange from the last rays of the sun

Sandstone and basalt glowing orange from the last rays of the sun.

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