Thanks to Chaco Culture National Historical Park and the National Parks Arts Foundation I was able to spend the month of March 2016 at the park as the Artist-in-Residence, a truly amazing experience. Chaco Chief of Interpretation Nathan Hatfield and Tanya Ortega of the NPAF paved the way for me and future artists to live and work for an extended period in this incredible park in northwest New Mexico. Ancient great houses and archeological sites dating from 850 A.D. are located throughout Chaco Canyon and beyond the boundaries of the park. Working alone at the great houses at night was fascinating, the stillness broken by the occasional coyote howl or owl hoot. Designated as an International Dark Sky Park, the blackness above was filled with stars on the clear nights, a similar view that the ancient Chacoans must have had. The unusual quality of light from the moon illuminated the bricks of the structures. The zodiacal light, only seen in truly dark places, shone brightly after sunset. Here are images from the month’s work, roughly in chronological order. At the end are constellations from the botanical series I’m experimenting with and two time-lapse photos from Fajada Butte. All the rangers, staff and volunteers at Chaco Culture were incredibly helpful in making sure I had access to the pueblos for my work and also made the stay in the staff housing pleasant. Thanks to all of you at Chaco and at Aztec Ruins National Monument for the support.

Southwest sky, Pueblo del Arroyo, Mar. 1, 8:55 pm

Southwest sky, Pueblo del Arroyo, Mar. 1, 8:55 pm

Moon and Milky Way rising, Pueblo del Arroyo, Mar. 5, 4:23 am

Moon and Milky Way rising, Pueblo del Arroyo, Mar. 5, 4:23 am

Zodiacal Light, Pueblo del Arroyo, Mar. 6, 7:34 pm

Zodiacal Light, Pueblo del Arroyo, Mar. 6, 7:34 pm

International Space Station, Fajada Butte, Mar. 7, 5:08 am

International Space Station, Fajada Butte, Mar. 7, 5:08 am

One-day old moon, Pueblo Bonito, Mar. 9, 6:54 pm

One-day old moon, Pueblo Bonito, Mar. 9, 6:54 pm

Kiva, Chetro Ketl, Mar. 12, 7:57 pm

Kiva, Chetro Ketl, Mar. 12, 7:57 pm

Moon and clouds, Peñasco Blanco, Mar. 13, 8:45 pm

Moon and clouds, Peñasco Blanco, Mar. 13, 8:45 pm

Jupiter, North wall, Peñasco Blanco, Mar. 13, 9:10 pm

Jupiter, North wall, Peñasco Blanco, Mar. 13, 9:10 pm

Clouds, Peñasco Blanco, Mar. 13, 10:21 pm

Clouds, Peñasco Blanco, Mar. 13, 10:21 pm

Room, Pueblo Bonito, Mar. 15, 9:54 pm

Room, Pueblo Bonito, Mar. 15, 9:54 pm

Moon Halo, Una Vida, Mar. 16, 9:35 pm

Moon Halo, Una Vida, Mar. 16, 9:35 pm

Milky Way rising, Pueblo del Arroyo, Mar. 17, 4:18 am

Milky Way rising, Pueblo del Arroyo, Mar. 17, 4:18 am

Milky Way rising, Casa Rinconada, Mar. 20, 5:49 am

Milky Way rising, Casa Rinconada, Mar. 20, 5:49 am

Moonrise, Mar. 21, 7:30 pm

Moonrise, Mar. 21, 7:30 pm

Moonrise, rock, Fajada Butte, Mar. 23, 8:23 pm

Moonrise, rock, Fajada Butte, Mar. 23, 8:23 pm

Moonlight, Pueblo del Arroyo, Mar. 24, 9:07 pm

Moonlight, Pueblo del Arroyo, Mar. 24, 9:07 pm

Photographer, Pueblo del Arroyo, Mar. 26, 10:18 pm

Photographer, Pueblo del Arroyo, Mar. 26, 10:18 pm

Polaris, Pueblo Alto, Mar. 28, 12:06 am

Polaris, Pueblo Alto, Mar. 28, 12:06 am

Sirius, Pueblo del Arroyo, Mar. 26, 11:18 pm

Sirius, Pueblo del Arroyo, Mar. 26, 11:18 pm

Big Dipper, Little Dipper, Mar. 3, 2:24 am

Big Dipper, Little Dipper, Mar. 3, 2:24 am

Orion, Pueblo del Arroyo, Mar. 7, 7:20 pm

Orion, Pueblo del Arroyo, Mar. 7, 7:20 pm

Scorpius and Sagittarius, South Road, Mar. 18, 5:42 am

Scorpius and Sagittarius, South Road, Mar. 18, 5:42 am

Cassiopeia, Pueblo Bonito, Mar. 10, 8:10 pm

Cassiopeia, Pueblo Bonito, Mar. 10, 8:10 pm

 

Canopus sets, Fajada Butte, Mar. 17, 7:44-8:50 pm

Canopus sets, Fajada Butte, Mar. 17, 7:44-8:50 pm. Ranger G.B. Cornucopia pointed out early in my stay that the star Canopus, which is the second brightest star in the heavens, could be viewed low in the south between Fajada Butte and the mesa to the east. On star charts it appears just 1 degree above the horizon, from our location in the staff housing area it barely cleared the hills in the distance. This is an image showing just the movement of Canopus as it appears, then sets. A total of 53 separate shots over a period of 1 hours and 6 minutes were combined to make the final image. A moon two days past first quarter illuminates the landscape. In Frank Herbert’s novel Dune, Canopus is the home star of  Arrakis, the desert world.

 

Canopus sets (detail), Fajada Butte, Mar. 17, 7:44-8:50 pm

Canopus sets (detail), Fajada Butte, Mar. 17, 7:44-8:50 pm.  A crop of the first photograph shows the arc of Canopus above the horizon.

South sky, Fajada Butte, Mar. 29, 10:05-11:05 pm

South sky, Fajada Butte, Mar. 29, 10:05-11:05 pm

CHACO CULTURE 2016 | 2016 | New Work | Comments (10)

10 Responses to “CHACO CULTURE 2016”

  1. Hello Stan,
    I enjoy viewing your photos for their creativity. Each one is unique.

  2. Larry says:

    Thank you for sharing these amazing photos of Chaco’s dark night skies.

  3. richard says:

    Stan,

    I trust you will get pics of the “tailess comet.”

    Thanks for bringing us the heavens

  4. All wonderful!
    Canopus going across the sky is fabulous!
    Always so much to learn!
    Thank you, Stan, for teaching us with these lovely photos!
    Bonnie Lane Webber

  5. Ted Sauppe says:

    I really liked all of your photos Stan. You have skillfully created great works of art by combining the heavens above and nature below together into your shots.

  6. Phil says:

    Amazing images as always Stan. Thank you for sharing them.

  7. Bob Sedler says:

    Stan,

    The photos are incredible. Thanks very much for sending them to us. Rozanne and I send our best to you and Anne and hope that all is well.

  8. arlene bernstein says:

    dear stan: these are even more fabulous than your usual fabulous! arlene

  9. Lance says:

    Stan,

    LOVELY. Hope either NPS or [authorized vendor] National Parks and Monuments Association will allow your cards to be sold at Chaco Visitors Center. Please let me know when they become available for purchase.

    = lkd =

  10. Judith Katz-Schwartz says:

    Lovely! Thrilling photos!

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