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Indian Country

Arizona Window, Meteor Crater, 2000

This photograph was taken at the visitor center of Meteor Crater, AZ. It symbolizes for me the archetypal tourist viewing and photographing the landscape of this desert and mountain state. A photograph of a photographer in a picture window. How poetic.

In early December, 2000 fellow landscape photographer Steve Kossack and Videographer / Director Chris Sanderson and I spent a week traveling some 1,800 miles through the area of the Southwestern U.S. known as Indian Country. This area, the so-called Four Corners region of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah is home to the Navajo Nation as well as other native Americans. It also is one of the premier locations for landscape photography in the Southwestern United States.

I have photographed in this area frequently on this trip and returned to several of the sites visited for a second or even third time. The weather was cold (below freezing at night and mid-50's during the day) but the plus side was that there were very few tourists, and reservations were not needed at any of the location's motels and lodges. So, we were able to move about freely and were not bound to a tight schedule or rigid motel reservations. This is in sharp contrast to touring the region at other times of year when heavy tourism makes advance reservations mandatory.

A D30 Shoot

This trip was a unique event for me. I shot more than 1,500 images and didn't expose a single roll of film. The reason for this was that I spent the week shooting with the new Canon D30 digital SLR. If you're not yet familiar with this exciting new camera a good place to start is with my D30 review.

This was my first major shoot with a digital SLR and the D30 in specific. I'm pleased to report that the camera's performance exceeded expectations in most respects. As I've reported elsewhere I find the autofocus to be deficient due to only having 3 sensors, and other gripes that I've already mentioned continued to annoy. Image quality though, I'm pleased to say, was as excellent as my early tests had shown. More commentary on using the D30 is available in each individual section.

Monument Valley

Mittens Dawn

Monument Valley is both remote and familiar. We've all seen its buttes and canyons in countless western movies, from John Wayne sagas to the most recent MI2. For a photographer it is endlessly fascinating, and early December, 2000 found me there yet again.

Canyon de Chelly

The Window

One of the least visited yet loveliest National Monuments in the American Parks system, Canyon de Chelly lies in the remote northeastern corner of Arizona inside the Navajo Nation. This was my second visit to the town of Chinle and the nearby Canyon in less than 2 years.

Bisti Badlands

Mushroom 1

In a remote corner of Northern Arizona lies a little-know wilderness area called the Bisti Badlands. Though our time there was limited we were fascinated by the photographic possibilities and the delicacy of the geology.

Lower Antelope Canyon

Lower Antelope 3

An icon of contemporary landscape photography, Antelope Canyon continue to fascinate. After being closed for a couple of years due to the tragic deaths of 11 photographers and tourists in a flash flood, Lower Antelope has now reopened.

Grand Canyon

What can one say about the Grand Canyon? I've visited both the North and South Rims and rafted the Colorado River through its heart. With this visit I've now also flown over it in a sightseeing plane. The circle is complete.

Rock Art

Pictographs and petroglyphs are a visual record created by ancient peoples, and Indian Country contains many hundreds of such locations. On this journey I was fortunate enough to have visited and photographed an obscure and very well preserved Anasazi ruin and set of pictographs.

Lesser Know Locations

Agathla Peak

No region, including Indian Country, is composed solely of famous or popular locations. This section shows several photographs taken in lesser know or even totally unfamiliar locales.


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Concepts: Arizona, Photography, Navajo Nation, Canyon de Chelly National Monument, New Mexico, Four Corners, Digital single-lens reflex camera, Apache County, Arizona

Entities: Chinle, Canon, United States, Monument Valley, Grand Canyon, Colorado River, Navajo Nation, Michael Reichmann, John Wayne, Chris Sanderson, Steve Kossack, Videographer, Arizona, mountain state, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, SLR

Tags: Indian Country, Bisti Badlands, Navajo Nation, digital slr, landscape photography, Monument Valley, Canyon, so-called four corners, fellow landscape photographer, rigid motel reservations, Director Chris Sanderson, Southwestern United States, remote northeastern corner, countless western movies, John Wayne sagas, little-know wilderness area, exciting new camera, contemporary landscape photography, nearby canyon, Meteor Crater, Antelope Canyon, archetypal tourist, Canon D30, advance reservations, sharp contrast, Grand Canyon, Steve Kossack, picture window, single roll, unfamiliar locales, Southwestern U.S, heavy tourism, Arizona, native americans, major shoot, visitor center, tight schedule, Anasazi ruin, Lower Antelope, early tests