Image No. 8, No. 9 and No. 10

Fallen Petrified Log, Bisti Badlands, NM

Image No. 8 – Fallen Petrified Log, Bisti Badlands, NM  © jj raia


Image No. 8, 9 and 10
There are so many things at the Bisti that could keep a photographer busy for months if not years. One of those things is petrified logs. I had read about them but in all my wandering, I had not come across any. But my chance meeting with the two photographers with whom I shared a beer and happened to meet up with the next morning, pointed me in the direction towards an entire new amphitheater about a quarter mile beyond and on the same side as the egg factory that had several complete petrified tree trunks!! I found this one just lying there, probably buried thousands of years ago only to finally be exposed to view again after all the surrounding sediment had been eroded away. It was about 30 feet in length and seemed totally complete while some smaller examples nearby seemed to explode into thousands of tiny pieces lying around the log. What causes some to decay like that and others remain complete I haven’t a clue but the sights of both these were certainly thought provoking.

Lichen on Petrified Wood, Bisti Badlands, NM

Image No. 9 – Lichen on Petrified Wood, Bisti Badlands, NM

Lichen on Petrified Log, Bisti Badlands, NM

Image No. 9a – Lichen on Petrified Log, Bisti Badlands, NM









After photographing some of the weirdly shaped rocks and this log, the sun had risen too high to really continue and as I headed back out of this wonderful spot, I noticed another log of similar length lying on the opposite side of this large area and for some unknown reason, I felt the need to see the other side of it even though there was nothing on the side facing me that seemed special in any way. But when I circled around to the opposite side of the log, I found some amazingly colored lichen growing on the log!! Luckily that side of the log was still in shadow and I was able to record several areas before the sun reached around making it too contrasty to continue. Even though these patterns were beautiful the entire length of the log, for the most part there was no particular spot that really could be used as a focal point to center the attention when composing within the frame.

But I did finally find one small design element that I could use. I have always been in awe of abstract photographs that I had seen when I first began photographing and noticed many of mine seemed to lack something. It wasn’t until I realized that ones made by other photographers I had admired, especially by Eliot Porter,  always seemed to have something within the abstraction that draws your attention right away and from there you wander through the rest of the image. So that is why I felt it so necessary to find something that would draw attention to itself first within the entire photograph as in Image 9 which I find a bit more successful than 9a, taken just a few feet away.

An image that I took hiking back after what was already a long day, even shot in sunshine which is generally not a good idea, was a spot I had seen a few times passing by on the way to the Egg Factory of those same brilliant red rock chips lying on a large mound of black sediment. It was easier to find a focal point using the dried skeleton of a bush surrounded by these small rock shards, which immediately draws you in and then work your way around the frame.

Red Stone, Skeleton and Coal, Bisti Badlands, NM

Image No. 10 – Red Stone, Skeleton and Coal, Bisti Badlands, NM  © jj raia



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