My January 2010 Photo of the Month is New Year’s Day 2010, a photograph made during one of the greatest sunsets I have ever seen in San Diego. Continue reading
Update: Now that False Kiva has been closed by the National Park Service (for good reason!), I am glad that Jeremy and I made this trip back in 2010. Let’s exhort our hiking and photography enthusiasts to be more gentle with our fragile and sacred lands.
My good friend Jeremy Long and I ventured out into frozen Winter Utah to see many sights, not the least of which was Canyonlands National Park’s False Kiva ruin.
I don’t know who discovered this location, but I do know that Tom Till has the first image I ever saw from it. He is certainly the person who has made False Kiva famous.
There is no sign pointing you to False Kiva. The National Park Service does acknowledge it’s existence though, and you can get simple directions from an NPS Ranger. It is up to the individual to translate those simple directions into locating the ruin.
I don’t wish to write too much about the hike here, but it is advisable to have plenty of water and any backcountry gear in case of an emergency. While the hike is not long, you will not be close to help if you need it.
One issue I wanted to bring up is conservation and the larger photographic community. From what I have been told, False Kiva has not been the subject of archaeological study. When these happen, one of the most valuable resources is the midden. A midden is basically the landfill for Ancestral Puebloans (and other groups). Much can be learned from what the inhabitants disposed of.
At False Kiva, the midden is behind the ruin. The location is also a very tempting location for a photographer. There is a chain link across the midden asking people to not stand on it. Alas, when we visited, the chain was on the ground. Apparently, some photographers have decided to stand on it. This may ruin any archaeological value the ruin has.
I wanted to mention this to ask again that the community respect these signs and follow the rules, or there will be fewer and fewer places available to us to photograph. The location of False Kiva creates an incredible composition. Imagine if this place was closed off to people permanently.
San Diego rang in 2010 with one of the most spectacular sunsets I have ever seen.
I went to Sunset Cliffs Natural Park to enjoy the first sunset of the year. The clouds looked good, and as the sun was getting close to the horizon, I noticed a lot of glow on the clouds. The light was getting through. This was a definite hint to stay for the show.
Moments after sunset, the clouds really started to show some color. This usually takes some time, so I knew something spectacular was about to happen. The color was so red and so bright that it reflected on everything. People admiring the light had red faces. The windows on the homes along Sunset Cliffs Boulevard were bright red. It was astounding.
If you look closely at this image, you will see several surfer relaxing on their boards, enjoying the scene from the ocean. I wonder what they thought of the show, what that moment of nature and peace meant to them. Was it different from me standing on the cliffs above?
My favorite image of the night is the one presented here. It shows Ross Rock and spectacular color. As the light began to fade, there were spectacular dark clouds contrasting with all that color. To me, that is the strength of this image. Dark with light, blending together.
A friend of mine sent me a message later in the evening saying that I shoot Sunset Cliffs all the time, so if I missed the show tonight, I really messed up. I immediately sent him my first edit in Lightroom. No, I didn’t miss it.
Clouds this bright and this red require a lot of water vapor. This doesn’t always happen in our region because the Mediterranean climate is generally arid. That is one reason that we cherish these events when they happen. Thankfully, I was at Sunset Cliffs and waiting for the light.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy the image.