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Clouds roll over the Bears Ears. This part of Utah is seeing some of the driest conditions in years. There are fires burning just over the border in Colorado and springs on Cedar Mesa are going dry for the season. I was in the Bears Ears late last month looking at ancient artwork that was left out of the National Monument by the recent 85% reduction in the Monument's size.
Happy World Oceans Day! A young green turtle glides through the waters of Butterfly Bay. Sadly the scene is not as serene as it looks. The waters off Hook Island where this image was taken have lost much of their corals to bleaching associated with rising global temperatures. Turtles like this one are also susceptible to the explosion of single use plastic items that wind up in our oceans. Today lets each try to pick one thing we can do to make things better. It doesn't have to be big, just giving up plastic straws would be enough. Did you know in the US we use 500 million plastic straws PER DAY? At best they end up in landfills, at worse in our waterways and oceans. In the words of the tennis legend Arthur Ashe "start where you are, use what you have, do what you can." #worldoceansday @natgeo @natgeocreative
Its a landscape that has inspired countless artists. Ansel Adams, Bill Clift, Georgia O'Keeffe. Last week while I camped above Abiquiu Lake on my way to Utah for @ancientartarchive I could clearly see the source of their inspiration on display. #landofenchantment @natgeocreative @thephotosociety
The figures are often huge. These are over 6 feet tall and very shockingly well preserved. Barrier Canyon Style Pictographs are mostly known from the San Rafael Swell region of Central Utah. The style takes its name from the canyon of Barrier Creek that flows from the Swell into the Colorado River in Canyonlands National Park. For me these have always been the most evocative style of Utah rock art. The artists sense of style and storytelling resonate strongly with me. Age estimates vary but a safe age is in the 3,000 – 4,000 year BP range. #BCS #BarrierCanyon
Heading south from Green River a couple nights ago. This part of central Utah has to be one of the most remote regions in the US. #roadtrip
The Moki Dugway was built in 1957 by Texas Zinc to transport uranium ore from the mine in Fry Canyon to the processing plant in Mexican Hat. Both Mine and Mill are long closed but this unpaved switchback road that climbs 1100 feet from the floor of the Valley of the Gods to the top of Cedar Mesa remains is one of the most scenic and frightening drives in America. I just spent a couple days on Cedar Mesa looking at rock art for a National Geographic Society and @ancientartarchive project.Stay tuned for more! #toyota #roadtrip @natgeocreative @thephotosociety
Barrier Canyon Style Pictographs are mostly known from the San Rafael Swell region of Central Utah. The style takes its name from the canyon of Barrier Creek that flows from the Swell into the Colorado River in Canyonlands National Park. For me these have always been the most evocative style of Utah rock art. The artists sense of style and storytelling resonate strongly. In this panel the deterioration on the left is caused by natural waterfowl down the rock face. Did the artist plan for the work to be altered and covered by natural forces? We likely will never know. Age estimates vary but a safe age is in the 3,000 – 4,000 year BP range. #BCS #BarrierCanyon
Catching up on indexing in one of my favorite outdoor offices. I've been scouting a National Geographic Society project in the Bears Ears National Monument for the past week. This campsite is one I return to whenever I can. Working here makes office work not seem like a chore. @natgeocreative @thephotosociety #camping #roadtrip #toyota4runner
3 female figures, Southern Utah Photo by @salvarezphoto
The three of them have stood there overlooking the canyon for millennium. Imagine the changes they have seen. Drought, flood, cultures come and go. Villages flourish in the canyon country and are then abandoned. Native peoples replaced by Europeans looking for gold, oil, gas, uranium. These paintings have stood there witnessing all of it. They are Basketmaker paintings, a culture that collectively spans the introduction of corn into the Southwest. I am in Southern Utah this week looking at art that is both inside and outside the Bears Ears National Monument for @ancientartarchive.