Bisti Wilderness is Beastly Bold! June 08 2009, 0 Comments

Today, at dawn, I walked into the New Mexico desert, an area called the Bisti Wilderness, or for some, the Bisti Badlands. At first, it was as though I had walked to the edge of the earth. But as I kept on hiking further into the desert, I realized that this is how the earth will look thousands of years after man ceases to exist.


The desert floor was hard and caked from baking in the sun. What appeared to once be river beds were bone dry making them easy to cross. For the first mile in there was little to photograph and then as though I had snapped my fingers, the most incredible stone structures, petrified stone, began to appear.

These rock formations have been eroding for thousands of years. They are an intricate display of sculptured weathering. As I began to take photographs, I couldn’t help but see these magnificent structures as what might be left of an ancient city or temples built to the Greek Gods. The creative mind might see a small village. I sat down on several occasions to take a break from the heat (although there was no shade) and sat at stone “tables” with the fruit and juice I had brought with me.

I was also struck by how still the wilderness was, how silent. While I found this really relaxing, enabling me to work very intensely, I was also aware that this environment is no place to have an emergency!

The light reflecting off the desert floor meant that every image taken had to be manually taken. That is, I had to measure the light and set the f-stop, often bracketing the shot as well. To photograph this type of landscape well, an SLR used in the manual mode is necessary.

After hiking some three miles inside of this grand wilderness area and capturing more than 200 photographs, my face and forearms were beginning to burn. The heat radiating from the desert floor called this photo shoot to an end, the discovery temporarily suspended, the journey momentarily concluded.