ALAN STENBACK PHOTOGRAPHY

ALAN STENBACK PHOTOGRAPHY

Under the relentless desert sun, with temperatures soaring, I arrived from the south under the vast expanse of clear blue skies and endless horizons. My destination: Shiprock, a remote and sacred place nestled in the northwestern stretches of New Mexico.

Shiprock, a place of profound sanctity and awe-inspiring sublimeness, right in the heart of the Navajo Nation. A voyage into the very essence of nature’s artistry, where my goal was to capture the enchantment of a monumental rock formation that stands as an enduring testament to the forces of time, culture, and geological wonder.

As I delved into the history of Shiprock, I uncovered its profound connection to the Navajo people. They call it “Tsé Bitʼaʼí,” or “Rock with Wings,” and their legends say it’s the petrified remains of a giant bird that once carried their ancestors. My research only added layers of mystique to my creative endeavor. This was more than a landscape shoot, it was like I was painting not just rock but a canvas steeped in their remarkable history.

Shiprock New Mexico

In my quest to capture Shiprock’s true essence, I scouted several locations along Route 491 to the east and Route 64 to the north. Yet, it was Indian Service Route 13 to the south that truly called to me. Here, the views were striking and iconic, offering the most majestic view of Shiprock’s grandeur. I also discovered a few discreet pull outs from which I could view and photograph the pinnacle without encroaching on any sacred land.

As the sun began its descent, I felt that electrifying excitement I always do in the desert. Using my telephoto lens, I zoomed in, eager to capture the intricate details of Shiprock’s surface. The sun’s golden light cast enchanting shades of yellow and orange, accentuating the rock’s every nook and cranny. It was a dance of light and shadow, highlighting the deep crevices and dramatic crags of Shiprock’s weathered façade.

Shiprock New Mexico

Standing at an impressive height of 1,583 feet above the desert floor, Shiprock soared above me like a sentinel of time. Its dike walls, composed of vertical igneous rock known as minette, radiated outward from the central formation. These dikes add an extra layer of intrigue to Shiprock’s already unique appearance, creating a visual masterpiece that beckoned me closer.

My trip  to Shiprock was more than just a photo expedition; it was a creative pilgrimage through time, culture, and nature’s artistry. Shiprock isn’t just a rock; it’s a canvas of geological wonder and a testament to the enduring legacy of the Navajo people. It’s a memory etched in colors, shapes and emotions. After longing to take this adventure for several years,  I’m proud to share this artistic journey with you.

Shiprock New Mexico

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Shiprock