October 13, 2014

Water Reflects Stone

Water Reflects Stone - Zion National Park

Water reflects stone.
Stone reflects water.

I spent a good 20 minutes musing on a zen-like statement for this image. Once I came up with it, it seemed obvious. Despite its official desert status, water is everywhere in Zion. It's often hidden. But it's there. Sometimes it takes its sweet time, literally ten of thousands of years to permeate down though layers of sandstone and emerge as a seeping vernal spring. Other times it rumbles boulders the size of cars in a torrential flash flood. Alongside a raging Virgin River, I've felt those boulders quake the earth beneath my feet. It reminds you who's boss. If you aren't awestruck and humbled, better check your pulse.

Beyond such dramatic moments, things quieten pretty quickly. You might hike a canyon and only happen upon water in a single pothole. Or be walking a sandy creek bed, your feet on solid footing until a sudden turn finds your boot neck deep in quicksand. In much of my Zion wanderings, I follow water. Often just the hint of it. It took me awhile to understand this subtlety, inspiring more recent explorations into areas I would've ignored in the past.

The spring fed creek that allowed for the image here is a trickster. It often dries up in the day as the sandstone warms and evaporates the water faster than it can flow. But the shallow pools, often in shade, remain. Fortunately, I'd witnessed this effect the year before and, after a summer of heavy monsoonal precipitation this year, suspected the drainage might hold photographic promise.

Indeed, it did.


We always point the lens both outward and inward.

Paul Caponigro