Anasazi: The Chaco Canyon Collection, Part 5 - The Call of Chaco: Little Bird


The tour lasted about an hour and afterwards the group of about twenty broke up and we had Pueblo Bonito virtually to ourselves to photograph, and since it was getting late in the afternoon we wouldn’t shoot Chetro Ketl until the following day.

There are many photographs of Pueblo Bonito taken from aircraft and one of the first things to notice is the huge pile of rocks and boulders, weighing thousands of tons, that has fallen on the northeast section of the ruin. All of these were part of a huge section of the mesa, called Threatening Rock. The inhabitants of the great ruin were quite aware of the Rock slowly separating from the mesa and had built a giant bracing of logs that held the section of stone at bay for hundreds of years. Ironically, the Rock fell in 1941 after “modern” man tried to improve on the bracing. The Rock destroyed 65 rooms of the multi-storied structure. You can’t easily comprehend what a monumental undertaking this was for the Chacoans until you stand next to the huge pile of devastation.

For me, photographing Pueblo Bonito was a bit different than it was for the other ruins. I had a harder time with compositions, although I’m not completely sure why. It may be due to the size and layout of the ruin, I don’t know. I guess I felt a little disoriented, and I had difficulty just getting started. I remember watching Sherisa as she was shooting. She was having no difficulties at all as far I could tell. Maybe it had something to do with the two ravens that had taken an interest in her presence there. I will leave it to her to explain…an intriguing experience. After about the first hour things started to come together and I was eventually satisfied with some of my compositions.

The late afternoon/early evening air was fresh and still, absolutely perfect for photography. We shot until it started to get dark plus we had to be out of there by sunset, when the park closes for the day. You have to pay an hourly fee if you want to remain in the park after sunset. You will be accompanied by a park ranger while you are shooting. Personally I think it is a good thing that overnight stays inside the park are restricted because it adds to the preservation of the rugged but fragile area. I plan to do this on my next visit for some serious night photography and light painting.

My sincere thanks to Ronald Roybal for allowing me the honor of using his song “Little Bird” from his brilliant CD “The Buffalo Hunters”. Ronald is a Native American flutist and classical guitarist in Santa Fe, New Mexico. With his music these photographs convey a true spirit of this beautiful place. For more information about Ronald visit his website: www.ronaldroybal.com
The site is very interactive with lots of media and ordering CDs & DVDs is easy.

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