Inside this issue
End frame: Raplee Anticline and the San Juan River, Utah by Christopher Brown
Russ Davis chooses one of his favourite images
I’m a retired software engineer spending as much time as possible camping and photographing in the American west.
When I first became interested in landscape photography, around the end of the last century, I started searching for information about my new hobby anywhere I could find it. I noticed an advertisement in the newspaper for a presentation of landscape prints at a local art centre and was intrigued by the name “Contemplative Photography”.
I didn’t know at the time how much that presentation would shape my photography in the future. The prints that day were by Christopher Brown a local, large format, fine art photographer, printmaker and photography instructor. One print in particular that got my attention was “Raplee Anticline and the San Juan River, Utah.” At the time I didn’t exactly know what attracted me to that image but it really spoke to me. After years of studying photography and art composition, I now realise the reasons why this image grabbed me. The leading S curve of the river and foliage, the multiple layers of eroded rock, the lovely colour palette and the curving diagonal lines of the Raplee Anticline in the background all draw your eye around and through this picture.
The prints presented that day were Cibachromes, also new to me, and it felt as though you could walk right into the photographs. The colour, depth and radiance of the polyester based prints were superb. When asked to write about a photograph that influenced and inspired me, this image came to mind immediately.
Intrigued by Chris’ presentation I signed up to attend the photography class he teaches at his studio. While covering the technical aspects of photography he also taught how to “learn to see”, compose thoughtfully and understand colour relationships.
This instruction has served me well over the years. Chris mentioned he captured this image on a camping trip while travelling from Colorado to the Grand Canyon. He spent many years as a Colorado River boatman guiding two week long river raft trips through the Grand Canyon.
On these trips, he photographed extensively with a 4 by 5 large format camera capturing countless images from grand landscapes to intimate scenes of areas few see in the canyon. His book “Path of Beauty” includes seventy five of his Grand Canyon images along with many detailed essays about his river trip experiences.
The geology of this area of southern Utah is also interesting. The Raplee Anticline, near the town of Mexican Hat, Utah, was formed by the same plate tectonics that pushed up the Rocky Mountains some eighty million years ago. Over the ages, as it winds its way toward Lake Powell the San Juan River has carved down through the anticline exposing many layers of sedimentary rock.
When I travel through that area I always take time to stop and “visit” this scene.