Parallel Lines – From the “Humanlandscapes” portfolio

Taken in the Southwest USA in a slot canyon with a Nikon system.” Parallel Lines” is the first in a series of images shot on film in one of my favorite places in all the world, the slot canyons of the American Southwest. These canyons are unique, gorgeous, magical, and carry a special meaning to the original peoples of the area. As Rulan Tangen wrote in the introduction to my book “Humanlandscapes“…

It is impossible to disentangle human imagery from that of nature–hair as twisted grass, slivers of moon as fingernails, ribs, or arms, fingers as tree branches, feet as roots, eyes as stars, and veins as rivers. The Milky Way was a great female cleft to the Mayans, as the slot canyons are to others–the emergence point of humanity and creation. Where does the land end and self begin–only you can decide.

The process of erosion of the earth’s crust by wind and water over many centuries of time has sculptured the stone into sensuous and feminine lines. One of the largest and most famous of these slot canyons is the “Narrows” in the heart of Zion National Park. Walking into this canyon when the flow from the Virgin River is low in the late summer is truly a religious experience, with the swirling canyon walls soaring hundreds of feet into the sky, and spectacular light cascading brilliant colors everywhere. This beauty is simply too amazing to ignore, and the rewards for finding and exploring theseĀ  varied places are great. There are literally hundreds of smaller slot canyons scattered throughout the Southwest and we will visit several more before moving on to other topics. The forces of nature are visible everywhere in this area, with the water being the most powerful. During the summer, the washes leading into the slots are dry and calm, with little hint as to the raging torrents that can develop with little warning and lead to fatal outcomes for the unwary. There is an IMAX theater just outside of Zion National Park with a fabulous show that will give you a visual tour of some canyons and the power of the storms. If you visit this area, I would highly recommend stopping for this show. It is well worth the time and money.

P. Miller