What I have come to enjoy most about my time in the landscape, other than just being in it, is the discovery of the unexpected. As I mentioned in my entry on the Petroglyph Turnout, I tend to be more a wanderer than a “chaser of light”, as photographers often call themselves. That doesn’t mean light isn’t important to me, that would be ridiculous, but you would be less likely to find me photographing where, and when, I “thought” the light would be good than just photographing “where” the light is good—good for what I am trying to present in the photograph.
And one of the things I’ve learned making these extended trips is that once you realize how much time you do have, the more likely you will discover things. On earlier personal photographic trips, I would have a week (8-9 days) but maybe, with traveling 1000+ miles each way, only 4 to 6 days to actually photograph. This trip I had 19-20 days of working time and no more ground to cover. So, while it took awhile to fully realize this—and probably not until I was well into my fall trip—I did find myself going to places I had skipped over in the past.
On this day, there was a pretty good example of this as well as both finding the unexpected and the light being right at the time of discovery. It was mid day, and in May, the light is pretty much like one would find mid summer, very high and cold—but at least the temperatures are 20-30 degrees cooler—but today it was overcast again!
Although I had been very close to “Glass Mountain” in the past, I had never really found that area where it’s located conducive to the type of imagery I was making at those times—and, honestly, still don’t. With the “extra” time to slow down even more, I decided to search this place out as I was passing by it anyway. Thinking I would likely find an obsidian site, I was really surprised at what I did find. A “Mountain”–well, not quite–but how about the oddest “mound” I had ever seen. There are gypsum sinkholes all around this area but this was more a reversal of that process and a formation of unusually large crystals. Probably 12-15 feet high, the photographs of the mound itself don’t really do it justice. I just sat there for a few moments staring at it. What a truly odd, and amazing in its own way, thing this was!