Friday, January 30, 2009


Imperial Point, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona July 1996

During the summer of '96, the three of us -- Ellen, myself, and our daughter, Libbie -- spent about six weeks traveling out and across most of the mountainous west -- Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Utah, etc. While Ellen and I had been on the North Rim a few years before, we wanted Libbie to experience the more rustic atmosphere of the less developed and less populated side of the Grand Canyon. We had gotten up early one morning to watch the sunrise at Imperial Point and were joined by a crowd of at least six people. Just as the sun broke the horizon and spread rays of light through the mid-summer haze, the early morning chill was broken by the sound of shutters clicking and whiring little motor drives of the P/S film cameras(A sound you wouldn't hear today.) There was a group of four Japanese tourist, one woman and three men if I remember correctly, who let out collective "ahhhhs" and "ohhhhs" and the one camera between them clicked and whirred, but only for about three frames. Sudden silence from the group as they stared at the camera and listened to the motor rewind the film. Suddenly two of them broke from the group and raced up the hill towards the parking lot just as the first rays of the sun hit the viewing area. As they rushed past where Ellen and Libbie were seated observing it all, Libbie says to her mother, "They must be vampires." No, they were merely racing back to their vehicle for another roll of film.

Because we had not gotten to Imperial Point early enough for me to set up the tripod and view camera during the first visit, and because we had other plans for the next morning, this image was made two mornings later. Interestingly there were only four people on the Point that morning including myself. It was a bit more clear, but still enough haze for good rendition of the receding promitories. As luck would have it, this second morning had better clouds, too. I have look through the work of a number of photographers who have photographed the Grand Canyon, and have yet to see images from Imperial Point. I have additional images made that morning, but this one best expressed the moment.


Whitney said...

This is gorgeous Frank. Tere's a surprisingly wide range of tones in this images. Is this a silver print?

Ross Randles said...

I really like this pic. Frank!

pitchertaker said...

Thanks, y'all. While I have a couple of vintage silver prints in the archive, and have sold a few silver prints of this images, what you see here is a new scan from the 4x5 negative. Any new prints will be digitally produced. IMHO, good scans printed on papers such as Epson Exhibition Fiber are better than silver prints. Slowly as I gain experience, the monotone prints (these are not gray scale prints, but rather desaturated RGB files) I able to make currently exceed what I can do in the darkroom. There are some that don't like to hear that, but the "dark side" is pulling me more heavily everyday. You'll note in my profile that I'm now shooting with a new Canon 5D MK-II. Gettin' serious about this digital stuff....


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