Meanderings: Luminous-Landscape to MacKenna’s Gold


I spend a lot of time ‘wandering’ or meandering around the Web. I start looking up one thing and then, following related links, I end up somewhere completely off the track from where I started.

In this case I started out deciding to see if there was anything new and interesting on one of the many photography sites I visit which is the Luminous-Landscape. Luminous-Landscape is here if you want to have a look at it. If you are into photography then this is a site you will probably find a lot of interest in.

BriotPic Anyway, continuing my meanderings I ended up going to a new article posted on Luminous-Landscape where Alain Briot provides us with some insights into some of his photographs. This time he was giving us the back-story to a picture of his called “Comb Ridge Clouds” (Ctrl+Click the picture at right to go to the page). It turns out this shot was taken in Monument Valley in the USA, which is one of only about five places on the planet that I would actually like to see one day.

In his article he mentions Navajoland. So now I decide to Google “Navajoland” as I have some interest in the Navajo (pronounced as nav-uh-hoh) Indians. From this I learn that Navajoland is an area inclusive of Monument Valley. Assuming I have not got this wrong, basically Navajoland is equivalent to the ‘new’ Navajo Nation.

CanyondeChilly In reading the Wikipedia article about Navajoland I come across an interesting strong sepia picture of the Canyon de Chilly (pronounced ‘shay’)—which is encompassed in the land parcel that makes up Navajoland (the link behind the picture at left will take you to the Navajoland page at Wikipedia).

So now my interest swaps to Canyon de Chilly and in looking around the Web I find that one of the more famous landmarks around Canyon de Chilly is Spider Rock. Spider Rock certainly sounded like it was worth looking up.

SpiderRock When I did the search for Spider Rock I am not too sure what I was thinking it was going to look like. I think I sort of thought it might be some kind of rock that had been worn away in such a manner as to leave it standing up in the air supported by a number of ‘legs’—possibly eight! But it is nothing like that.

Spider Rock, as you can see in the picture at right, is two towers of rock (possibly it could be considered as one with a split down the middle). One of the towers is about 25 percent higher than the other.

It seems that the name Spider Rock comes from the Navajo because they believe that the spider woman lives on the top of the higher tower.

The top of the tallest tower is 800 feet above the canyon floor. For us in Australia that is pretty close to 250 metres which is 1 quarter of kilometre. If that doesn’t help with giving you an idea of the height then it about the same as a 60 story building—and we don’t have any buildings that high in Perth. The highest we currently have is Central Park which has 51 levels and is 210 metres to the highest level; 224 metres if you include the 14 metre final (spire) at the top.

This picture was found on Flickr in a collection belonging to Sheldon Branford. If you are interested in Monument Valley ‘mesa’ style pictures then Sheldon has a great set that he has taken and shared on Flickr. Clicking, or Ctrl+Clicking, on the picture above will take you to Sheldon’s collection. I am trusting that Sheldon is okay with me using his copyright image in my posting as this blog is purely a hobby and I make no financial gain from doing so.

Continuing on, as I researched Spider Rock I found out that this is the very same rock spire as used in the movie MacKenna’s Gold, which is one of my all time favourite movies. In the movie the morning shadow cast by the rock spire helps MacKenna find the entrance to a lost hidden arroyo that has walls containing ‘rivers’ of solid gold. Spider Rock is called Shaking Rock in the movie and from memory it comes crashing down at the end of the movie—but I might be wrong.


And that is how I meandered from the Luminous-Landscape to MacKenna’s Gold.

I will leave you with another shot of Spider Rock, this time complete with a shadow cast although I have no idea if it is a morning or afternoon shadow. This shot is from Bryan Chang’s Flickr portfolio and the picture provides the link if you would like to see more.