First Impression of a Masterpiece
Though it was by far my longest drive, the trip to the Painted Hills District of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument turned out to be the most rewarding of my mornings in Oregon. Instead of spending most of my effort trying to recognize a grand vista the way I had in the two previous locations, I swapped lenses for a short telephoto zoom and never looked back. Working subjects at distances ranging from hundreds of yards to right at my feet, I only found myself wishing for even more reach in order to further isolate colors and shapes from their surroundings. Sunrise was already in progress by the time I had settled on a spot from which to watch it unfold, but shadows lingered over the hills for quite some time. Instead of sitting still, I continued to explore various vantages, returning to favorites as the light progressed.
The two photos here show my immediate response to the landscape. Before sunlight began interacting with the scene, is was the ground itself that provided all the intrigue, and it did not disappoint. The design in the unique colors certainly suggests an artist at work, and beneath the artist’s “brushwork”, the form of the land has been sensuously sculpted.