Single-image Sunday: Morning on the Slickrock   4 comments

I’ve mentioned slickrock before on this blog.  It is that sculpted and smooth sandstone that with few exceptions (Cappadocia, Turkey springs to mind) seems to be a unique feature of the American desert southwest. For hiking and mountain biking it can’t be beat.  There’s a freedom you feel on it, no trail, exploring at whim.  Because of its friction, you can walk or bike on crazy steep angles.  On any other surface you would quickly slip and fall on your behind.  If this happened around these parts you just might wind up making a mess thousands of feet below.

So if slickrock is so sticky for sneakers and bike tires, why on earth is it called slickrock?  The name goes back to pioneer days, when white explorers, miners and cowboys first traveled through this canyon country.  Their horses, shod with steel horseshoes, found it nearly impossible to gain any kind of purchase on this rock.  Horses can do much better on it with the hooves Mother Nature gave them, but shod they might as well be on an ice-skating rink.

This image I shot while riding my mountain bike one morning near Moab, Utah.  Moab is well known for its slickrock riding.  The Slickrock Trail is famous around the world, but since I’ve ridden that “trail” on two previous visits, I skipped it this time.  Instead I explored much less crowded slickrock rides a bit further from town.  This one, an area called Tusher, is about 18 miles north of Moab.  I had it to myself.  It’s a great ride, with a bonus: dinosaur bones are weathering out of the rock in the draw on the way up to the slickrock.

I’ve been trying for a picture that gets to the heart of hiking or riding the rollicking roller coaster that is slickrock.  I didn’t want a cyclist or hiker in the shot competing with the stone (easy on this day).  I also wanted to show both the texture and smooth curves of prime slickrock.  I think this image is as close as I’ve come.  Please let me know if you like it or not, and why.  Don’t be shy if you don’t; my skin is thick.

I hope your weekend is going well!

Morning sunlight on slickrock: Utah.  Please click on image for purchase options.  It's not available for free download.

Morning Sun on Slickrock: Utah. Please click on image for purchase options. It’s copyrighted & not available for free download.

4 responses to “Single-image Sunday: Morning on the Slickrock

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  1. Hey Michael – I love your descriptions of things, the way you tell stories, give history – really feeds my enjoyment of your shots. A vicarious thrill!

    As for the image, I like the shadows on the hills in the front – have a hard time getting perspective on the size as it’s hard to know if that is a bush or a tree upper left – think I would have preferred to have some people in it – lol. Also, it seems kind of washed out to my eye.

    For most folks I’d call it a good shot, for you, I’d call it a meh. Maybe I just don’t care for the straight into the sun-ness of it. Dunno – that’s what comes up for me.

    You asked. 🙂


    • Thanks for the feedback Rebecca. I really appreciate all types, negative, positive and in between. I learn more from negative, unfortunately most people don’t feel comfortable doing that. I think a biker who was in the washed out background would look great in this image. It would help with scale, though the small tree I thought did that. Anyway, I mostly like shooting into the sun, but since it’s well up here (though still low), it does have a bit of a washed out look to it. Whether it’s too much is personal taste, though it really depends on what display you’re using to view it. Thanks again for the compliments and feedback.

  2. I think you’ve done a wonderful job here with your image – really shows off the texture and curves, and I love the atmospheric lighting.

Please don't be shy; your words are what makes my day!

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