Walking through this place was one of the most peaceful and enjoyable things I've had the pleasure of experiencing. The juxtaposition of vivid leaves with warm desert tones and geology makes an unusually beautiful combination. I love this scene because it captures an incredibly ephemeral moment in time. The wash had just been flooded, leaving the sand wet and forming gorgeous ripple and wave patterns. The vivid leaves fell onto the sand and rested there. A few days earlier, there would have been dry, loose sand and no leaves. A few days later, and there would be dry, loose sand and a bunch of dry, dead, colorless leaves.
This was a rather precarious scene to capture. I used my Intrepid 4x5 view camera, and view cameras are designed to be used perfectly level. They have a flat "bed" on which are mounted two moving "standards," one holding the film, and the other holding the lens, connected by a fabric bellows in between. Tipping that assembly on end so it faces the ground puts all the weight on the standard mounts, which aren't made to support it. It also makes viewing the dim ground glass under a focusing hood very difficult, as I had to lean out over the top of the tripod, which was balanced spread over these leaves, trying not to ruin the delicate mud with footprints or shadow, while focusing on the reversed & inverted ground glass. Then it began to rain! I was in a flash flood wash, where 7 people were suddenly killed by a flash flood a couple years ago. I hurriedly finished the image and ran to high ground to wait out the rain before getting back to work.
(Click the image to view it full screen.)
This large format film image was made on Fuji Velvia 100 with my Intrepid 4x5 Camera and Schneider-Kreuznach 90mm ƒ/8 Super-Angulon lens. 2s @ ƒ/45, swing & tilt. It was my only exposure of this scene.