Canyon Tales
The Bird Goddess
of Lake Powell

by Stan Wagon

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photo: Stan Wagon

My first trip to southeastern Utah was a houseboat trip on Lake Powell in 1990. I thought it would be boring, but that trip started a life–long interest in the canyons and plateaus of the Escalante area. We naturally wanted to see Rainbow Bridge, so we motored up to it, taking some pictures from the boat along the way. In those days I was using 35 mm film.

After the trip I looked at one of the prints and noticed something remarkable. In the center of the image was a natural feature that had an amazingly organic look. Cropping down to it led to an image that printed out well even at 20 inches.

Everyone seeing this image guesses that it is some sort of unusual fossil. But all I have done is rotated it 90 degrees. The right side is the shoreline cliff; the left side is a reflection in the calm water of the lake. Since I have no idea of the exact location or the lake level at the time of the shot, this is an image that is lost in space–time. I have tried to repeat the effect at other times, but have never gotten anything as striking as this.

Stan Wagon

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© 1990 & 2009 Stan Wagon