My cover story in the current issue of National Geographic - about the battle over Public lands in the American West - is one of the most complex stories I’ve ever covered. The issue (Nov) is still on news stands for this week only I think. The cast of characters are all deeply entrenched and have wildly divergent views of what “Public” means. This is not a new fight, it just has a new piece on the board, as the current administration aims to please its voter base and extractive industries by undoing large areas of National Monuments established by Democrats, specifically the Dec 2017 reduction of Escalante by 50% and Bears Ears by 85% (both in Utah). Some in the surrounding areas of the National Monuments we covered for this story think “public” means “local public” and would prefer not to see the larger "general public" show up in large numbers. Indigenous people in the region think the larger public stole it a long time ago and are fighting for protection of sacred sites in places like Bears Ears. Some think “public” means that resource extraction should remain an option to benefit the public's need for lumber, oil and gas, coal, and uranium. The one thing that is certain, after covering 3 National Monuments, is that it wont likely be resolved in this generation, and that it is being inflamed by the current Culture War.
Cover: Matt Redd, Rancher, Indian Creek, Bears Ears, UT Slide 2: Thomas, a lumberjack in Cascade Siskiyou, OR Slide 3: Kenneth Mary Boy makes a sunrise prayer, Bears Ears Slide 4: Sandy Johnson, 4th generation Rancher who lives inside the Bears Ears Monument boundaries Slide 5: Protests in Slat Lake before Trump signs the reductions Slide 6: Janet, a super nice red headed grandma who writes an anti-Monument blog in Blanding, UT between canning fruit and quilting Slide 7: Malcolm Lehi, Ute Mountain Ute Tribe marches in protest of a Uranium Mill on the edge of Bears Ears Slide 8: Kyle Kimmerle, 4th generation Uranium and Vanadium miner has mines under Bears Ears, Uranium isnt worth enough to mine, but he hopes hopes to mine Vanadium in the same tunnels as soon as he is able (used for solar batteries)
Climbing out the end of Zebra slots in #EscalanteNationalMonument, Utah. Last December the larger Monument was shrunk by around %50 and split into 3 smaller units by Executive Order. These slots, carved over thousands of years by water in red and white striped sandstone, were not removed but the trail to get to them, and the larger buffer area around them was. This opens the area for potential resource extraction in the future. Shot on assignment for @natgeo magazine for the current cover story (Nov).
The slot canyons of Escalante National Monument tell a tale of time, in waves of red sandstone, like no other. Looking up at the sky through Zebra, shot on assignment for @NatGeo photographing the slot canyons in Southern Utah. Im out here photographing sites that were recently removed or otherwise affected when the Monument was shrunk by around %50 and split into 3 smaller units by Executive Order. These slots were not removed but the trail to get to them, and the larger buffer area around them were removed opening the area for potential resource extraction. Watch my IG story feed in the coming days for video and stills from these slots!
The Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Summer gathering, where 5 tribes came together to celebrate the National Monument they helped bring into existence. #BearsEars has become a symbol of Indigenous solidarity and resistance far beyond the tribes of the South West as groups from coast to coast come together to protect sacred spaces. In this image the James brothers from the Lummi tribe in the Pacific NorthWest are honored for bringing a gift of sacred Bear totem to the Inter-Tribal coalition. To learn more about the Indigenous connection to the Monument and to submit your comments on the situation please check out @protectbearsears and the link in their header.
Watch for the handprints on the ceiling! This is a virtual model (made up of thousands of photographs stitched together into a virtual object) of Ancestral Pueblo granaries on Cedar Mesa, in what was formerly #bearsearsnationalmonument in Utah. This looks like video but it’s actually #photogrammetry. This project to create scientifically accurate models for conservation and education was created with my partner @devlin_gandy and made possible by a grant from @insidenatgeo. These experiences can be shifted to provide ways for elders to visit Ancestral sites, for kids in urban areas to learn about other cultures and times through VR in the classroom, and the models themselves can be used by archaeologists around the world to study changes over time and to create accurate measurements virtually. We also hope to use these to educate the public about the importance of these cultural heritage sites without them having to visit in person when they are either too sensitive or too remote to access. Important note: we did not enter these structures, we used small cameras with lights on poles to create the images that were stitched to firm the interiors. Never enter a structure like these if you happen upon them! For more about Bears Ears checkout my current cover story in @natgeo magazine! And for more info about site etiquette and how to #VisitWithRespect visit @cedarmesafriends.
SOUND ON! This is a small sample clip of a 360 experience we built as part of my current cover story in @natgeo magazine (Nov). You are looking at a perfectly preserved Kiva in #BearsEarsNationalMonument, Utah, with storytelling by @marlon.magdalena from Jemez Pueblo. You can find the link to the full interactive version of this in the link in my header (first download the “YouTube” app to view it and after clicking the link be sure to then click “open app” at the top). While this looks like a video, the world you move through is actually a virtual model that takes you into the various rooms of the 800-1000 year old dwelling and ceremony room of this Ancestral Pueblo site. (From the BLM: While this includes a digital simulation of a fire inside the Kiva, building fires within cultural resource sites on public lands is illegal and can damage the integrity of the site). My partner in this project was @devlin_gandy and we were able to make this experience thanks to funding from @insidenatgeo and National Geographic magazine, and the video with the help of @max.salomon from @blackdotfilmsvr! LINK IN HEADER! Special thanks to our field producer and cultural advisor Kevin Madalena (@jemezscientist_occamschainsaw)! We couldn’t have done it without you! #photogrammetry
Grand Gulch winds snake-like through 60 miles of sandstone on Cedar Mesa in #BearsEarsNationalMonument, Utah. Archeological finds in the Gulch reveal thousands of years of human habitation, primarily as the home to the Ancestral Pueblo people, and still contains many of the remains of their homes, kivas, and granaries. Concentrations were especially high in the Basketmaker II period starting in 500 BCE. From my current cover story in @natgeo magazine.
SWIPE LEFT to see the nearly invisible pictographs that I’m photographing (see the ear rings!). The reveal images are made using a software called #DStretch which can bring out very faint pictographs by performing a decorrelation stretch in the color space. The enhanced image is false color but helps us see the most faint ancient paints! Location: Grand Gulch, Utah, on assignment for @natgeo. (photo of me by @devlin_gandy )
Check out my IG story to see how high up the cliff face this dwelling is! —————————————— A hiker thinks twice before attempting to climb down old hand and foot holds carved into the near-vertical sandstone once used to access these Ancestral Pueblo living and storage structures in #BearsEarsNationalMonument, Utah. The structures most likely date between 900-1300 CE. With a potential fall of a couple hundred feet this hiker chose not to enter the cave. If you encounter a site like this please DO NOT ENTER it, they can be easily damaged by visitation. Learn more about how to #VisitWithRespect at @cedarmesafriends.
Proud to share a glimpse of a project I’ve been working on for the past year and a half with @devlin_gandy and @insidenatgeo! This 3D model of an Ancestral Pueblo granary in #BearsEarsNationalMonument, Utah was created from thousands of photographs referenced together in a process is called #photogrammetry. Photogrammetry allows us to create highly accurate 3D models of fragile sites from just photographs. These models act as a time capsule that allow Native communities and archaeologists to monitor how sites change over time. They also can be placed in a digital environment with audio or narration so that viewers can feel they are there without having the negative impact of visiting in person. This model (and many others) will be shared with Pueblo communities, we're especially hoping to share it with school children and elders who might not be capable of making the journey to their ancestral homelands. You can experience this particular site with narration by Zuni medicine man Octavius Seowtewa (on computer only, no mobile) at bit.ly/BearsEarsQandA (Created in partnership with @protectbearsears and our field producer and Cultural advisor from the Pueblo community - Kevin Madalena AKA:@jemezscientist_occamschainsaw)
Carl Moore, a Hopi-Chemehuevi activist stops while traveling through Bears Ears National Monument to sing a prayer song and leave an offering of an eagle feather at a site on Comb Ridge. Carl traces part of his lineage back to the Bears Ears region, as do many of the Hopi people. Once mistakenly called the "Anasazi" and shrouded with mystery as a people who "Vanished," we now know that the "Anasazi" are actually the Hopi, the Zuni, and the Pueblo people of New Mexico and that they migrated south in several waves with the largest exodus from Southern Utah being around 1290. Shot on assignment as part of my cover story for @NatGeo magazine this month. You can hear a prayer song in my IG TV today by another Hopi artist/farmer/community leader.
Day 16, Grand Canyon. If you know Lava Falls you know why this picture (and this boatman!) is insane. The Lava Falls Rapid is one of the most well-known and largest rapids in Grand Canyon. It’s rated 10 on the GC rapid scale of 1-10. This is the legendary Jimmy Hendrick with a standing “crucifixion” entry! If you know anyone who has run this give them a tag! #SafetyThird#GrandCanyon#LavaFalls