The Magnificence of Spider Rock

John English, as an artist and photographer, leaves nothing to chance.

He finds his shot.

He carefully plans his shot.

He waits until the time is right, the time when the texture, shadows, contrast, and light falls upon his subject. Planning, he says, has always been the key element for his most successful.

But even he is sometimes surprised by how a change in the weather or the sudden appearance of wildlife can provide him with an image he never expected to find.

John English is an old friend with the whims of nature and the sculpture that time has carved on the planet earth.

He says, “Spider Rock in Canyon de Chelly (pronounced Canyon de Shaywas named after the spider lady that taught the Navajo how to weave their baskets and blankets. Navajo legend says Spider Woman lives on top of Spider Rock, an 800-foot sandstone spire that rises from the canyon floor at the junction of Canyon de Chelly and Monument Valley. The canyon is not far from Chinle, Arizona.

“The day after this photograph was taken I went into the canyon with a Navajo guide. We forded a small stream of water as we went deeper into the canyon but as we returned we found it had flooded behind us. We were now faced with a torrential river of water and unable to pass.

“The only options were to spend the night and wait for the water to recede or go back to a trail a mile and a half long with eight switchbacks and two tunnels up the 800-foot canyon wall. We hiked out feeling like pack-mules but it was worth the adventure.”

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