Hi everyone and welcome to today’s post. My last visit to the Grand Canyon was work related and included attending the grand opening ceremony of the new South Rim Grand Canyon Visitor’s Center. Prior to the opening ceremonies for the visitor center a Native American Blessing Ceremony was performed by James and his sister, Dianna Sue Uqualla. It was a beautiful dance at the new amphitheater, located at the rim of the Grand Canyon near Mather Overlook. After the ceremony I had the opportunity to talk with James and to thank him for his words which all seemed to touch each person in a different way. I have always though of the canyon as the “center of the earth” and a place from which I seem to draw energy. James’s words touched on this asking each person to draw strength from this sacred place and pass it on in the name of peace.
I met up with James a little while later after many people had left and asked if I could shoot a portrait. He agreed without hesitation. In my mind the light seemed just right and I suggested a few test shots to determine my histogram. But as I raised my camera to the viewfinder and focused in James’s eyes just pierced the lens and straight into me. I fired three shots and just lowered the camera. The shot was done. James did not really pose. He just looked in to me with a sense of peace and calm. I felt it immediately. Normally I would take all manner of images but I just stopped after the three. I never checked the histogram knowing that it was right. I thanked James and we parted ways. Later in the afternoon I had a chance to photograph James and his sister performing an Eagle Dance and while I like some of the images they do not speak to me in the same way as this portrait. It is hard to put into words but when I look at this shot I feel his connection to the place and ultimately to me.
Originally I thought of this shot in black and white but in processing felt some color tones should be included. So the RAW file was processed twice, once for color, and once for black and white. The two files were layered in Photoshop and I went through some exploratory processes to achieve the final look. I worked on the file off and on for about a week to get to this final rendering.
Thank you as always for stopping by to visit.
Hozógo nasádo (Navajo): Walk in Beauty