Shiprock is an ancient volcanic plug rising about 1500 feet above the desert in the northwest corner of New Mexico in the United States. It stands all alone in the desert and has intrigued me for decades. There are two main “wings” that extend several miles out from the peak, one to the south and another to the west.
There is actually a third but it is much smaller than the other two. These are tall thin black dikes of extruded igneous rock and why the Navajo name for shiprock means “The Rock with Wings”. The first time I photographed it was in the early 1980’s and I have visited it many times since.
I tried to make drone images of it a couple years ago but high winds during that visit never allowed me to get off the ground and a year later, Covid travel restrictions took away my opportunity. In April I tried again and when I arrived I thought I was going to be once again foiled by very strong winds. However, this time I had scheduled several days here just to try to get these images in the conditions I hoped for.
I was there well before sunrise each morning and on this morning the air quality was extremely clear and visibility was unlimited. I flew close to the fins and waited there until the first rays of the sun lit up these black fins and turned them gold. In just a few minutes the sun was fully up and the character of this light had changed.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor