Middle Deer Creek

I like to think of the Grand Canyon as petro art, both macro and micro. This image of middle Deer Creek, exhibiting the Muav limestone layer, was taken a two week backpacking trip in December 1973. It is an Agfachrome slide scanned at high resolution. (For those who can’t remember or who weren’t alive, it was a fairly decent 100 ASA slide film.) Please try to visualize this as a high resolution digital image.

If one were to follow this creek downstream 100 yards, one would wind through a deep narrow canyon with Rosebud trees and cool canyon breezes and the distinct odor of tamarisk. Keep going a little way and the outlet is a 150 foot waterfall visible from the Colorado River. On this trip off the North rim, we had to cross country ski 18 miles just to get to the trailhead at the edge of the canyon. We spent two weeks in the Tapeats Creek basin, hiking over along the Colorado River to Deer Creek and then back up to the rim before we had to ski out. We didn’t see a single person other than the four of us during the entire trip. During the time we were in the canyon we experience 60 and 70° temperatures but had to dig our car out of big snowbank upon return, prior to the trip back to Colorado. It was surely an experience I will never forget. What I would have done for a digital camera!

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Pertinent technical details or techniques: I’ve done the best I could to make this slide presentable. I used Topaz AI noise reduction and Adobe camera raw to adjust the color balance as best as possible. I certainly don’t remember all the settings but I did have a Nikkormat FTN with a 50 mm lens. All shots were handheld. I don’t think there were many lightweight tripods in those days.

(If this is a composite, etc. please be honest with your techniques to help others learn)

If you would like your image to be eligible for a feature on the NPN Instagram (@NaturePhotoNet), add the tag ‘ig’ and leave your Instagram username below.
1 Like

David, your scan looks perfect (and that’s hard to do!). Love all of the lines and how they lead from from front to back. The touch of glow at the back works very well and the hint of that glow in the reflection is another fine addition to an inspiring view.

David: What an experience that must have been. I love how you handled the light, especially with slide film. I don’t think I ever used Agfachrome but I learned exposure with Kodachrome and then Velvia and Provia. I kind of miss those days but digital has certainly carried the day. Beautiful scene superbly rendered. >=))>

I love the composition and light - a geologist’s delight! Deer Creek is one of my favorite canyons on the Colorado. Your efforts were certainly rewarded with rare solitude in that canyon. I prefer the lazy option of access via raft. :slight_smile:

Thank you for the image of a place few of us will see. Beautifully created.
I wonder what would happen if you warmed the lower right side limestone a bit with a light brush of orange.

My personal experience having been to this particular spot 7 times (6 by raft, one by foot) and to other Grand Canyon areas with exposed Muav Limestone is the impact of the bluish grays rock in the shade. Though photographically your modification is appealing, I have only seen yellowish tones after a significant flash flood, the color changes being caused by drying muddy water.
On this particular trip in late December 1973, there was a clear 75 foot diameter pool at the base of the 150 foot waterfall that was filled with river trout ranging from less than 6 inches to over 2 feet. One of them made for a nice Christmas dinner. The next time I was at Deer Creek about two years later, it was by raft and a flash flood had drastically changed the base of the waterfall; the pool was much smaller and filled with dirty water but no trout. I was disappointed but it’ll change again.