Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A hoodoo begets a head

with 18 comments

Click for greater size.

This heady panorama is from the morning of September 3rd at Dinosaur Provincial Park, Alberta, where strange cloud shadows in the sky had greeted us a couple of hours earlier.

If you’re interested in the craft of photography, point 6 in About My Techniques is relevant to today’s picture.

© 2017 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 28, 2017 at 4:51 AM

18 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. That’s a heady headline. In the head shadow of the hoodoo head, I see two heads in profile; the profile on the right seems masculine, the one on the left seems feminine, with hair upswept.


    December 28, 2017 at 5:20 AM

    • You’re ahead of me in seeing two heads. I saw the one facing left, but it seemed and still seems masculine to me. With the new year fast approaching, your Janus-like suggestion of an opposite profile is timely. There I’ll agree that it’s masculine, and smaller than the leftward-facing shadow.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 28, 2017 at 6:24 AM

      • Shall we agree that two heads are better than one?


        December 28, 2017 at 6:40 AM

      • It was Eve who first spotted this when she walked ahead while I was busy photographing whatever the previous interesting thing was. She says that she agrees with you about the left face being female. She hadn’t seen the right face but now does and says it reminds her of the profile of George Washington on Mount Rushmore, which we’d seen on our previous trip three months earlier.

        Steve Schwartzman

        December 28, 2017 at 3:32 PM

  2. I don’t see a human head in the image, but a headland. The word’s often abbreviated, as in Nag’s Head, or Beachy Head in England, and it’s not hard to imagine the large central formation as a headland along the coastline of the Western Interior Seaway. In reality, I suspect that relatively shallow sea didn’t act so dramatically on the land surrounding it, leaving erosion to form the “headlands,” but it’s still a nice reminder of what that area looked like a hundred million years or so ago.

    As an amusing side note, I found a map of the Skull Creek Seaway during the early Cretaceous, and it shows the “Llano Islands” poking up in the middle of the sea.


    December 28, 2017 at 6:21 AM

    • From associations with the sea, never far from you, come thoughts of headlands. Silly me has to wonder whether the “environmental artists” Christo and Jeanne-Claude ever considered covering a headland with a cape.

      The article at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Interior_Seaway about the Western Interior Seaway mentions Monuments Rocks, which you visited, and which the article describes grandiloquently as “one of the Eight Wonders of Kansas.”

      I found a map of the Skull Creek Seaway and also saw the Llano Islands you mentioned. The search that brought up a map also brought up an article about the geologic history of the Austin area:


      Steve Schwartzman

      December 28, 2017 at 7:08 AM

  3. You have photographed the place so well, Steve! 👍


    December 28, 2017 at 8:21 AM

    • I don’t know how much credit I can take when a place is as photogenic as this one. I’m glad you like it, Indira.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 28, 2017 at 8:24 AM

  4. Great shot! 🙂


    December 28, 2017 at 9:18 AM

    • Of a great place. I’m happy that we went to southern Alberta, with its badlands and its mountains.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 28, 2017 at 10:44 AM

  5. I admit that I didn’t see even the left-face before I enlarged it–or the right-face before I read Gallivanta’s comment. Now, of course, both are clear and I can’t not see them. Very well-spotted!


    December 28, 2017 at 1:17 PM

    • We’ll give the credit to Eve. As is often the case, I lagged behind to photograph something. She walked ahead and saw this, then brought it to my attention when I caught up.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 28, 2017 at 3:28 PM

  6. I like the Janus-like shadow it makes.

    Jenny Meadows

    December 28, 2017 at 3:46 PM

    • Once the profile on the right got pointed out, I also thought of Janus. How appropriate, now that January is just a few days away. Happy 2018.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 28, 2017 at 3:59 PM

  7. […] Past posts about the place have shown strange cloud shadows in the sky and a panorama that includes a hoodoo with a head-like shadow. […]

  8. 😉


    September 27, 2018 at 11:55 AM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: