With and Without People

always without water

Pampa del Tamarugal National Reserve

Getty requires a signed photo release for each human in a photograph.

For this, the single best overview from our time with the Pintado Geoglyphs, I carefully painted out every human figure, our fellow tourists.

Here are the versions with and without human figures.

Click any photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

Click me for the first post of this series.

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Geoglyph Panorama

Rain never falls here

Pampa del Tamarugal National Reserve

Eternal high clouds that never yield water, we visited these hills just off the Pan American highway, to view shapes formed by moving stones.

The shapes are multifarious, mysterious and majestic. Hundreds of them, rendered for reasons known only to the makers.

I stitched together five images to yield an overall impression.

Click any photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

Click me for the first post of this series.

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Ghost of a Ghost Town

A place that exists because of water and a roa

Adolfo Tapia Live Here (?)

The Spanish word pintados translates to painted in English. There are many references to the word, in one it is a war loving tribe known for tattoos. Here, it is the name of a deserted town on an abandoned railroad running roughly parallel to the Pan American highway. As we passed through en route to Geoglifos de Pintados, I captured these shots of the ruined town.

The handprinted sign above the window, top photograph, says in translation, “Here lived the Adolfo Tapia Family, 1940-1956, F.F C.C. del Estado.” Searches on Adolfo Tapia turned up nothing, all we know is the sign attributes the designation to the state government.

The hill of the geoglyphs are the background, some of the figures are visible. There will be more in later posts.

The railroad served the many Saltpeter factories dotting the Tarapacá region. To my knowledge all were closed in the mid-20th century.

Click any photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

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Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

On the Pan American

A place that exists because of water and a roa

Pozo Altamonte

We passed this way between Humberstone and the geoglyph site, the town name can be roughly translated as “High Well.” A watering place, in other words. The sign advertises the “International Hostel” Tata with the convenience of private bathrooms.

Click any photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

Click me for the first post of this series.

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Well Ordered

fighting for truth and honesty

a basis for fairness

Pooleys were a firm of mechanical engineers, founded in Liverpool 1790. Shown as Pooley of Liverpool in Heath Mill Lane, Birmingham, the company originally made scale beams, such as shown here, a reminder of the origins of Humberstone.

A demand of the workers was access to a scale to verify company store weights. With this post I close this series of photographs from the Humberstone UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Click any photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

Click me for the first post of this series.

References

Websites

Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works World Heritage page

The Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works site (Chile), removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger/

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Mother Country

touchstone or Imperialist Tool?

from well watered lands

1872 James Thomas Humberstone founded the Peru Nitrate Company. No, is geography was not deficient, this land was won by Chile from Peru in the War of the Pacific. This rolling stock was delivered from England, where Humberstone was born, in Dover, and worked his early years on railroads, London. At the age of 25, hired by the Tarapaca Nitrate Company, he moved to South American.

Robert Francis Fairlie developed the Fairlie Locomotive.

Click any photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

Click me for the first post of this series.

References

Websites

Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works World Heritage page

The Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works site (Chile), removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger/

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Big Wet

Relitivity

Water Delivered

Modern, plastic, water pipes and moisture, in this arid place, suggest regular water deliveries.

Click any photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

Click me for the first post of this series.

References

Websites

Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works World Heritage page

The Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works site (Chile), removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger/

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Children and Fellow Visitors

where’s Waldo?

A photographic essay

Can you spot the children and visitors in these scenes from the World Heritage Site Humberstone located in the Chilean Atacama desert?

Click any photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

Click me for the first post of this series.

References

Websites

Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works World Heritage page

The Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works site (Chile), removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger/

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Atacama School Days

Dive In

A photographic essay

Children are our hope and the future. The yellow sign reads “UNESCO Contribution. the restoration of five classrooms of School number 35.”

From their web site: UNESCO encourages international peace and universal respect for human rights by promoting collaboration among nations. Its mission is to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue.

Click any photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

Click me for the first post of this series.

References

Websites

Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works World Heritage page

The Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works site (Chile), removed from the List of World Heritage in Danger/

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Family Trek

Sandstone Togetherness

The Defiance Plateau of northeastern Arizona declines gradually from its origin, the Chuska Mountains of New Mexico.  Route 191 runs where the Defiance Plateau merges with a valley of the larger Colorado Plateau.  The Black Mesa escarpment forms the western valley wall and is clearly visible from Canyon de Chelly visitor center.  

Carved into the Defiance Plateau, the high cliff canyon walls of Canyon de Chelly at intervals belly out into wide alcoves.  For thousands of years, the land between the walls was farmed.  Here is a photograph from our 2008 canyon visit, visible are fields, farm equipment, shed and sport utility vehicle (SUV).  Look closer for the hogan, adjacent to the shed, and, on the lowest sandstone shelf on the left, white goats.

Click to view my Arizona fine art gallery

Here is a quote from the reference link provided at the end of my post:

“The massive, high cliffs that form the walls of the canyon are De Chelly Sandstone. The De Chelly Sandstone consists of sand deposited in dunes in a subtropical to arid environment in Early Triassic time (about 250 to 230 million years ago).”

In this photograph the goats jumped off the shelf to graze, around them are the two forms of De Chelly Sandstone.  230 million years ago winds driving across the dry lands, piling the eroded bits of ancestral rocky mountains into dunes hundreds of feet high.  The in-stratified rock cliffs are the body of those dunes, converted to stone over the eons.  The cliffs are visible in both photographs.  The dark stains are called desert varnish.  Read more about desert varnish in the first posting of this series, “Portrait of a Navajo Guide.”  The rock in the foreground appear formed from an orderly pile of stone plates, this appearance is called stratification.  Another name for it is Cross Bedded Sandstone, formed from wind blowing across the dunes.

That entire, northeastern, side of the alcove is Cross-bedded sandstone.  Click on any one of the following photographs for a larger version, to peruse the detail.

Click to view my Arizona fine art gallery

A fascinating detail in these photographs, the subject of this post, are human figures rendered tiny by the distance and the enormous maze of sandstone.

It is four generations of a Navajo family, fathers, mothers, children of all ages down to infants in carriers.  My wife Pam, myself and our Navajo guide watched in wonder as they made their way down to the canyon floor.

Their progress was slow and careful.  Everyone kept together.  Nobody left behind.

Here they inch along a high ledge.

Descend from one ledge to the next.


Most amazing of all, the first person down is an elderly woman wearing sports shoes, steadied with umbrella, accompanied by a pre-teen girl.  Her progress steady and sure from years of experience.

Our guide knew the family.  He and they chatted in the Dine language.  The were travelling for a birthday party.

Reference Link for the quote

Copyright 2017 Michael Stephen Wills Photography