Chronicle of Lake Powell | Gary Ladd prepares the publication of the 19th book

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PRoland photographer and author Gary Ladd is finalizing a new book on the geology of the Colorado Plateau, which he hopes to publish by the end of 2022.

The book, titled “Crystal Clear Geology of the Colorado Plateau”, will be its 19th publication.

“A lot of my books have had partial or full geological themes, but this one is going to be different in that it’s based on my geology lectures that I’ve given over the past 20 or 30 years,” said Ladd.

“These discussions are illustrated by diagrams, so it’s not just talking about it, and it’s not just photographs, but I think the diagrams are going to be extremely helpful in clearly explaining how we ended up with it. this landscape.”

He said the book will consist of around 30 diagrams, plus 20 or 30 photographs and around 11,000 words of text.

“I think the title is absolutely correct in saying that it will show very clearly how we ended up with places that look like they are,” he said, adding: “I’m not in a hurry to get this book out, in part because it took years to put it together, and an extra month or two or three won’t make any difference. If I’m lucky, I might get it by summer or fall. I’ve been wrong about when it will be released several times, but here is the latest estimate. “

Meanwhile, Ladd was at the Glen Canyon Conservancy’s flagship store in Page on December 18, signing copies of his book “Badlands: The Page Arizona Portfolio,” which was released in 2020.

The 108-page book, available in paperback and hardcover, features photos of natural locations outside of Page, as well as several short, first-hand articles by Ladd on “Risky Times During Photographic Activities.”

These experiences include close calls with flash floods, boat rollovers on the Colorado River, and encounters with cactus thorns.

“It’s just a good collection of all the great areas we have here including along the river and the Grand Canyon and the rims of the Grand Canyon and of course the standard places like Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon and White Pocket Vermilion Cliffs, ”Ladd said.

“Plus some places that don’t even really have names or that have multiple names or nicknames. So there is a bit of everything, and there are only one or two or three photos per place, so that’s 35 different places.

He said Glen Canyon had been unknown for a long time, in part because there was no railroad nearby at the start of the 20th century and it did not contain any valuable minerals. Everything changed when the dam was built in the 1960s, but the focus was more on the lake than the surrounding landscape.

“I think for the people who moved to Page to work on the dam, the wilderness was interesting, but at the same time it was a bit awful,” he said.

“When you read the first newspapers in Page’s history, it’s like the residents have made a garden in their backyards and erased all signs of the desert, and it is full of lush green plants growing. This, for me, is very special. But eventually, we found out about all of these other places that surround the lake, and that’s the subject of this book. “

While the photos are beautiful, the book has an elegiac tone, relating both to the dam’s “obliteration of Glen Canyon” and how aging inevitably reduces the ability to travel to remote wilderness areas.

Ladd describes his decades of exploration as “wonderful years”.

“But now, looking back, we realize that we didn’t fully appreciate, or fully understand, what a party it was,” he writes in “Badlands”.

“We were young and strong, and (usually) smart to minimize risk. Yet we were too stupid to accept that time would inevitably erode our abilities (including many that we didn’t know we had). Knees, feet, hearts, ankles wear out. Now the party is drawing to a close. And I’m grateful that I took some photographs along the way.

Ladd said he hasn’t had many opportunities to get out on the lake in the past two years as the water level has dropped, in part because the COVID pandemic has interfered with visits to ‘photo workshops he runs.

“I would have liked to have been there more than I have been, but that doesn’t worry me too much because I know the lake has usually ruined old places that were once really beautiful,” he said. -he declares.

“There are a few exceptions to that, but I don’t think the lake that comes down 25, 50 or 100 feet more is going to reveal so many truly scenic places. I’m sorry I didn’t go further, but hopefully that will change in the next few months before it starts to increase again.


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