Petrified !! by billyboy

Still going through my negatives…
This shot on Kodak T-Max 100 ISO and scanned to digital on a Canon FS 2710 negative scanner.

The location is Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona. These tree trunks are among the remains of a massive pre-historic forest which covered much of the western US over 200 million years ago.
Through flooding with waters high in mineral content, the wood cells over these millions of years were slowly replaced by stone making them even harder than granite :-)

The austerity of the location is awesome, with only a few scattered remains of what was once a flourishing landscape of trees and flora.
Kinda makes me wonder what Brussels is gonna look like if the price of petrol keeps going skyward…

Canon EOS-100, 24-80 mm at the wide end.


    BIRGlTTAabout 4 years ago

    Ooooh good one! Looks like a big snake, and I love your heavy blacks here..
    I love the tidbits of info you give us with your work too. :)

  • It’s hard for me to know how detailed to make the tidbits cause how do I know who’s heard of petrified wood? Ooops, just thought of something really funny (ahem)… so I’m kinda happy you said you love the tidbits.

    Now as for big snakes… you been smokin TP again lady?
    Thanks for stoppin by and puttin all kinds of crazy stuff in my haid :-)

    – billyboy

  • Stuart Chapman
    Stuart Chapmanabout 4 years ago

    Jeez, looks like you’re having heaps of fun wading through your negatives BB. Just so glad I hit the view larger button before rushing to comment. Once again the black and white just brings the textures out like the tight squeezing a wet sponge, squeezing every last possible texture out that the literally pop out of the image before your eyes can stay still enough to focus on anything else.

    Ok, so they eventually calm a little, still viewing the details in the floor, wondering if when they were hiding behind eyelids someone had replaced the laptop with a funky new 3d viewer (but alas not) then they see the great composition with the trees leading the eye up to the graduated hills and that ripper of a sky (just gotta love a sky like that – photographers dream in the middle of the day).

    It’s on my list of places I wish to visit, but unless I can get my hands on some of this petrol to sell myself, it’s going to be a few years yet, so thanks for at least bumping it a couple of places up my wish list with this little beauty.

  • Stuart (dig yer new pic btw!), there is SO much texture on that stuff… it’s like it LOOKS like wood with bark and knots all intact, even closer up, but it feels smooth and hard as stone. Which of course it is. Was wondering at the time why animals and man have evolved so much over those millions of years while a tree was and probably always will be recognizable as a tree…
    OK, I’m rambling…
    It’s so true what you say about the sky, it’s the one thing that doesn’t punish you for shooting at midday in a scene like this, and fortunately there wasn’t much else around that could punish me anyway. Also fortunate the way they were lying in that S-shape which didn’t punish the composition at all.

    I hope you do get there one day cause I know you’d bring back amazing shots. The whole area is bursting with stuff I had so little time to investigate.
    In the meantime, cheers for the fave and for your awesome comments!!

    – billyboy

  • photosbytony
    photosbytonyabout 4 years ago

    Beautiful, excellent composition! tony

  • Many thanks for that Tony, and for the fave!!

    – billyboy

  • Christine  Wilson Photography
    Christine Wil...about 4 years ago

    wonderful B and W gotta love the Tmax

  • I’ve seen your BW stuff Christine and it’s awesome…
    If you’ve been shooting monochrome for 17 years, then you’ll def be a big fan of Tmax. Never turned out a boring result for me, the 100 ISO was always so sharp and clear and contrasty, but with a high enough dynamic range to handle just about everything I could throw at it.
    Nice to hear from someone who’s been there & done that :-)
    And cheers for the fave!!

    – billyboy

  • Wendi Donaldson
    Wendi Donaldsonabout 4 years ago

    WOW!! Must be amazing to stand there and witness this, Billy. The sidebar helps us understand the magnitude of what we are seeing. Fabulous B&W. (Petrol is going up, up, up here in OZ too…$1.54 litre…ugh!)

  • Thanks Wendy, it WAS amazing. Being able too actually touch something 220 million years old is kind of awesome in itself.
    But even more awesome than that is that you guys are still paying for petrol what we were paying 2 years ago… we’re at the equivalent of $2.10 now :-((
    Oh well, at least cameras don’t need petrol. Thank God!

    – billyboy

  • Mel Brackstone
    Mel Brackstoneabout 4 years ago

    Interesting that that particular tree trunk is there, and petrified, but it seems to be quite lonely. Where are the other tree trunks? I know it says forest….soz, I’ll stop musing now. Beaut tones in this Bill, I don’t understand the film-talk, but I recognise good blacks and whites when I see em!

  • Mel, that’s a good question, and one that confused me too. And though I Googled it extensively, nobody seemed to want to expand on the geology other than petrification process 101.
    So now you got me musing and I’m probably gonna dream up some totally weird scenarios… like maybe these MASSIVE dinosaurs started eating the trees and cause they were already filled with minerals, the dinosaurs died… but not before they’d eated every fukkin tree but ONE…
    But then, why weren’t the dinosaurs petrified with all that mineraled tree in their bellies??
    Glad you recognize good blacks and whites… this petrified thing is a pretty grey area from where I’m sittin :-)

    – billyboy

  • Hiroko
    Hirokoabout 4 years ago


  • So are you :-)

    – billyboy

  • Rita  H. Ireland
    Rita H. Irelandabout 4 years ago

    Very cool image!

  • Thanx Rita, nice to see ya!!

    – billyboy

  • Karen Martin
    Karen Martinabout 4 years ago

    Excellent transition – love the image

  • Hiya Karen!
    Thanks for the compliment!!

    – billyboy

  • Barbara Sparhawk
    Barbara Sparhawkabout 4 years ago

    Amazing shot of this place. Well done, Billy. I love the powder puff clouds and that deep angle tells much of the otherworldly petrified forest. I have been there under the most peculiar circumstances many years ago. I was 17, just graduated high school and driving across country to NY. My calculations were for 500 miles a day and camping out or spots to stay with families. I was in a tiny Sunbeam Alpine convertible stuffed with cheese, smokes, coffee, French bread and chocolate. The plan was to spend the night in the Petrified Forest. Duh. When I got there at sundown, the ranger was swinging the gate shut, and no I couldn’t stay the night and no it wasn’t a forest of my dreams with pine needles and bunnies and deer, it was HELLO petrified. Which was really annoying because by now it was nearly 9pm and getting very dark. Thanks for the picture! I got to drive through to the other side. I can’t remember where or how I slept. One of many delightful missteps heading across America at a time when everything was cool because it was so new and I was so free. Actually, that hasn’t changed. I’ve done the trip three more times since decades apart and recommend it. That first foray, gas was under a buck a gallon. Thinking about it all I’m struck by the ranger’s reaction which was surprise at my stupidity but not that I was a girl in a car voyaging miles from home into wild places. My whole generation was on wheels and the world was a heady thrill of things unknown we couldn’t wait to gobble up, more interesting than dangerous. That I miss, for the ones who follow but it still needs doing. The most recent, older and wiser trip west I had my wonderful big chocolate Labrador, Rodin. Faster than a shotgun and more fun to cuddle.

  • Barbara, your amazing story reminds me of when my mom and dad took me to visit Gillette Castle in Connecticut and I tohught it was gonna be made of shaving foam cans. OK, I was only 4 or so… but hey, if nobody told you there was only two or three trees, how would you not expect it at least LOOK like a real forest (look, I’m tryin like REALLY hard not to laugh, OK?)

    This trip to Arizona was about 20 years ago and we’d flown from NYC to Denver to spend a day with my aunt and uncle in Boulder, then rented a car to drive to San Diego to visit friends… then fly to Florida from there to see my parents and then back to Brussels. It was an awesome trip, during which I also took that picture of New York from the Empire State Building.
    But that drive through the Rockies and the Painted Desert which is close prox to the Petrified Forest (still tryin hard…:-) was full of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever experienced.

    It’s cool this picture brought all that back for you…
    A Sunbeam Alpine convertible? Stuffed with French bread and cheese?? That is SO European!!

    Thanks for the fave, and for that lovely visit :-))

    – billyboy

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