Waterglyphs are a type of petroglyph – carved rock art – found across the American Southwest. The symbols are thought to be of ancient origin, perhaps created by the Ancient Pueblo Peoples, and have been dated via x-ray fluorescence to around 2,000 years.
Marc Toso captured this image on February 11, 2018. Marc told us:
This past weekend I visited this petroglyph, known as a waterglyph, along the Utah/Arizona border.
The night was frigid and the landscape was desolate. I didn’t see another living soul the entire time. However, it seemed as if at one time this was an important place, a place where things occurred.
The petroglyph points straight east to where the sun would rise and for me the rising moon, as seen sitting in the core of the Milky Way. All illumination was obtained by a thin crescent moon, which is visible in the photo as a bright circle in the core of the Milky Way, due to the long exposure, and a small Goal Zero USB Lantern on the lowest setting was used as Low Level Lighting.
Places like this need to be kept as they are, far from city lights, and the noise of roads. We need places like this that allow us to have one foot in this world and one foot in the other.
This is my first photo in this style of this year. Hopefully more will follow. However, It’s a challenge to do many in this theme.
Driving, finding the sites … Then trying to photograph the site in a way that I can be sure not to damage it. This usually involves predicting composition in the daylight, setting up the camera and leaving everything in place until the appropriate time.
Sometimes I’ll program the camera to take photographs at a specific time, especially if I don’t feel comfortable or if it seem disrespectful to be bumbling around at night. Other times I’ll return at a certain hour and take the photo.
Usually these photos consume an entire weekend and I usually come away with a single image, sometimes two.
Thank you, Marc.
Bottom line: Photo of an ancient petroglyph known as a waterglyph on the Utah-Arizona border.
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.