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Variations on a Toadstool

Updated: Jun 30, 2021

Hoodoo that Photoshop Voodoo like you do? I try several variations in processing a photo of a surrealistic landscape, but it is hard to top the real life original.


The lower part of Wolverine Canyon—near its junction with Horse Canyon—is comprised entirely of reddish Wingate sandstone. Curiously, but for a good geologic reason, as you walk up Wolverine towards the Circle Cliffs, other, older rock layers appear at floor level and the Wingate is pushed higher and higher. Near the eastern end of the canyon, the the soft, older Chinle siltstone layer comprises the majority of the canyon and the younger Wingate sits above the Chinle and is very high above the canyon floor.


The canyon is much wider where the Chinle formation appears, The Chinle, being relatively soft, is easily eroded, The erosion of the Chinle undercuts the overlaying Wingate which breaks off in chunks under its own weight.


The Wingate is harder and denser than the Chinle, so in places where Wingate boulders have fallen on the Chinle, rain washes away the soft Chinle faster than the denser Wingate, and sometimes creates a pedestal that appears to hold up the heavier rock. The pedestal-like formation is called a hoodoo. The hoodoos in the upper portion of Wolverine Canyon are often capped by Wingate.



Realistic rendition of a surrealistic scene. The grooved pink and white rock is the softer Chinle formation. The yellow/red flatter rock is the Wingate sandstone that has fallen onto the Chinle from cliffs above. The toadstool-like object is a capped hoodoo. Photo: © Donald J. Rommes



A black and white version of the photo above. Undoubtedly, more could be done to emphasize the forms, but in my opinion, this photo should be as much about the unusual colors as the unusual formations. I prefer the color version. Photo: © Donald J. Rommes



This version hints at the unusual colors of the landscape while also doing a good job of emphasizing the form of the hoodoo. The hues here are somewhat surrealistic and otherworldly, but I don't think they improve upon the natural colors that are otherworldly without manipulation. Why gild the lily? What do you think? Photo: © Donald J. Rommes

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