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Close Encounters of the TN Kind for Paul

Close Encounters of the TN Kind for Paul
Photo Information
Copyright: James Parker (Jamesp) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
Genre: Landscapes
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-06-10
Categories: Mountain
Camera: Canon 1D Mark II, Canon 24-70 mm f 2,8 L-USM
Exposure: f/9.0, 1/320 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Beautiful Landscapes, TN Favourites [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-07-18 8:00
Viewed: 6321
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 66
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I have dedicated this posting to Paul Haynes (PaulH) - he posted a Sika deer last week called 'Hide and Sika' which I teased him about - well I think this title wins cringe of the month ;) The reason for this groan-worthy title is this was the location for the spaceship landing in 'Close Encounters of the Third Kind'.

I concentrated on the tower and a few pines - I will put some alternatives in a workshop.

Devils Tower (Lakota: Mato Tipila, which means “Bear Tower”) is a monolithic igneous intrusion or volcanic neck located in the Black Hills near Hulett and Sundance in Crook County, northeastern Wyoming, above the Belle Fourche River. It rises dramatically 386 m (1,267 feet) above the surrounding terrain and the summit is 1,558 m (5,112 feet) above sea level.

Devils Tower was the first declared United States National Monument, established on September 24, 1906, by President Theodore Roosevelt. The Monument's boundary encloses an area of 5.45 km² (1,347 acres).

Most of the landscape surrounding Devils Tower is composed of sedimentary rocks.

The oldest rocks visible in Devils Tower National Monument were laid down in a shallow sea during the Triassic period, 225 to 195 million years ago. This dark red sandstone and maroon siltstone, interbedded with shale, can be seen along the Belle Fourche River. Oxidation of iron minerals causes the redness of the rocks. This rock layer is known as the Spearfish formation.

Above the Spearfish formation is a thin band of white gypsum, called the Gypsum Spring Formation. This layer of gypsum was deposited during the Jurassic period, 195 to 136 million years ago.

Created as sea levels and climates repeatedly changed, gray-green shales (deposited in low-oxygen environments such as marshes) were interbedded with fine-grained sandstones, limestones, and sometimes thin beds of red mudstone. This composition, called the Stockade Beaver member, is part of the Sundance formation. The Hulett Sandstone member, also part of the Sundance formation, is composed of yellow fine-grained sandstone. Resistant to weathering, it forms the nearly vertical cliffs which encircle the Tower itself.

About 65 million years ago, during the Tertiary period, the Rocky Mountains and the Black Hills were uplifted. Molten magma rose through the crust, intruding into the already existing sedimentary rock layers.

Geologists agree that the igneous material intruded and then cooled as phonolite porphyry, a light to dark-gray or greenish-gray igneous trachyte rock with conspicuous crystals of white feldspar. As the lava cooled, hexagonal (and sometimes 4-, 5-, and 7-sided) columns formed. As the rock continued to cool, the vertical columns shrank horizontally in volume and cracks began to occur at 120 degree angles, generally forming compact 6-sided columns. Superficially similar, but with typically 2 feet (0.61 m) diameter columns, Devils Postpile National Monument and Giant's Causeway are columnar basalt.

Until erosion began its relentless work, Devils Tower was not visible above the overlying sedimentary rocks. But the forces of erosion, particularly that of water, began to wear away the sandstones and shales. The much harder igneous rock survived the onslaught of erosional forces, and the gray columns of Devils Tower began to appear above the surrounding landscape.

As rain and snow continue to erode the sedimentary rocks surrounding the Tower's base, and the Belle Fourche River carries away the debris, more of Devils Tower will be exposed. But at the same time, the Tower itself is slowly being eroded: cracks that form the columns are subject to water and ice, becoming larger. Rocks are continually breaking off and falling from the steep walls, and occasionally entire columns fall. Piles of scree — broken columns, boulders, small rocks, and stones — lie at the base of the tower, indicating that it once was larger than it is today.

American Indian legends tell of six Sioux girls who were picking flowers when they were chased by bears. Feeling sorry for them, the Great Spirit raised the ground beneath the girls. The bears tried to climb the rock, but fell off, leaving their scratch marks on the sides.

Another version tells of how two Sioux boys wandered far from their village when Mato the bear, a huge creature that had claws the size of teepee poles, spotted them, and wanted to eat them for breakfast. He was almost upon them when the boys prayed to Wakan Tanka the Creator to help them. They rose up on a huge rock, while Mato tried to get up from every side, leaving huge scratch marks as he did. Finally, he sauntered off, disappointed and discouraged. The bear came to rest east of the Black Hills at what is now Bear Butte. Wanblee, the eagle, helped the boys off the rock and back to their village. A painting depicting this legend by artist Herbert A. Collins hangs over the fireplace in the visitor's center at Devil's Tower.

The Tower is sacred to several Native American Plains tribes, including the Lakota Sioux, Cheyenne and Kiowa. Because of this, many Indian leaders objected to climbers ascending the monument, as they felt this was a desecration. The climbers felt that they had a right to climb the Tower, since it is on federal land. A compromise was eventually reached with a voluntary climbing ban during the month of June when the tribes are conducting ceremonies around the monument. Climbers are asked, but not required, to stay off the Tower in June. According to the PBS documentary In Light of Reverence, approximately 85% of climbers honor the ban and voluntarily choose not to climb the Tower during the month of June. However, several climbers along with the Mountain States Legal Foundation sued the Park Service, claiming an inappropriate government entanglement with religion

Rafa, PaulH, bahadir, anel, jaycee, Luis52, cataclysta, Argus, nglen, xTauruSx, uleko, zulfu, Juyona, rousettus, eqshannon, haraprasan, Evelynn, Dis. Ac., boreocypriensis, albert, vanderschelden, CeltickRanger, cicindela, saguzar has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Rafa Gold Star Critiquer [C: 172 W: 0 N: 7] (846)
  • [2008-07-18 8:05]

very interesting

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2008-07-18 8:17]

Hehe thanks James, yeah you win this one...i shall have to come up with something worse now! I'm going to add this to my faves not only becuase it's a great dedication, but it also features in one of my most favourite films of all time! I'm normally jealous of your travels anyway, but this really one takes the biscuit!
Lovely to see a still of this place, from a great POV. Very good detail in the pillars too, reminds me of some of the formations in the north west of Scotland created by the same process....now, where's my modelling clay..? ;o)
tfs and have a great weekend mate.

Hello James, wonderful shot. TFS. Regards,

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2008-07-18 8:26]

hello James,
Really interesting natural Tower, which must be very impressive to see from a certain distance. Amazing regular shapes created by erosion. It's for sure a monument.
Thanks also for the interesting note

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-07-18 8:48]

Hi James,

Not sure your title wins cringe of the month over "hide and Sika" but it's close. The picture is wonderful. Makes me wonder if there is anywhere on earth you haven't been to. This is not one of the most famous tourist trips in the US. The Devil's Tower is beautiful with wonderful details. Lucky you had a perfect sky with nice clouds. I love the centered composition and the beautiful trees.


  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2008-07-18 8:53]

Hola James.
Beautiful photo, and a very very interesting note about it.
Saludos My friend.

Hi James
Another fantastic place and good detail note. Great dedication for Paul
I like it very much
Best wishes

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-07-18 9:27]

Hello James,
A great shot, a fine tribute to Paul and an enlightening note.
The central composition is just right and the lighting and sky Bg serve well to diplay this Devils Tower in a fine way.
It is difficult to guess its height above the surrounding land -over 60 meters?
TFS and have a good weekend,

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-07-18 9:42]

Hi James. I am sure Paul will like this one . It must be a incredible sight to see this in real life. Stands out well from the blue sky . Once again interesting notes..TFs.

Have a nice weekend.

Hello James, perfect landscape shot of a volcanic neck. TFS. Regards,

Hi James, great image, the sky and clouds help make it stand out, giving it an almost 3D effect...there is a lot of depth to this image. great upload, tfs such a great composition. regards h,

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-07-18 11:13]

Hello James,
What a fantastic monument and very well captured here. It looks really enormous and what an interesting shape. Lovely details and colours. I enjoyed reading your interesting note too and only wish people would pay more respect to the Native Indians!
Many thanks and have a nice weekend! Ulla

Hello James
This is a groan worthy title indeed as was pauls!!..(a fine dedication to a great photographer though)
I am amazed at the scale of this structure as this and your workshop pictures portray so well...All we need now is a photoshop whizz to clone in an alien craft and you then would have one of the all time TN greats!!
All the Best to You James and thanks for sharing another fantastic view of our planets rarities.

  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2008-07-18 11:50]

Magnificent landscape shot James! Splendid details and composition. Greetings,

  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2008-07-18 13:14]

Hola James,
excelente postal,
gran ambiente y preciosa roca,
bello dsparo,

Hi James,

Another stunning shot from the nature by yourself. Amazing.


On the road now with slow connection. Just marking up the best ones this time.

Hi James..
Very interesting and look amazing.....Very impressive....Thanks for share...I feel I am in wonderland....Enjoying to wive your photos always ...
Kind regards

Hi James,
what a nice landscape scene and its great shot. Greatly composed and focused. POV and clody sky great. Thanks for sharing, have a nice weekend

I have seen that movie a dozen times...Love the sound track as well as the very young actors, now turned into a mini-me:-) for a persona like me to see this and be in a way so close in location and not having known that this really even existed is a super surprise...I remember him building a model of it in the movie..wow...what a cool movie and a super lesson... You are my hero James...

hello james,
a fitting dedication to our landscape expert paul, i liked the pov and the composition very much, the blue sky looks lovely, the details on the devil towers look great,
tfs & regards

I love Paul's expression, " takes the biscuit!"... I've not heard that before.. : )

One has to love that 24-70 lens. I can usually guess what lens you used before I check on it. The darn thing is soooo heavy, and not very wide angled with the crop factor on my camera, and it isn't stabilized... but is sure is SHARP! This is a very nice shot. I like the sweeping curve up to the sky. The workshop photo really shows the size and uniqueness of this formation.

Evelynn : )

hi James,

By looling of this picture, I thougt were are the Aliens?
It is one of my favorite movies Close encouters.
Nycely composed and with good details expessialy of the hill or mountain.


Hi James,
A very good landscape shot showing the Devil's Tower. Superb details and a lovely composition. I also liked the capture in the WS. Thanks a lot for sharing.

Hi my friend, amazing landscape shot in all around. Your notes are excellent as always. TFS.
Have a nice weekend!


Hello James,
Interesting photo completed with an excellent note
Have a nice W-E

Hello James, Nice shot and somehow this shot reminds me the jelly cake. Nice shot and superb notes. Vignesh

Hello James,
Wonderful Indian legend.
A very good compromise(not for some climbers apparently).
And a beautiful picture.

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-07-19 12:59]

Hello James! Thanks for that, I loved that film! I don't know why it makes me think of mashed potatoes!! :-) Very clear and sharp shot, I'm thinking of buying this lens of yours and your shot is convincing me a little bit more, well done, thanks!


hello James

great shot with a superb POV from down to up,
excellent sharpness and details of the foreground,
i love the sky and the clouds of the background, TFS


Hello James!
WOW! What a mountain! Amazing shape and perfect presentation! I am dreaming about visiting places like this one. Who knows, maybe some day ;)
Best regards fom Lodz!

Hi James,
Wonderful image about this rock tower, I remember the film'Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Perfect sharpness and POV. The note excellent, with a lot of information.

Hi James

I was searching TN for something else and came across this. Ahhh brings back fond memories of that movie, I want to believe!!! Its a great formation and this is a fine capture, I must go see it for myself next time I'm in the US. TFS


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