Charles Kruvand, Mariscal Canyon, Rio Grande River

Charles Kruvand

Mariscal Canyon, Rio Grande River, Big Bend National Park

I once took an April raft trip through Mariscal Canyon with photographer and author Jim Bones. We spent a couple days drifting lazily, swimming and wading alongside our rafts. There were no major rapids. Finally we entered the deep recesses of Mariscal Canyon and camped at a photographic paradise named Cross Canyons.

The next morning before sunrise, Jim kicked me awake and pointed up a hill and mumbled something about a good view of the Rio Grande. I grabbed my view camera and hiked up the hill to a glorious sight of the Rio Grande at dawn and one of the first photos of this book. As the sun began to rise and others arrived from below, I returned back to our now deserted camp. The canyon walls of Cross Canyons were grandly illuminated in bright morning light and the Rio Grande was bathed in yellow reflected light. I was in photo heaven.

However a problem had developed with my accordion bellows, a serious problem. The bellows of my camera which had been scrunched into a water tight Army surplus rocket box, the favorite mode of camera transportation on the Rio Grande, had cracked and stray light from the ground was fogging my film. Blissfully unaware, I kept shooting. All the film was damaged and after processing looked like a thin white sheet had been placed over the lens. The colors were muted and the shadows more brown than black. While the film is not perfect, I still like the images.

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