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Interviewer: Is there anything that's memorable, that you've
found out about the Grand Canyon, that you find interesting or salient
Dykinga: There's several things, being a two-billion-year-old
rock is a big deal. And also, to me, the big deal about geology
is putting things into perspective. You know, when you look at that
narrow slice of formation at the very top and think in terms of
human presence on the Earth, literally we are there only a twinkling
of the eye compared to the age of the earth and other life forms.
And it goes back to that same thing about human arrogance. I mean,
it's amazing how we can always come up with "what a great boy am
I" theories about things, when in fact we've only been here, basically
a heartbeat in geological time. The size and the sheer scale of
the place, you can't help but have that just kind of wash over you
and leave you kind of awe-inspired. It may not be on a conscious
level. It may be two weeks after these people go back to their offices,
and think, "Geez! you know, this place is big, and maybe I'm not
And for me, going into this trip, I just went to a memorial
service for a really good friend of mine, who died of brain cancer.
You know, the older you get, the more you find out that, as Ed Abbey
says, "Nobody gets out of here alive." So there's nothing like having
your best friend die to give you a little introspection. And the
canyon's a great place for that sort of self-awareness.
Do you want to say something about the crew?
Interviewer: If you want to.
Dykinga: Well, the thing that kind of amazes me is the logistical
problems of going down the river and getting yourself in position
to do good photography. It's not that easy, as you know. There are
certain places in the canyon where things get a little congested.
And for photographers, you want to be in places that are not so
busy, you want to be there before there's direct sunlight. So for
our crew, to get us down the river and put us into positions in
the sweet light ... For instance, being in Elves Chasm two hours
before you see anybody that's unheard of. And the same for the
Matkatambia that's really great. It's kinda how I approach photography.
I do my best work in solitude, and if I'm in areas that are really
congested, I oftentimes just drive away, forget it. I think you
get more inspired in a place like the Grand Canyon, or any really
special place in solitude. It's kind of the reason I do it it's
food for the soul.