Photograph of the Week: Fajada Butte

Following a trip to the Mongollon Rim here in Arizona, I decided to take a quick trip to Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico. It was a wonderful visit, full of visiting ancient pueblos and topped off by a utterly spectacular sunset!
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Photograph of the Week: Fajada Butte

Fajada Butte
Fajada Butte at sunset, Chaco Culture National Historical Site, New Mexico.
I had been driving along the Rim Road on the Mongollon Rim here in Arizona, when a thought occurred to me. “I have never been to Chaco. I have always wanted to go to Chaco. Can I do it this trip?” It was only around 7 am when I broke camp, and being more than half way along the Rim Road, I felt that perhaps I could just continue on up the highway and head over into New Mexico. I figured that it should only take me around four hours of driving. Well, four, or perhaps more like 6 hours of driving. I hadn’t figured on the 30 mile plus dirt road that leads to Chaco. And it wasn’t as well groomed in some places, and well, I just took my time, didn’t want to ruin my ride, my 2017 Prius. For those who do not know what Chaco is, it is more properly known as Chaco Culture National Historical Park, and is run by the National Park Service. There is a nominal fee to visit this historical site. In a small canyon like area, you will find over six pueblo villages, no longer occupied, created by the Puebloan people, today known as the Pueblo, Zuni, Hopi and the Navajo. It is a location that was occupied from the 800’s up until the 1200’s, then was abandoned. If you love to visit and wander around ancient dwellings, full of kivas and houses and public squares, this is the place for you. If you want to know more, just check out the National Park Service website on Chaco Culture. After spending some of the afternoon visiting Pueblo Bonito (a must see) and Una Vida, Hungo Pavi (another must see) and Chetro Ketl (yet another must see), I decided to go and setup camp. There are no hotels within 70 miles, so if you decide to spend the night, you will be doing so at the only camp site in the area, at the National Park. The camp site itself is pretty nice, there are no showers, but there are regular toilets and sinks, so you can do some washing, and brushing of teeth, but that is about it. There are some sites setup for campers and RVs.
Kivas at Chetro Ketl
Pubelo Bonito was occupied between 800 and 1100 CE. Has over 800 rooms and 32 kivas and 4 great kivas. The settlement is considered sacred ground by the Hopi, Zuni and Pueblo cultures. Chaco Culture Historical Park, New Mexico.
Once I got camp setup, there were some clouds rolling in, so I wasn’t sure if there was going to be anything interesting to photograph near dusk. It was raining at the campsite, and I knew from past experience that I might be able to catch some interesting photographs if I just wander around. So wander I did. I left the National Park and drove a little on the dirt road leading into the site, and was able to capture a wonderful photograph of the dark rolling skies and the brightly lit mesas leading towards the southeast. The contrast between the dark threatening clouds which were already spitting rain drops on my head, and the the ocher red of the lit rock was stunning.
Chaco Canyon Mood
Monsoon over Chaco Culture National Historical Site, New Mexico
I then headed back into the Park to beat the rain. By this time the sun was setting, and as I came around to Fajada Butte on my way to the campsite, I noticed the sky was beginning to get some yellows and oranges along the leading edges of the clouds. By the time I had setup my camera and took my first shot, the entire sky was as if on fire. It was just beautiful. As a photographer, I pray for this kind of sunset as it is just so beautiful and the excitement of being able to witness such splendor is breathtaking. I was in my element! Among all ten or so photographs I took during that evening watching the light color the clouds above me, this is my favorite. In this photograph, the sun is still lighting the face of the rock butte, the sky is this beautiful combination of yellows, oranges and reds and purples, and the whole scene was just stunning. I was just simply blessed to be able to experience such beauty and wonder. And I was glad I decided earlier that morning to drive to Chaco. It was definitely worth the visit!  

This Print is Available for Purchase

Fadaja Butte


Fajada Butte at sunset, Chaco Culture National Historical Site, New Mexico.



Fajada Butte at sunset, Chaco Culture National Historical Site, New Mexico.

Additional information


Fine Art Print, Canvas Gallery Wrap, Metal (Satin Finish), Metal (Glossy Finish)

Size (in inches)

8.5×11, 11×14, 20×26, 20×30, 24×36

David's Artist Statement

My earliest memories of photography was high school, where I took black and white photographs for the yearbook. I remember the hours spent with chemicals, tanks and trays and the wonderful enlarger that could take you places you didn’t know existed. It was fun, at least for a teenager!

My next encounter with photography was with a Canon AE-1 fitted with a niffty 50mm f/1.4 lens that I used to take slides (yea, Ektachrome 64 to be exact, and yes I also did film, Velvia 50 which I loved for the richness of the colors). Thousands of slides later, I still have that camera. Many of my photographs from my time in Spain, Italy and Greece still survive as Ektachrome 64 slides that I will someday scan into digital.

All photography is about light. All photographers state that they “paint” with light. I look for more than just light, I look for textures, tones and colors. I find that the quality of light at the moment I click the shutter will bring out or reveal a color, tone or texture that wasn’t obvious just minutes before and will disappear minutes after. I revel in the glorious world around me, and sometimes I feel like a kid in awe of the simple beauty that I see before me.

I now capture and print images digitally – the same eye that I developed as a younger man but hopefully a wiser eye, bringing out the subtle or bold colors depending on how I have envisioned the photograph, incredible papers each designed to bring out special qualities of the photographs that I see. Each photograph is the work of my own hands. I do all my own printing and framing, and I do it to archival standards, which means my photographs will look like new for many years. You will pass these photographs on to your children and hopefully to your grandchildren when their time comes.

However, none of this is important if the photographs don’t engage you, don’t grab you, don’t claim you. Each one is an invitation to participate in a story. I just don’t take photographs, I make photographs – ‘memories’ of places and scenes that I share and pass on to you.


About Open Edition Prints

David Cote Photography is proud to offer an ever-growing collection of fine-art photographic prints. David’s prints speak for themselves and enhance the look and feel of any home or office in the way only original artwork can.

Own A David Cote Open Edition Print

A large selection of open edition prints is available to view and purchase on this site. Purchasing prints is as simple as finding the ones you like, adding them to your shopping cart and paying via secure credit card check out. David prints (for sizes under 20 inches wide), and personally inspects. Your satisfaction is guaranteed. If you are not happy with your print for any reason it will be refunded or exchanged, minus the cost of shipping.

What is an Open Edition Print?

An open edition print is a print that does not have a limit on the number of times it is printed. Limited edition prints have a limited print run, and after the number of prints has been met, it is no longer offered for sale. Not so with open edition prints. Open edition prints allow everyone to purchase a beautiful work of art without robbing the bank. Just like limited edition prints, they are printed with archival inks so the print will last. However, to make these prints affordable, open edition prints are printed on a high grade luster paper rather than an art paper like the limited edition prints. David also offers prints on good quality canvas as well as good quality metal. This does not detract from the beauty or quality of the print. Open edition prints are excellent options for decorating your home or office just like limited edition prints.

Why David Frequently Changes The Prints Offered for Sale?

Frankly, David get bored seeing the same photographs. So David is always out shooting new photographs, so old photographs are constantly being replaced by newer work. David likes to keep things fresh. David has even been known to replace existing Open Edition Collections just to keep the prints offered for sale fresh and current.

What You See On Your Screen

Computer monitors vary greatly and even high-resolution monitors can’t show the detail of a photographic print. Depending on the quality and calibration of your monitor, the light you view your monitor in and the particular web browser you use. How David’s images look on your computer may be very different from how they actually are.

David works on a professional, high-resolution computer monitor, carefully calibrated for color accuracy. The professional printers and photo labs that he uses also carefully monitor their color output. David strives for ultimate quality in every step of the process, from image capture to print rendering, resulting in eye-catching photographs with amazing clarity, sharpness and color.You will be completely satisfied with your print. If not, you can return it for an exchange or refund, minus the cost of shipping.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

OK, let’s put this most asked question to bed. Are these photographs enhanced?

Short answer – Yes. Unapologetically!

Long answer – ALL PHOTOGRAPHY requires that there is processing of some kind. Development process (film), Lens corrections, color correction, sharpening, setting black and white points – these are just a few basic processing actions required. Sometimes I apply various filters (at capture and in post processing), I dodge and burn (both digital and film), I crop, etc. to get the photograph I envisioned when I did my capture.

My basic philosophy of photography is that I work to capture an impression of a location. Sometimes a photograph doesn’t need much work and sometimes it does. I am not interested in simply documenting a location, otherwise I’d be a photojournalist, which I am not.

Ansel Adams once said that we don’t take photographs, we make them. This is my attempt at making photographs, which in turn is making art.

Are these photographs or is this art?

Huh?  Seriously, art is in the eyes of the beholder, art is what you make of it. For me, my work is art. For you, who knows but you!

As for photography being art, that question has been settled for almost a hundred years. Yes it is, pure, plain and simple as that.

What kind of cameras do you use?

I use a variety of digital and film cameras. Most notably Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 5DS r, Canon 5D Mark IV, Canon AE-1 (film), Canon EOS A2 (film), Sony A7rII and Sony A7rIII. My current camera for those who are interested is the Sony A7rIII.

Have you been to all these places? (Yes, people do ask me this!)

Ahhhhh . . . yes!  Sometimes many times over several years! I often find myself going back again and again to try to get the photograph’s I know I can get at any particular location. As always, we are limited to weather and the sunlight cooperating to get the best images. That is why I return – frequently!

How come my pictures don’t look like these?

To quote Ansel again, I don’t take photographs. . . I make photographs. That means sometimes waiting around for hours for the right moment, it means composing the scene, it means making lens decisions, it means determining my aperture or my ISO setting, it means some serious time spent in post processing (color corrections, dodging and burning, cropping, etc) and good print processes.


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