In the past twelve years, Gary Freeburg has walked alone through the remote wilderness of the Valley of 10,000 Smokes, Alaska. In his five expeditions there, he has created 2000 negatives and digital exposures of a truly remarkable place and converted these exposures into a series of photographs that express the significance of one of the world's greatest natural wonders. The Valley of 10,000 Smokes came into existence during a three-day period in 1912. On June 6 of that year a new volcano, Novarupta, was born. In a period of less than 72 hours, this volcano ejected greater than 7 cubic miles
of volcanic debris into the atmosphere. Most of the heavier material settled in an adjacent valley covering the valley floor in up to 1000 feet of ash. Robert F. Griggs, on assignment with the National Geographic Society, was the first to set foot on this active and steaming surface in 1916 and to give it the name it now possesses. The eruption was the fourth largest in history. It was 100 times larger than Mt. St. Helens, Washington, and even greater than the 1883 explosion of Krakatoa in the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) that claimed the lives of over 36,000 people.
The Valley of Fire is located in the Mojave Desert of southern Nevada, approximately fifty miles east / northeast of Las Vegas. Dedicated in 1935, it is Nevada's oldest state park. The park is noted for its brilliant formations of eroded sandstone and sand dunes that are more than 150 million years old. Early morning and late afternoon sunlight on these sandstone formations oftentimes creates the appearance that the geological monuments are on fire and the park was named for this
phenomenon. These photographs are a small sample of images created on a recent January day while hiking in the park. The photographs are formalistic pigmented inkjet prints depicting the quietude and solitude that appears so often in my work. At this time of year in the Nevada desert, the landscape appears dormant and there is a wonderful, meditative sense of waiting and anticipation for the fallow period of winter to pass and the energy of spring and growth to return.