I have been exploring Penitente Canyon in Colorado for nearly two decades, including as a government employee, mountain biker, rock climber, and photographer. Its red walls, iridescent in the early morning light, have always called to my eye with a romantic tone, and one early July morning, I found that color and light too much to resist.
Near Los Alamos is Bandalier National Monument, a site dedicated to preserving the remnants of Native American structures and heritage. On the trail circling the deep canyon that is home to the ruins, I found a small natural window in the blocking stone located between myself and the canyon floor, which hosts the ruin of a large kiva. The late afternoon light bouncing off the canyon walls behind me, contrasted with the cold light on the snow and ruins was too much to resist.