Palace Light


Cliff Palace is lit up by lanterns and torches in Colorado’s Mesa Verde National Park. Palace Light documents that incredible moment.


Every now and then we get the chance to peel back the mist of time, and see a scene as it was in the ancient past with modern eyes. These moments don’t come along that often, but when they do, it is a moment to be treasured. Such is the case of Palace Light, made at Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado.

The young messenger was at last near home. Sent out several weeks ago to deliver a series of messages to the other cliff dwellings of the Ancient Pueblo People, he arrived home. The journey was never easy, and approaching home was always the best part. He arrived across the canyon from Cliff Palace just as dusk was settling in.

There, across the way, his family, along with the rest of the pueblo, had just started the cooking fires for the evening meal. The pueblo lit the alcove with a warm, enticing glow, the fires lending warmth on the chilly late autumn day.

Standing near the entrance to their chamber his family was waiting for him. Catching sight of him, they waved at him, adding even more warmth the scene. Despite his tiredness, he broke into a quick trot, the quicker to be home.

He was eager to share news of his travels and deliver the final responses. The light of the pueblo pierced through seven hundred years into the future, giving us Palace Light.

A Special Photograph

This scene is incredibly special, because the National Park closes at dusk, leaving the ruins to the night. Palace Light is a result of the Park Service’s one hundred year anniversary celebration. Each park chose to celebrate as appropriate; Mesa Verde lit up Cliff Palace. I was there to photograph the event, creating Palace Light. There are no plans to repeat this exceptional event.

Additional information


Matted Photograph, Finished Aluminum


12×24, 20×40, 5×10