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Exhibition Richard Attenborough centre

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The Bones of Landscape an exhibition

Richard Attenborough Centre , Leicester, UK

If you are interested in purchasing a print, there are more details on the ordering page, or give Keith a call on Leicester +44 (0116) 291 9092

A large solo exhibition of Keith’s landscape work runs from October 19th to November 23rd, 2005, at the Richard Attenborough Centre for the Arts, Leicester University.

Note – all these images are still in our main Landscape gallery

  • Latest News – The exhibition has been extended to December 13th 2005.

Upstairs gallery with balcony views

The exhibition at the RAC

There is an article covering some of the technical photographic issues associated with the exhibition

Richard Attenborough Centre for the Arts,
University of Leicester,
Lancaster Road,

Prints on the stairs

Photographs in the exhibition

Additional information from the geology theme of the exhibition

Canada Rapids

Yoho National Park, Canada.

This scene is only a few miles from the world famous Burgess Shales, one of the great fossil locations of the world and a UN world heritage site.

Approx age 500 million years

Glacier’s End

Banff National Park, Canada.

The toe of the Athabasca glacier in the Canadian Rockies. Taken only a few years ago, this view will have changed as the glacier retreats up the mountain.

Water worn rocks

Canadian Rockies.

Small pebbles in a stream have worn the bowl shape depressions into the hard rock. The power of the water can do this in only a few dozen years.

The rock is an old Gneiss, which has undergone deep (many kilometres) burial during the processes which formed the Rocky Mountains. It has almost melted and in the process developed a layered flowing structure that is shown in the sides of the bowls.

The patterns here can be seen at much larger scale in many of the pictures in this exhibition. Look for structures in the rocks – they are clues to how they formed and their subsequent history.

Approx age 300 million years

Black Canyon of the Gunnison


The river is nearly 2000 feet below.

The hard crystalline rocks here are nearly 2 billion years old, but the canyon itself is only two million years old.  The Rockies are still building and changing. The river first cut through younger fairly soft volcanic rocks. As the mountains rose in some areas, the river  flowed faster and had nowhere to go but cut through the harder rocks.

The Gunnison River within the Black Canyon drops an average of 95 feet per mile. This is one of the greatest rates of fall for a river in North America. It needs this much energy to carve through the hard granites and metamorphic rocks that are some of the oldest in Colorado

Teton Glimpse

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

The Tetons are a splendid range of mountains in Wyoming, just south of the better known Yellowstone Park. They form a range that rises abruptly to over 11,000 feet. There had been a light fall of snow before I took this picture, and the sun was just coming out.

Haystack Rock

Cape Kiwanda, Oregon.

A resistant plug of volcanic rock dating back some 30 million years, when the entire area was deep sea floor.

Snake River and the Tetons

Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.

The Tetons rise quite abruptly, which makes them look all the more impressive. The rise is caused by a large fault, where there has been over 30,000 feet of displacement.

In this, the mountains moved up and the valley floor dropped. As the valley dropped it filled with sediment (nearly five miles of it so far)

The Tetons were first formed about 9 million years ago, and the mountains are still growing – there is about a foot of vertical movement per 2-300 yrs. This typically comes in movements of 10 feet or so, every few thousand years.

The original rocks making up some of the mountains were formed some 2.5 billion years ago, with other parts dated at 1.3 billion and 600-65 million years.

Cottonwood on the Wind River


With little vegetation, the layered structures of the sandstone rocks are easy to see.

Dillon Lake

Dillon, Colorado.

High in the Rockies (9200 feet) this lake is surrounded by 13,000 feet peaks.

Bubbling Mud

Yellowstone, Wyoming.

A mud pot throws steam and boiling mud into the air. There are lots of hot rocks not far below the surface – best to hope that the Yellowstone volcano doesn’t go off in your lifetime…

Fish Creek falls

Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Situated at the edge of the Park Range of mountains (South Park is a real place)

Oregon beach – Pacific City

The Oregon coast alternates between rocky headlands and wonderful sandy beaches.  Mist and cloud just offshore can make for great sunsets, and a gentle soft light.

Much of the NW third of Oregon is raised seabed, a process that happened about 35 million years ago.

Cape Kiwanda sunset

Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City, Oregon.

Pacific sunset, showing Haystack rock, a hard resistant lump of basalt.

Mt Shuksan

9131 feet, Washington State.

Unusually for a mountain in the Cascade range of Washington state, Mt. Shuksan is not a volcano.  It represents a slab of seafloor that began as basalts, chert and shale about 150 million years ago (in the Jurassic). Getting thoroughly mangled up in the process, it has been buried to great depths (120 million years ago) and recently (2 million years) been intruded with granite. Other rocks in the area date to only a few thousand years old from the still active Cascades volcanism. This is the same range of mountains that contains Mount St. Helens.

This view has a particular personal attachment, since I had a poster of the mountain on my wall as a student at Leicester. I always used to wonder if the colours were real. Last Autumn (2004) I discovered that they were…

Rio Grande gorge

Taos, New Mexico.

Heading out of Taos, you cross a broad flat plain until suddenly there is a huge river gorge. Running right up through the Rockies is a tectonic rift valley. One day in the distant future it may split the US.  The river has carved through the rocks, but its path is governed by the low valley formed as the rift slowly widens.

If you look at the top of the picture, you can see distant mountains, representing one edge of the rift. The movement also allows molten rock to rise, producing volcanoes of varying sizes. You can see the remains of very small one as a dark area on the plain at the left hand side of the picture.

Plains weather

Cortez, Colorado.

Looking into New Mexico from near Cortez, Colorado. Sudden summer storms help sculpt this landscape, typical of much of the Southwest US. The resistant rocks capping the butte are Mesa Verde sandstone, while the soft Mancos shales make up the slopes.

Towards Mt Sneffels

The edge of the San Juan Mountains, north of Telluride, Colorado.

Large ranges of mountains like the Rockies are made up of many smaller ranges, often with fairly sharp boundaries, caused by faulting. The faulting can be obvious, such as in the Tetons pictures. Sometimes it is just marked by a transition from a flat area to hilly, such as  ‘Towards the Mountains’. Here it is a change to mostly volcanic rocks rather than faulting that leads to the change.

Approx age 30-35 million years


La Manga Pass, New Mexico. 10,230 feet.

Some 25-30 million years ago much of the volcanic San Juan range was formed. Huge calderas erupted thousands of cubic miles of ash. Much of the mineral wealth of the area comes from rocks of this age. The mines needed transport and numerous railways were laid across the mountains, including a narrow gauge one just out of the picture (Cumbre and Toltec narrow gauge steam railway)

Hood Canal

Washington State, USA.

Just over the Puget Sound from Seattle, at the edge of the Olympic peninsular. A quiet misty morning, where the weather couldn’t quite make up its mind as to how heavily to rain.

Mesa Verde

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado.

The northern edge of the hard resistant sandstone juts out forming cliffs and mesas. To the south are found the Anasazi cliff dwellings, abandoned in the mid fifteenth century, probably after prolonged drought. There are frequent forest fires on the mesa top, and some burnt trees from a fire a few years ago can be seen.

Approx age 120 million years

Oregon shore


Yachats, Oregon.

The headlands are mostly intrusions of much harder basalt rock into softer mudstones. There is often a glowing quality to the light, associated with sea mists rolling in from the Pacific.

Approx age 20 million years.

Brancaster bay

Norfolk coast.

Sand and erosion by the sea change the coastline rapidly. The shape of the coastline can alter after a winter’s storms, moving rivers and silting up ports.

Shingle Street

Suffolk Coast, near Orford.

Shingle beaches are a common feature of the Suffolk coastline, along with heathland, stands of Scots Pine, and not many people.

Scattered heavy showers

Not far from the Great Sand Dunes National park in Colorado. Looking over the flat San Luis rift valley between two ranges of mountains (part of the Rio Grande rift). At over 7,500 feet the weather is changeable, and this day in April 2004 ended with over 6 inches of snow.


Arches National Park, Moab, Utah.

A combination of hard erosion resistant rocks overlaying softer ones, coupled with infrequent heavy rainfall create this classic Utah landscape.

Approx age 150 million years

12005 feet

High in the Rocky Mountains National Park, Colorado. Snow and ice still cause most erosion here, only a few thousand years after the entire area was buried under ice. The landscape is full of glacial features, eroding rocks that have had a complex 1.4 to 1.7 billion year history.

Plains Storm

The mountains in the distance are the Sangre de Cristo range and form the eastern edge of the Rio Grande rift in this area. At their base is part of the Great Sand Dunes National Park.

The light picks out the delicate colours of the sage brush, a common sight in the dryer areas of the US, but in bright sunlight it’s colours are washed out.

Towards the mountains

This is South Park, one of Colorado’s major intermontain basins. The mountains in the distance contain rocks as old as 1.7 billion years. The basin is an extension of the Rio Grande rift seen in other photos.