The attraction to the desert and open skies was the main motivation for the trip, but so was a growing appreciation for the distinctive cultural mix of Native American, Spanish and Mexican influences unique to the region.

"Sanctuary" (Taos, New Mexico 2003), was taken on the perimeter of Taos, a town and artists colony set in the mountains 100 miles Northeast of Santa Fe. The picture is from the inside of a church, 250 years old and very small. A miracle had been attributed to someone who had scooped dirt from the earthen floor of the original building. The picture shows a woman - the caretaker- in the center of a huge, opaquely black background. She is framed, while sweeping and with a water well behind her, in the light from the courtyard of the church.

The poetry of composition would find further inspiration as the trip went on. Bryce Canyon, one of Utah's five National Parks, sits in the Northwest corner of the state. Entering the park for the first time at dusk, Marty found the sun too low and clouds too thick for pictures. Hugely disappointed, he did a frustrated 180.