The morning shadows on the front of the Painted Desert Inn suggest a row of those vertical wall mount sundials you see now and then. I don’t know how accurate these viga shadows would be at actually telling time over the long term but they seem reasonably accurate for the day the photo was taken. At sunrise that day (approximately 6:30 a.m.) the shadows would have been nearly horizontal on the left (west) side of the vigas. At noon they would presumably be pointing almost straight down, assuming the wall was facing directly south as it seemed to be. Since 9:40 a.m. when I took this photo is about midway between sunrise and noon, it makes sense that the shadow would form about a 45 degree angle, half-way between horizontal and vertical. (Perhaps one of my brother’s science and mathematically inclined students would like verify my logic for some extra credit in his class?)
Whether or not they could tell time accurately, I enjoyed the repetitive pattern of the shadows in the rather minimalistic scene.