Bryce Badlands

June 11, 2010

Bryce Badlands

The barren, colorful hills of Bryce Canyon National Park have intrigued me perhaps more than the hoodoos for which Bryce Canyon is so well known. I’ve always wanted to photograph them, and this particular evening I got my chance. However, this area of the park is accessed via a horse trail. Of course, where there are horses there is horse manure. Navigating the trail requires a strong stomach and strategic skills. In places it can be a disgusting, stinking mess. The stench can be so overpowering that the urge to gag is strong. Going down hill is usually tolerable, since you can hold your breath in bad spots. However, coming out of the canyon is another story. When you’re climbing the steep trails, carrying 30 lbs. of camera equipment, you get breathing hard. Holding your breath is not very possible, instead sucking in the horrid stench. It’s a miracle to me that I didn’t vomit. If you ever hike the horse trail, don’t wear sandals.

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Fin Soup

June 7, 2010

Fin Soup

At 4:00 am the alarm went off. I quietly slipped out of the room in which I was sleeping so I wouldn’t wake the other guests. A few years ago I toyed with the idea of camping in southern Utah during the winter. I thought winter nights in the desert would be milder than in the north. However, during the past two winters, southeastern Utah has had some of the coldest temperatures I’ve experienced in my life. Temperatures (at the time I visited this area) regularly hovered around 0 degrees Fahrenheit. On the morning I took this photograph, the little thermometer on my backpack–if it can be trusted–read -5 degrees.

I arrived at the trailhead a little before 5:00 am. Of course, no one was there. I exited the car and quickly began to question my decision. It was dark. A two mile hike in sub-zero temperatures awaited me. I was all alone and began to wonder, “What if?” I knew that “if” something happened, someone would be along sooner or later. But did I want to lie in pain and the bitter cold, “if” something went wrong? Yet, I love the outdoors, and I knew what experiences awaited me.

I cautiously began the hike. After about a half mile I arrived in an area where a vast landscape could be observed under moonlight, I stopped and surveyed my surroundings. The sound of the wind gently blowing; the cold biting at my nose; the salient feeling of solitude, knowing that I’m alone in this incredible landscape, produced feelings that this terrain, though marvelous, demanded respect. I continued my solitary trek through the desolate, snow-drifted terrain. After arriving at this spot, I set up my tripod and waited for the sun.


Winter in Eden

June 4, 2010

Winter in Eden

The Garden of Eden in Arches National Park can be a challenging place to shoot. Finding an organized composition from the chaotic jumble of rocks took a little work. Light from a setting sun makes the rocks glow nicely. However, I wanted a unique image with snow on the rocks. After finally getting these two elements crossed off, I needed an evening with some interesting clouds. After several attempts, all three came together this particular night.