What better way to meet this week’s challenge than with a place actually called “the Narrows”. This is a very popular hike within the Zion National Park in Utah. The hike is actually in the water of a slot canyon that cuts through the incredible geography of the area. At one point in the hike, where the canyon walls close in to only a few yards across, it is an incredible sight – especially in the morning light. I took this photo of my wife Dee and our friend Sarah standing in the Narrows a few years back. Hope you enjoy the scene as much as we did during our perfect hike.
There are few scenes as “Vivid” as a sunset over the red rocks areas in Utah. This photo was taken towards the west (obviously into the sun), just as the sun was going down behind the landscape near Dead Horse State Park. At that instant the colors in the sky and in the orange rocks are incredible. This photo is “blown out” by the sun flare but I think it still portrays the drama of the scene and scenery.
Dead Horse Sunflare
I was looking though some old photos for ones that I hadn’t really developed or posted. This photo was taken in the evening at Zion National Park in Utah. I was actually hanging off the side of a steep sandy slope trying to get the “star” effect off the sun setting behind another mountain. It was a lovely evening and I was trying to capture both the beauty and the quiet of the moment.
Star of the Evening
Since I was already looking at some of my “old west” photos for this week’s challenge, I thought I’d just include one more….. This photo was taken further along the same drive as the road starts into the river canyon. This was an active farm but they obviously wanted to showcase some of their old “relics”.
Gett’in ready to “tot them bales”?
As soon as I saw the subject of this week’s challenge, I immediately thought of a series of photos I took outside of Moab, Utah a few years ago. Coming back from a ski trip to Colorado, we decided to go through Moab via the beautiful highway 128. Along the way we came across this old ghost town right by the side of the road. Although we didn’t spend much time there, I did snap a few photos of these relics (houses and vehicles) of days gone by.
I’m actually on the road again – to the Grand Canyon this time – but I thought I’d leave you with another view of the area around Canyonlands, Arches and Moab Utah. This photo was taken in the Colorado River Valley just outside of Moab. It is a beautiful canyon with many iconic views of the surrounding mesas. I saw this rickety old fence as we were driving down the road along the river and used it as a foreground to some of the majestic mesas that seem to be everywhere in this area. It was kind of a dull, cloudy day so I thought I’d process the photo as a B&W (with a little sepia thrown in). Looks like something out of an old western movie to me.
John Wayne should be around somewhere….
I’ve already posted about my experience taking a picture in crowded circumstances at the Mesa Arch in the morning. I wanted to post about a completely different hike and photo opportunity at Canyonlands – the false Kiva. This is an unadvertised hike – you won’t find it anywhere in the normal documentation of the park. A ranger told us (after we had made the hike) that they have tried to limit the visitors to this site due to the ongoing archeological efforts there. We found it in a book called “Photographing the Southwest – Southern Utah” which not only described the scene, it gave some pretty detailed direction on the hike and how to get there. It took us about 2 hours (roundtrip) and it was a moderate hike with some difficult areas of loose shale and rock. You descend down a canyon and then must climb back up to a huge, domed alcove where there is a kiva which has been built by visitors over the years. Although the kiva itself is not authentic, there are areas within the alcove that are still being excavated and examined. Once in the alcove, you are treated to a great vista of the surrounding mesas and valleys – both above and below. If you ever get a chance to visit the canyonlands, this is a hike worth taking…..
The Kiva may be “false” but the view certainly isn’t
I should add that we only saw two other hikers during our visit to this beautiful site – a father and his daughter. Otherwise, we had the entire experience to ourselves.
There are Utah Juniper trees all around the Canyonlands area. They are uniquely beautiful with their twisty trunks and with their craggley branches. This one was at the edge of the Canyon near our campsite at Dead Horse Point.
I mentioned last week that we were heading for the Canyonlands area of Utah for a few days. We camped in a campground at the Dead Horse Point State Park near the Canyonlands Island in the Sky region. This is a relatively small park but with spectacular views of the canyons carved by the Colorado River as it winds through the area. This photo was taken looking down where the river makes a “u” in the valley right under the point lookout area. It was just at sunset so the nearby cliffs were lit by the fading sun while most of the valley had already faded into the shadows. The sunset colors on the clouds were spectacular. A beautiful quiet moment (I was the only one on this particular lookout).
We’re on the road again – this time headed up to the Canyonlands and Arches National Parks in Utah. We stopped for a couple of quick photos on the way up – just outside of St. George, Utah. Here’s a taste of things to come later this week (we’ll be out of connectivity until at least Thursday night).
Who says the desert isn’t beautiful?
Another from Utah. We took an afternoon ride around the Park City area and found this rustic mountain road by accident. It was in the afternoon so the light was just starting to get good.
Afternoon Mountain Beauty
I didn’t think I’d get a chance to post today but found a motel with wifi. I had totally forgotten about the eclipse tonight but saw it on TV while I was having dinner. I grabbed my camera when I got back to the motel, added some dark filters and managed to get this image – not great, but a cool image of something I totally blew off….. 🙂
- Eclipse of the Sun (and my mind)
Here’s another picture we took at Arches late in the afternoon. The colors get incredibly vivid – this is real, not any kind of photo manipulation. I took this with a tripod and self timer. Awesome place.
Farewell from Arches...for now
If you’ve seen some of my Alaska photos, you know we got the opportunity to “capture” lots of Bald Eagles including many juveniles and many fully mature birds. On our drive along Utah hwy 128 we saw numerous eagles (both Golden and Bald) sitting on the tops of the prairie dunes looking for prey. It seemed like there were lots of juveniles and many more eagles than we had seen in this area on previous trips (good news!). My subject for today’s post is a “tweener” bald eagle – somewhere between the mottled white and brown of a juvenile bird and the fully mature white headed bird well known as a symbol of our country. This change normally happens when the eagles reach sexual maturity at between 4 and 5 years of age. This particular bird was sitting on a perch that many of telephone poles had on them – I assume to keep them off the wires themselves?
"What are YOU looking at?"
The second photo shows the perch and more of his “transition” plumage.
This was from our second afternoon at Arches. This area is characterized by a multitude of pinnacles rising from the desert floor. You can hike in the valleys but either need a guide or you have to attend an orientation session to ensure that you don’t get lost in the valleys. The first photo is a wide shot that includes some of the surrounding scenery. The different colors are stunning in person.
a sculpture in Orange...
The second picture again is to provide some perspective. If you look along the top of the red rock ridge line, you will see a “V”, or notch, in the spires. To the right of that notch there are two spires topped in lighter rock. Nothing there right? To the contrary, this blown up photo shows 4 people who have climbed the rocks. They are still small but compare the two pictures to get an idea of the real size of these formations. Can you spot all four?
This was taken our first afternoon at Arches National Park just outside of Moab Utah. It is an unbelievable collection of huge red rock formations that spring up from the landscape. We didn’t get any good morning sun while we were there but the afternoons were great. This is a look across a wide expanse of brush lands toward some of the formations – including one of the two “window” arches that you can see in the photo. Beyond are snow covered peaks which just add to ambiance this time of year. This photo doesn’t do it justice at all – those rock formations are huge – it is an amazing place.
Arches National Park approaching sunset
This second photo is just to give you a sense of scale. This is the arch that you can see in the distance of the other photo and that is my wife, Dee, standing under the arch.
One of the Window Arches
After a few days on different subjects, I thought I’d return to some of my photos from our recent auto trip to Colorado and Utah. On our second day in the Moab area, we woke up to overcast skies so we were unable to catch many good early morning pictures. We decided to head to Canyonlands National Park and hope that it cleared up. The skies cooperated and it turned out to be a gorgeous afternoon. We were in Canyonlands (the Islands in the Sky part of the park) during the middle of the day so we missed the best light but I think you’ll agree that it is pretty spectacular country anyway. We were treated again to a very empty park to enjoy all by ourselves – winter is a great time to visit this area.
"the bloggers are coming, the bloggers are coming"!
Much to my surprise, I was nominated yesterday to receive the coveted Kreativ Blogger award. I haven’t yet come to grips with the incredibly lucrative financial benefits that are sure to accompany this award…but it is a welcome surprise nontheless. So thanks to Colline at http://collinesblog.wordpress.com/ for nominating my blog for this award. When I started blogging (and photographing) earlier this year, I had no idea that this would turn into an opportunity to connect with so many interesting and accomplished people from all around the world.
As with any award, rules of acceptance have been decreed:
- Thank the blogger who presented you with this award (thanks again, Colline)
- Post a photo of the award (done)
- Share 10 things about yourself that readers do not know
- Choose 6 people to present this award to
- Let the 6 people know that they have been awarded.
As for myself, here’s 10 random thoughts:
- I am an aspiring acoustic guitar player but my handmade guitar “collection” is much nicer than my playing will ever do justice to
- I retired from being a civilian in the US Navy department and was second in Command of an 8,000 person and $6B/year engineering command. I am a part time consultant in my “interim” career (between my main career and full time lazing around) but that work is starting to interfere with my other hobbies so I will probably not continue that much longer
- After retirement, I briefly considered a second career in the golf industry but I am happy that I changed my mind as I am playing less (and worse) golf these days but enjoying it more when I do play
- I have two dogs, one of which is certifiably insane
- In less than a year I have gone from one point and shoot camera to 5 cameras, an assortment of lenses, and other equipment that I’m trying to figure out how to use. My disposable income has decreased as my photo gear has grown
- I grew up and went to college in New Jersey, and still follow Rutgers football (kind of sad)
- My wife, Dee, may be the most avid San Diego Chargers fan (and supporter of coach Norv Turner) on the planet
- We enjoy traveling, learning a little about the places we visit and meeting the wonderful people of the varied cultures that inhabit our world
- Our favorite trips normally involve the “natural” world and specifically, wildlife. One of our favorite experiences so far has been sharing a salmon stream, up close and personal, in Alaska with Brown (Grizzly) Bears. We liked that trip so much, we are going to a different part of Alaska this year to hopefully see Bears in a different environment and add a few wolves and foxes to the photographic mix….
- We also enjoy scuba diving although we only go once or twice a year. Our favorite dive areas so far have been the island of Sipadan in Malaysia and the Lembeh Straits in Indonesia. My bucket list includes diving with Whale Sharks somewhere in the world.
As for my nominations for this award….may I have the envelope please…
The first is Marina Chetner at http://marinachetner.com/. She posts her own photos and thoughts as well as classic quotes and photos from other artists. Her series on NYC is both informative and extremely interesting – get to know the city through her eyes! My second nomination is for Maggie at http://maggiephotgraphy.wordpress.com/. Maggie is loving life and enjoying it to the fullest – anyone who takes up rock climbing in retirement has got to be special! My third nomination is for Anthony Parente at http://two2dive.wordpress.com/. Anthony has some terrific photography in both vivid colors and black and white. My next is Siggi at http://siggiofmaine.wordpress.com/. Siggi’s blog has some great reflections on life where you quickly understand that she is a wonderfully caring and sensitive person. My next is Daniel Fee at http://politonomicsandtravel.wordpress.com/. Daniel’s blog is a very interesting mix of travel photos of the day as well as very thoughtful and well researched opinions of some of the political and economic issues of our times – very interesting and informative. My last nomination really isn’t a blog nomination – its just a thank you to my friend Cathy Thomas who suggested that I do this blog and did the research to get me going!
PS – the prairie pup was taken on Rt 128 in Utah near Moab.
One of the first animals we saw “on the hoof” during our recent car trip were the pronghorns that graze on the plains. I have always thought that these were a member of the antelope family but I discovered that they are not antelope at all. They are distinguished in that they may be the second fastest land animal (to the African Cheetah). I took this photo of a group not far off of I-70 in Utah. There were probably about 20 of them in total.
This is another photo that I took approaching Moab, Utah on hwy 128. It is just a gorgeous route with many scenes like this one with surrounding Red Rock canyons and the river winding through it. The light when we were in the canyon wasn’t very good (cloudy) but I think you get the idea of how beautiful this area is.
This place just looks like there has to be some regret in its history! I took this yesterday during an amazing drive from Vail, Colorado to Moab, Utah. This is in a little ghost town called Cisco which is on Hwy 128 which eventually follows the Colorado River into Moab. It is an amazingly scenic drive for wildlife, river and canyon views, and scenes like this one. No regrets about taking this trip!
Regrets....I've had a few....