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Tag Archives: utah
There’s something magical about being in the desert at sunrise. The unobstructed view to the east gives you a tell tale glow in the minutes before the sun peeks over the horizon. Soon blades of light sweep their way over the tops of the redrock.
One of my favorite places has become Courthouse Towers in Arches National Park. While other photographers crowd into position at North Window, I’m alone on a slickrock shelf looking at ripples in the desert sand as the towers capture the morning light.
I’ve come to know every rock and grain of sand. But it’s never the same. Each time the light and sky work together to create a new image.
Soon, it’s all over. The golden glow of first light gives way to daylight. The the desert comes alive for another day.
I love wandering around Arches National Park. As many times as I’ve been there, I continue to find new places and photographic angles. This past May I was out one morning for sunrise and decided to hike back behind the Courthouse Towers. What a completely different world!
It’s a short hike but a challenge to stay on rock and not damage the soil. Once back there, the entire desert opened onto a slickrock bowl with this wonderful bank of pristine desert sand stretching up to the base of the towers. It was completely aglow in the morning light, with wavy, rippling patterns formed by the wind.
This image is one of my favorites of the year, captured on a tripod with my Nikon D300 and Nikkor 10-24mm lens at about 12mm. Exposure at ISO 200 was 1/50th at f25.
This image is one of my favorites for 2012. You can checkout more on my Flickr Photostream.
The first time we went to the Soldier Hollow Classic years ago we had no idea what to expect. Sure, we had seen Babe. But this was the real deal. The intelligence of the border collies is mind boggling.
If you haven’t seen a sheep dog event, it goes like this. A border collie starts at the bottom of the hill, running up to greet five sheep. The sheep dog then leads the five sheep through a series of gates – in sequential order – before ultimately splitting the group into two (three and two), bringing them back together and into a pen. Whew, can’t imagine doing that myself.
In this photograph, the border collie has his sheep on the run, heading for the next gate near the bottom of the course, all in near perfect unison.
It’s a fun event to photograph. This image was made with a Nikon D300 using a 70-300mm lens. It’s part of an exciting sequence with the sheep dog hot in pursuit of a record time.
Spring mornings are a magical time in Moab. And Arches National Park offers myriad opportunities for amazing photographs.
I have had great success photographing the monuments along Courthouse Wash just along the main road inside Arches. On this particular morning, good news was there were clouds in the sky to breakup the ozone blue. Bad news was the early cloud layer blocked the light from the sun.
I decided to work the east side of the monument, hiking across the desert in pre-dawn to find an amazing line of sand dunes that dropped down onto a slickrock basin. The wind ripples in the sand formed an amazing pattern.
This photograph was the result of patience – about an hour’s worth after sunrise. While the puffy clouds had dissipated, the sand ripples helped make the photograph.
The image was made with a Nikon D300 with a super wide Nikkor 10-24mm lens.
The restored Tate Barn is an iconic landmark in Midway, not far from our Park City home. It’s an often photographed landmark, but one that has eluded me through the years.
On an early fall day, after the first snow in the mountains, I had an early photo shoot at Soldier Hollow, the 2002 Olympic cross country venue. The early light was cast beautifully on the barn with snow-covered Mt. Timpanogos in the background – an idyllic scene and a great HDR opportunity.
Fall of 2011 was simply amazing – color everywhere and extending for over six weeks. The one thing that was missing in our own Wasatch Mountains, though, were reds. So it was a quick car stopper when we ventured up the Mirror Lake Highway towards the High Uintahs and found this amazing patch of red, green and yellow.
This is a longer telephoto look at a grove of trees not far from Soapstone Basin. It was photographed with a Nikon D700 fitted with a Nikkor 70-300 lens on a Manfrotto tripod. single shot, no HDR.
Of all the many dozens of selects I chose from this past fall, this one has always stood out in my mind for the vividness and diversity of the color.
It was, literally, an Autumn Rainbow!
One of my longtime photographer friends, Rod Hanna, got me thinking about clouds several years ago in Utah’s redrock country. Nothing against a clear blue sky, but clouds make a photograph.
Sadly, puffy clouds in the morning are a rarity in the desert. So I was delighted early one morning in Moab when the sky began to fill with cumulous clouds at sunrise.
The Courthouse Towers in Arches National Park are very accessible, located right on the main drive. They are massive redrock reflectors in the morning. But on this day, they were enveloped in some of the most beautiful, puffy white clouds I had ever seen.
Knowing my interest in HDR, most think this is a multi-image photograph. It it not. It was just an amazing morning with fast, racing clouds ripping across the sky.
The photograph was made with a Nikon D300 fitted with a Nikkor 16-85 on a Manfrotto tripod.
This was an amazing afternoon! We were on a Sunday drive on the alpine loop between Cascade Springs and Sundance on the backside of Utah’s Wasatch Range. It was a stormy day with the skies opening and closing, back and forth.
Along the drive, we stopped at a scenic overlook with a view out to the southeast. The clouds were dancing with the mountaintops as brightly blooming wildflowers whipped in the breeze.
Despite the breeze, somehow I was able to capture the scene with a four-image HDR – requiring some special work on the wildflowers that weren’t exactly standing still. The fast-moving clouds were also a bit of an issue.
What was also impressive was the scene of the shoot. I was able to take partial shelter under the edge of the Audi hatchback, with the camera pretty much out in the elements – sheltered with a shirt to protect it ever so slightly from the driving rain.
Most notably, this photograph is my wife, Carole’s, favorite of the year. It was one of those photographs she encouraged me to make and knitted patiently in the Audi while I got soaked for 15 minutes. Her creative eye is often an inspiration and I think of her every time I view this scene.
I’ve put a lot of miles on the Jeeps this fall color season. In peak week, I was spoiled with sunshine every evening. Since then, it’s been spotty. But that only enhances the challenge and gets you to think a little harder.
Snake Creek Canyon, west of Midway, Utah, has always been a great go-to spot for photography (and Jeeping). Sadly, we missed the bright sky morning and headed out with afternoon clouds rolling in. As we began the approach up to the ridgeline, the sun was dancing through some holes here and there, but never in the appropriate place.
As a photographer, you need to always be watching the light – where is the sun in the sky, where are the holes in the clouds, what’s dancing on the mountain tops?
We came around a corner and I saw a potential scene. The rocky mountaintops overlooking Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons on the other side were shrouded in fog, with new fallen snow on the rocks. A quarter mile or so in the foreground was a hillside of yellow aspens and red oak, mixed with some dark evergreens – a typical Wasatch scene.
Framing the shot with the colors on the diagonal was easy – the composition simply screamed out. But there was little or no sun.
There’s an amazing brilliance to fall leaves when they are backlit. But even without that enhancement, their rainbow tones still shine through. I waited, waited and waited. But the sun never really came. But the colors of the hillside still struck a stark contrast to the windswept, snowy mountainside behind.
The key to this shot technically is a seven-shot HDR spaced .7 stops each.
While it didn’t have the backlit pop of some of my earlier aspen shots in Guardsman Pass, this Snake Creek Canyon scene will rank as one of my favorites for the fall season.
Historically, I’ve been very selective in photographing weddings. While I’m known now more for my landscape and travel photography, my original career was news and sports. So when I do photograph a wedding, I do it in true reportage style.
I was excited to photograph Scott and Becky’s wedding. It was an ideal time of year – autumn in the mountains. My interest in document their wedding day news style was perfect for them.
After crunching through bride and groom shots up in Empire Pass a couple hours before the service, Becky had one more shot in mind – a chairlift. Fortunately we have a lot of them. And, even more fortunately, I was carrying a stepladder to help boost bride and groom up onto the Ruby lift at Deer Valley.
It made for a perfect scene. We went through a range of shots. Then it was time for a little fun!
While I haven’t made a career of shooting weddings, one thing I have learned is to get away from the solemn nature of traditionally serious, emotion shots and have some fun. In every setup I did that day, I closed it by having the participants whoop it up a little bit. And I’ll be that in almost every case, it will be those photographs chosen.
I love this photograph – it was the first select I pulled in the same-night look at over 1,200 images. It captures the fun and frivolity of their relationship. And a little Photoshop work brought out the super cool cowboy boots Becky wore that day.
And it will be a memory each of them – and I – will share whenever we load onto Ruby after a hard day skiing powder in Empire Canyon at Deer Valley Resort.