Back to Utah
Okay after three days of this, I’ve decided I gotta get back to Utah!
Okay after three days of this, I’ve decided I gotta get back to Utah!
And for Day 3 of Utah, you’ll see what happened after I took this photo! Or, at least, what the storm caused…
Is it okay if I post three photos in a row of Utah? It’s been a while since I’ve done any Utah photos, so let’s have a little party here!
I found the quality of light in Utah to be absolutely amazing. It’s usually my favorite time to shoot around the mornings or evenings, and the light gets even better there then. I think it’s because this is one of the few places where there are red rocks, and then when a warm light hits them, they absolutely go on fire.
What is the most lost you’ve ever gotten? I get lost a lot, and it usually doesn’t bother me. The one below did a little bit because I did have a much-desired destination at a certain time of the day for the light! It caused me a bit of stress, which I usually don’t have… was not a big fan!
Good lord this place was hard to find! I had quite unremarkable directions. First, it was almost impossible to figure out where to turn off the main highway. There were many dirt road options, and none of them seemed right. And then, at one point, I had to figure out how far down that dirt road to go! I went way to far at once and got myself into a serious car-trouble-situation. I somehow got myself out of that then doubled-back to find a probable spot. The next step was walking about a mile down a canyon where I had no idea where I was going! There were no trails, no signs, no nothing. I got to the point where I was thinking, man, I'm not even close. And then, there it was.
I’m excited to have at least some of the Stuck in Customs team visiting Queenstown this week! I wish we could get everyone out here. We’re preparing for the workshop this week, which will be absolutely amazing. The weather should be incredible, and we continually get a great group of people that come to these things.
I love the roads in Zion! I know this is a strange thing to say about them, but whenever I see this exact color and texture of roads, they feel so soft and rubbery. Even the way they grip the car feels different. And, naturally, they look so good hyper-colored in the photos!
What did you think about it?
I came to this wonderful, alien hillside one evening to take sunset photos. The lines and the clouds and everything lined up, and I thought it would be a perfect evening.
So after I took the photos, I laid back on this slope to take a little nap and wait for the stars. I took off my glasses and kind of set them behind me. I closed my eyes for a bit, and when I opened them up, there was a GOAT STARING DOWN AT ME. I just about levitated off the ground a few inches in shock while the goat clicked away. I flailed around and my glasses went skidding down the hill, glass side down. It was darker than that goat's eye sockets and I couldn't find them for five minutes. I finally found them, and there are still, to this day, a thousand tiny little scratches on them. It drives me nuts… anyway, I got my camera and got the heck out of there.
When I process a photo like this, I usually go through a bit of a decision matrix about lighting. Since I’m combining multiple shots, I can choose to have everything equally lit, or go with a full-on silhouette. Such power! Haha… sometimes all the decisions can make you seize up a little bit, which is not a good thing. I try not to get caught up in the decision and just try different things and let it flow. In this case, I went with mostly a silhouette, but I did a bit of lighting in the foreground. I think it adds a nice layer right there in front of you.
The shapes in Monument Valley are right out of all the westerns you watched when you were a kid. So, when I was there for the first time it was a bit surreal. Now, I know many readers here have been there several times and they are experts at this area… but it was all fresh and new to me! As long as there are good clouds, I think it is relatively easy to get a good shot here! Sort of a lay-up, I think! Some photos you have to work really really hard for… and those are fine… but I also like a few of these that make themselves a bit easier.
I never get those big scary Texas late summer storms any more. The huge mountains here all around me break up the clouds a bit so they never have a chance to get too crazy. There is all kinds of fast-changing weather here though… cold storms in the morning that open up to 75 degree days in the afternoon. Bright blue sunny mornings that turn into bitter icy evenings… it all happens here!
There are many wide-open areas across Utah after you emerge from tight canyons. It changes very quickly, and then it also reminds you how quick the weather can change. Whenever you can see a huge storm in the distance moving this way and that, everything feels a bit surreal. It's not clear if the storm coming your way or not, although, secretly, I think everyone wishes it really is. A big storm is kinda fun, eh?
I feel like I’ve accidentally become kind of an expert in renting RVs for photo adventures! I never thought I’d be one of those RV-kinda-guys, and I don’t really see myself like that yet. But I guess I’m moving a bit in that direction. I must admit that it is very very nice to have a ton of space to hold all my camera gear and a fridge full of goodies always at the ready!
Bryce Canyon is an unbelievable place. The drive is a bit daunting to get here, and here is a tiny tip that I hope doesn't kill you upon arrival.
Like most National Parks, there are many places to park and then walk up to a railing for some view spots. But if you just walk around the end a bit, you can get even more amazing shots. Note you don't have to go up to the very edge, and I don't recommend that. I never do that. I usually hang back a little or make sure there is actually a gentle slope or something along these lines. Nothing too scary! But, anyway, don't be afraid to do a little bit of scouting. All the fences make it seem like you're surely gonna die if you don't stay beside them, but that's not true if you're smart and have your head screwed on straight!
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There is a major amount of driving you can do in Utah! I can’t believe how many miles I actually drove through that state… and there were many many many things to stop and shoot. This might have made everything feel longer. I also was happy to have nice and wide shoulders that gave me plenty of space to pull over and take photos. I always get stressed when I want to pull over to take a photo at any old time, but there is just no place safe. Ain’t nobody got time for dat!