January 1st, 2015 brought unusually cold temperatures to the Sonoran Desert, and with those frosty temps came a rare snow storm. I was it the Four Peaks Wilderness before sunrise and was able to capture several images of the snow-covered landscape. What a great way to start the year!
Remotely situated in the middle of nowhere, Goblin Valley State Park is miles away from any light pollution. I was in the area during a recent trip through Utah, and thought it would be a great place to capture a shot of the Milky Way on a moonless night.
I had finished shooting sunset, so I hiked back to my truck (2006 Nissan Pathfinder LE with failing air conditioning and worn tie rods) and had dinner as night fell. By the time I re-assembled my gear and donned my headlamp, the Milky Way was in full view above me.
I hiked back down into the valley and back to a group of hoodoos that I had scouted earlier to use as my foreground. I took my time positioning my camera and tripod, trying to compose a shot with the Milky Way between two prominent hoodoos. Then, I took several exposures of the stars at different settings, trying to find the best possible combination of brightness and sharpness. Next, I changed my camera settings to focus on shooting the hoodoos directly before me. I spent about an hour taking photos of the hoodoos while painting them with light from my headlamp. During one exposure, a car drove through the parking lot above the valley, painting the hoodoos with (what I thought was) just the right amount of light. Thank you, passing motorist!
Sunrise in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. I had scouted out the general area for this shot the day before, so I knew that all I’d have to do is get there with enough time to find my way through and over some massive sandstone hoodoos. Thanks for looking.
Sunrise above the goosenecks of the San Juan river in southern Utah. This shot is from the very edge of the Colorado Plateau, and one of my absolute favorites for camping. There is a 270 degree view for miles and miles, and straight ahead, on the horizon, is Monument Valley. The view is so expansive that I have watched 3 separate lightning storms, all happening at the same time, from this location!
This was captured at the same remote location as my last post, high above the Colorado river on Navajo land. The sun had just dipped below the horizon, giving me a break from the smokey haze that had obscured the distant cliffs.
I’d visited this isolated location overlooking the Colorado River for the first time last spring. I had little trouble finding it at the time, paying close attention to written directions and resetting my trip meter at each waypoint. So last month—when I decided it was time for another visit—I was confident I’d have no trouble finding it again. Wrong. After an hour of trying to find my way out of the maze of seldom-traveled jeep roads that crisscrossed this desolate Navajo back country, I finally managed to back track to a familiar point along the route. I turned off the radio, reset the trip meter, re-read the directions, and concentrated on the route before me.
30 minutes later I was standing on the edge of the towering cliffs above the canyon. The haze from distant wildfires was a disappointing sight. I didn’t think I would be able to clearly capture the features of the distant landscape, so I concentrated on putting together a shot that focused on features closer to me. The row of spot-lit buttes reminded me of dimly lit faces of people standing in shadows.
Enjoy, and thanks for visiting!
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Several of my favorite photos are currently on display at
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Great food and nice people who have excellent taste in nature photography!