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New Portfolio Images

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Things have been a little quiet here on the blog this year.  I guess, perhaps, I’ve been suffering from a bit of writer’s block, but I have been enjoying sharing a daily image on Facebook.  I’ll be writing more here on the blog soon.

At the end of 2011, I spent a couple of really enjoyable days at sand dunes in Death Valley National Park, including the Eureka Dunes.  So far this year, I’ve spent a couple of days in southern Nevada at Valley of Fire State Park, as well as the surrounding Lake Mead National Recreation Area, and have been on a few rainy-day hikes at one of my favorite places in southern California.

I’ve uploaded new portfolio images to several of my galleries here on the site; all of these images have resonated with me, for various reasons, and I hope you check them out!  A few (that haven’t already been featured here on the blog) are below.

I hope your 2012 is off to a great start!

Gnarled oaks at the Santa Rosa Plateau Ecological Reserve

A Foggy Day, January 2012


Sunrise at Elephant Rock, Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

The Elephant & The Moon, January 2012


Late Afternoon in Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Persistence, November 2011

Braced against the wind

Friday, January 6th, 2012

In Medicine Bow, Wyoming, they say the wind doesn’t blow twenty four hours out of the whole year.  Even in July, the wind is cold, noisy, all-consuming.  One morning, my friend, hiking in the wind near Medicine Bow tripped, and at the last second looked down to see a small prairie rattlesnake strike right between her legs; if she hadn’t stumbled, she would have been bitten.  The wind silenced the snake’s warning rattle.

The wind can be harsh, cold, brutal, and at the same time it can be life-giving, sustaining.  It shapes who we are, and what we have yet to become.  If you’ve lived with it for any period of time, you know what I’m talking about.  It may be much more tangible to see how the wind shapes the landscapes we love so much.  I’m excited to present four new images (See the portfolio here, as well as below) from two of our national parks–Bryce Canyon and Death Valley–that are devoted to the wind that shapes these beautiful, mysterious, and awe-inspiring places.

Bryce Canyon National Park is hugely popular, being part of the “Grand Circle” of the Southwest, and its no wonder why.  Bryce’s hoodoos–formed by the brilliantly colorful Claron Formation–simply glow like no other rock in southern Utah.  In concert with water, the wind shapes the hoodoos into various shapes–from hammers, to broken palaces, to entire cities.  Jagged and raw, Bryce inspires imagination and creativity, and as Ebenezer Bryce pointed out, “its a hell of a place to lose a cow.”

Contrast Bryce’s ruggedness with Death Valley’s seemingly endless sand dunes.  The wind shapes the sand into sensuous, almost erotic, curves that perhaps could be an abstract nude study rather than a grand landscape.  The light plays on the dunes on both a micro and macro scale, providing endless shapes and forms.

Hoodoos in late afternoon light, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon #1, 2011


Hoodoos in late afternoon light, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Bryce Canyon #2, 2011


Ibex Dunes, Death Valley National Park, California

Death Valley #1, 2011


Ibex Dunes, Death Valley National Park, California

Death Valley #2, 2011

These images signify–in part–the forces that have shaped our national parks.  To help with the continued protection of our public lands, I’ll be donating 25% of the profits from the sale of these prints to the Wilderness Society, which works to make visits to our national parks more meaningful and inspiring.  This is not a limited-edition series of prints, and this offer doesn’t expire–I’ll make the donations forever.  Finally, I am offering special pricing for the purchase of all four of these prints, in any size.  Please visit my purchase page, or contact me for more details.

“The truest art I would strive for in any work would be to give the page the same qualities as earth: weather would land on it harshly, light would elucidate the most difficult truths; wind would sweep away obtuse padding. Finally, the lessons of impermanence taught me this: loss constitutes an odd kind of fullness; despair empties out into an unquenchable appetite for life.”   –Gretel Ehrlich

Bryce Canyon sunrise

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010

As I promised in my last post, here are a couple of sunrise photos from my recent trip to Bryce Canyon National Park.  Although it was my first sunrise in the park, anyone would quickly realize that Bryce is truly a place to see the sun come up!  We elected to go to Sunrise Point, and although it was very pretty, I’m convinced Sunset Point would have been equally as beautiful.  After waddling (I say ‘waddling’ because the trail from the parking area is was steep and icy) carefully to the point, we enjoyed near solitude as the horizon was beginning to light up an intense red color.  I’m pretty sure this red was at least partly due to emissions from the Navajo Power Plant, almost 90 miles away in Page, Arizona, but it was still very pretty.  Within minutes, the snow in the Amphitheater was glowing pink, and the hoodoos were beginning to light up.

Early morning light on the Amphitheater, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Morning Alpenglow, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, January 2010

As soon as the sun came up, the entire Amphitheater enjoyed a brief, glorious, glow that lasted only a few minutes.  Within about 20 minutes of the sun cresting the horizon, the show was over.

Sunrise, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Sunrise, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, January 2010

Not only is Bryce perfectly suited for early morning shots, its good proof to the photographer that it really pays to be there early!  To see all of my images from Bryce, click here.

Bryce Canyon in winter

Monday, January 25th, 2010

After visiting Zion National Park on our recent trip, we went over to Bryce Canyon National Park to spend a sunset and sunrise.  It was my second time visiting Bryce, but during my first visit I wasn’t able to be there during the “golden hour”, so it was nice to spend an evening and a morning there.  Additionally, I was excited to visit while there was snow on the ground; for some reason, Bryce seems like a national park that’s complimented very well by snow.

As expected, the Amphitheater didn’t let down.  We spent sunset at–are you ready?–Sunset Point, and it was very pretty.  In the hour or so before the sun went down, I photographed the lovely backlit hoodoos in the cluster known as the Silent City.

Backlit hoodoos in the Silent City, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

The Silent City, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, January 2010

However, after the sun went down is when the real show started.  The best way to describe the light at Bryce Canyon may be “magical” or as a “glow”.  Either way, I don’t think those words really do it justice.  After the sun went below the horizon, the entire Amphitheater lit up with this palette of pastels that is simply indescribable.  This photo shows what’s probably Bryce’s most photographed hoodoo–Thor’s Hammer–all the way to the Aquarius Plateau in the distance simply lit up in alpenglow.  What a perfect night to be outside!

Bryce Amphitheater at sunset, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Pastel Sunset, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, January 2010

Click here to see all of my images from Bryce Canyon National Park.  In my next post…sunrise at Bryce.

New images, and a new page

Monday, January 11th, 2010

Yesterday I returned from what felt like a whirlwind 4-day trip to Utah.  Our plan was to head into the Vermillion Cliffs wilderness and visit the Wave, as well as Buckskin Gulch and Wire Pass.  Unfortunately, December snow and recent warm temperatures have made the roads into those trailheads extremely muddy, and nothing ruins a trip faster than having to call a tow truck to pull you out of the mud.  As a compromise, we spent a couple of days in Zion National Park, as well as one day in Bryce Canyon National Park.  I’ll be sharing some images from those parks in the next few days.

On our second night there, we made a trip to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park near the east entrance to Zion.  I had never been here before, but because of my love for sand dunes I’ve always wanted to.  The geography of the region has allowed the dunes to form here, and the sand is derived from Navajo Sandstone which surrounds the area.  As the name implies, the dunes were very pretty pink, turning a brilliant red as the sun went down.  With the Vermillion Cliffs as a backdrop, this place would make for some great grand landscapes, however I was somewhat disappointed with the number of OHV tracks on the dunes (for grand landscapes, it would be best after a large wind storm).  In the spring, the place would also make for great floral photography.  On this trip, however, I focused on the macro landscape.   I hope you enjoy this image; its one of my favorites from the whole trip.

coral pink sand dunes, utah state park, utah department of natural resources, abstract image, sand dune pic

The Sands of Time, Coral Pink Sand Dunes, January 2010

Another image from Bryce Canyon N.P.

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Last night I had time to sit down and process another image from our Bryce fly-by in late August.  Even at about 10am, I was amazed by the glow these formations have.  The ponderosa pines really contrast nicely with the brilliant reds in the rock, and I love the “3-D” feel this image has.

Looking into the Amphitheater, Bryce Canyon National Park, August 2009

Photo of the Day: Thor’s Hammer

Monday, September 14th, 2009

Our recent visit to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument was one of multiple “firsts” for me.  A notable one was my first visit to Bryce Canyon National Park.  I’ve come close multiple times–driving by on the west, north and south, but I’d never been in to see the famous Bryce Amphitheater.  All I really have to say is, “Holy Cow!”  Bryce truly is stunning.

Part of the Claron formation, the rocks in Bryce were deposited by an ancient inland sea and are about 100 million years younger than the rocks in Zion National Park.  The rocks exposed in Zion are younger than the ones in the Grand Canyon; there are, however, formations that are shared by all three areas.  This creates a sequence of superformations geologists refer to as the Grand Staircase.  Bryce Canyon’s formations are the youngest known formations in the staircase.

The colorful hoodoos that Bryce is famous for are formed by a chemical weathering process, similar to erosion.  Today’s photo of Thor’s Hammer, the tallest of these hoodoos was taken in August 2009.  I would have wished for slightly better light, but a clearing thunderstorm gave me interesting dappled sunlight, and allowed the limestone to display its beautiful color!

Thor’s Hammer, Bryce Canyon National Park, August 2009

Image of the day: inside the cathedral

Tuesday, August 25th, 2009

Being a teacher, my days are about to get very busy, so I’ve been running like crazy to fit last-minute photography trips in before classes begin.  I shared some of my Yosemite images with you last week, and yesterday I returned from a 4-day, 1200-mile trip to southern Utah.  The main goal was the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, but included quick stops into Bryce National Park, Cedar Breaks National Monument, and Zion National Park.  I’ll have pictures up soon (and will share them), but in the meantime, here’s one from a beautiful morning spent inside the Cathedral:

brent_neonInside the Cathedral, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, August 2009