Tag Archives: Arches National Park

Within And Beyond National Park Boundaries

The View Framed By Mesa Arch

The view beyond Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park, Utah

This morning’s “Featured Story” in the National Parks Traveler deals with an interview I held with Kate Cannon, superintendent of the Southeast Utah Group.  I spoke with Superintendent Cannon during the first week of January while I was in Utah, photographing in both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks.

To read the article, click on the photo to be taken to the site.

 

 

 

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Filed under 5DS, 5DSR, Arches National Park, Canon, Canon Lens, Canyonlands National Park, Equipment, Holidays, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, New Year, Photography, Travel, Utah

A Time For Reflection – In So Many Ways

Little Tree In The Window

Little Tree in The South Window, Arches National Park, Utah

I may very well have posted this image back in 2013, which is when it was captured. *This* image, however, is a reworked version and looks much better than the original. That’s not to say it looks different from what I actually saw when I took the photograph. It’s simply to say that this image produces *more* of what I saw and how I saw it. It’s true, the camera captures all of the data, but one may not necessarily see it from the outset, depending upon the original camera settings.
 
This, in turn, leads me to some thoughts regarding photography, the end of the year, and life, in general.
 
As each year draws to a close and people start looking toward the new year, it’s a tradition (or maybe just an assumption), that we will all review the old year, attempt to draw some conclusions from our experiences over that year, and make room for improvements during the new year.
 
In my case, I’ve got a number of conclusions and planned improvements.  For those of you non-photographers who read this, simply substitute “photography” for whatever it is you love doing (dancing, drawing, painting, writing, making jewelry, cooking, etc.)
 
1. I have improved my photo editing talents over this past year. Thankfully. This is because I continue to try and learn from others, either through reading, experimentation, or purchasing and downloading how-to videos. Example: I probably would have never learned how to use (or at least, correctly use) Photoshop’s Layers had I not started reviewing a set of videos from photographer Chip Phillips. I’d been reading about layers, but it all sounded so damned difficult. Chip is, without a doubt, one of my favorite photographers (ok, I really like Kevin McNeal, too), and his videos were a priceless learning tool for me. I also do alot of looking on Flickr for motivation as well as different ways to capture an image. I’ve been doing quite a bit of looking regarding panoramas, because I don’t have much experience capturing shots and creating panoramas from those shots, and I want to be able to do that. The message I want *you* photographers out there to get from this, is that you must continue to learn and experiment with your work. When I do my own browsing of other photographer’s Facebook pages or Flickr accounts, I see many with great potential, but they seem to be stuck in a rut. I look at their images and see potential that is there, but not unearthed because they didn’t try working with shadows, highlights, saturation, and all the other neat tools Photoshop or their preferred photo editor offers, that would bring a little special “oomph” or “wow” factor to their image. Sometimes, you just need to experiment for yucks and giggles and then see what comes of it.
 
2. I still don’t know a lot of things about photography or the business side of photography. And I *know* I don’t know this. So I need to make it my business to know what I don’t know. It’s the only way I am ever going to evolve from a semi-pro to a pro, in terms of business savvy as well as making a little more money with my shots. I recently was asked for an estimate (aka quote) on one of my images to be used on a product that will be mass-produced in a relatively small quantity. Now, I could have just sent a quick email with what I *think* would be a fair price, but that would have no way helped me at all. So, I’ve been sitting down and learning the business side of photography, including how to negotiate, how to set up a business (do I want to be an LLC, an S-Corporation, etc), the different licenses a client can purchase from me, and what kind of price is a fair price (there’s a great software program out there called fotoQuote that I and the authors of some books I’ve been reading highly recommend). These are just a few items. There is so much to learn, and it’s not all fun, believe me. But, for my future as a more serious photographer trying to pay my bills with my work, this is necessary and quite interesting, actually.
 
3. Life is going to get a little more interesting/challenging for me in 2018. I could say it will get “scarier” for me, but that would be the wrong mindset. So, I intend to be positive about it, as it will jump start me in a new direction. You see, the day job I have is planning layoffs in about 3 weeks. I’m not sure whether I’ll be kept or let go, but I have to make my contingency plans. I’m too young to collect social security and I really need to work a few more years before I feel I can retire within relative comfort (I’m gonna miss the company health insurance, since I’m too young for Medicare, and, under the present administration, may never be able to collect Medicare). So, my contingency plans include such things as updating my LinkedIn profile and re-writing my resume … something I haven’t done in 20 years! Oh, I also need to get better at selling myself at my age. Even though older people have experience, they sometimes are set in their ways and not quite as adaptable as the current generation; this is evidenced in the out-of-work coal miners who will probably never get their jobs back, but either are afraid to or simply don’t want to try and learn something new and adapt to today’s environment. 2018 will, in all eventuality, see me moving back out West, from where I originally came. Suits me. I never liked where I live but was here for my aging parents (now gone) and the job (possibly to be gone sooner rather than later). And I live farther away than desired from what is left of my family. Losing my current job will simply be a kick in the butt to jump start my new future. It’s going to be stressful, especially since I’m 20 years older than when I first moved to Texas. Making a big move from one part of the country to another is considered a life event. There is so much to plan for (packing, moving, looking for a new place to live, finding a job – and not necessarily in that order). That’s not going to stop me from achieving a life goal, though. Ever since my family moved from the mountains of Montana down to the southern part of the U.S., I made it a dream/desire/goal to move back to the mountains. And I *will* do it.
 
3. Family is more important than you might realize. I know, there are families out there that are horrible, and their children are better off distancing themselves from toxic situations. But for those with loving family relationships, here’s some advice: As your parents get older, they are going to need your help and your company. Living a great distance away from them may be ok when you are in your 20s and your parents are still in good health, but you are going to need to be prepared to make some difficult and necessary life choices as your parents age and their health diminishes. They may need someone to run errands for them, or cook for them or just keep them company when they are lonely. Don’t be the one to feel guilty after they are dead, wishing woulda-coulda-shoulda. Visit them as often as you can. When you can’t visit, call them. Doesn’t matter if you don’t have much to say. Your parents will be thrilled you called and they will generally fill up the silence with their own stuff. Trust me on this one.
 
4. Keep reading and keep learning. And not just about photography. I’m lucky in that I had a great education and a supportive network which originally instilled in me the desire to learn and continue learning. It begins early, folks: start reading to your kids. Now. Even if they are toddlers. Hell, even if they are babies. Read to them and instill in them the love of books and knowledge. I know a person who has younger relatives and those kids hate school and hate reading. They were never read to when they were little – probably because their own parents and relatives never liked reading because nobody ever read to them. So, the fires of curiosity and learning were never stoked. It’s a vicious circle. I have a great-niece who is reading at 4 grades above her current level, and a great-nephew who is reading at about the same speed as his sister. They both love books. My great-nephew, in particular,enjoys books about science and interesting facts about animals, space, food, you name it. My youngest great-niece also loves being read to.  She will often ask her parents (or Grammy) to read the same book over and over to her several times before she goes to sleep.  Their parents read to them and have always taken the time to answer their questions or help them find the answers to their questions. Be that parent.
 
4. Put down your damned smartphone. Talk to the people you are with. If traveling, look around you and stop thinking you need to send every little photograph to Facebook/Instagram/Twitter right at that moment. Take time to really *look*. Savor the view, the experiences, the fresh air, the smells of the environment, the interesting people, and the adventure of it all. And for fun, if you see someone walking along with their nose in their smartphone, stand still and see if they even know there is someone in front of them. Oh, and DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE. Beyond stupid.
 
5. Plan NOW. For whatever: a future trip, your college education, your 401(k). Half the fun (and half the learning) is in the planning.  It’s also prudent to start planning for something like your kid’s college education sooner rather than later.
 
6. Summon your courage to travel solo at least once in 2018. It’s a wonderful, freeing, sometimes scary, but always educational experience. Put away old mindsets, old worries, old prejudices. That doesn’t mean you should throw caution to the wind. Safety is always of paramount importance. But step out of that cocoon for just a little bit and experience a whole wide world (not a flat world, but a round world governed by the law of gravity).
 
7. It’s ok if you like living alone. It’s ok if you don’t like to be around people that much. It’s ok if you like animals better than humans. It’s ok if you would rather read than go shopping or go to a party. It’s ok if you don’t ever want to marry. It’s ok if you don’t ever want kids. Don’t let anybody else’s expectations infringe upon what you want to do with your own life. Don’t let anybody bully you or force you to do something with your life that you feel is wrong. Remember, it’s your life. I stopped watching “Say Yes To The Dress” because it used to drive me nuts that the bride (and it’s HER wedding) would get so upset that her parents/relatives/friends hated her wedding dress pick so they would try and choose HER dress for her.  Be brave and do your own choosing for yourself.  Don’t let others do it for you.
 
I guess that’s it. I’m sure I’ll think of other things, but since I thought of these first, then they are probably the most important.
 
Happy Festivus.

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Photography In The National Parks: Your Armchair Guide To Arches National Park – Part 2

Stair Steps To Turret Arch

The National Parks Traveler has published my Part 2 Armchair Guide to Arches National Park, Utah.  If you are planning a trip there or just thinking about planning a trip, then click on the photo to be taken to the article.

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Photography In The National Parks: An Armchair Guide to Arches National Park, Utah – Part 1

B5A7086_Last-Sunrise-Over-The-La-Sals.jpg

The National Parks Traveler just published my latest article on their site.  Click on the photo above to check it out.

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Arches National Park, National Parks, National Parks Traveler, Photography, Photography In The National Parks

A Telephoto Landscape, Arches National Park, UT

199  La Sal Mountains Telephoto Landscape

I know this is a sort of cop-out, but in lieu of a full-blown blog post (which I am working on regarding flash photography), I wanted to post the link to my latest article in the Photography in the Parks column of the National Parks Traveler website. I have noted before that I share space with another photographer. She generally has her articles posted near the end of the month while my articles are posted at the beginning of each month. Here’s the latest dealing with the use of telephoto lenses for landscapes. Check it out if you are interested.

http://www.nationalparkstraveler.com/2013/03/photography-national-parks-use-your-telephoto-lens-those-park-landscapes22872

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Filed under Arches National Park, Landscape, National Parks, Photography, telephoto lens, Travel and Photography

La Sal Mountains Viewpoint

I had only 2 full days (plus a half day and a morning) within Arches National Park, Utah, but during those days, one of my favorite spots was a place near the park entrance called the La Sal Mountains Viewpoint.  I’d stop there each day going into and out of the park.  It’s the perfect place for sunrise images.

C2C8551_Sunrise

B5A7086_Last Sunrise Over The La Sals

It’s also the perfect place to get an amazing overview of the La Sal Mountains, The Three Gossips, Sheep Rock, Tower of Babel, The Organ, and some amazing views far beyond of such formations as Balanced Rock.

C2C7905_Landmarks On The Landscape

B5A6854_Morning In The Park

B5A6983_Afternoon At La Sal Mountains Viewpoint

B5A7073_Good Morning Arches ORIG

From this viewpoint, you can see interesting things like the hot air balloon that rose above the rocks each morning I was there.

B5A7180_Sunrise Balloon Ride VERT

This viewpoint is also a lovely place to stop and say good-bye to the park until the next time you visit it.

C2C7899_Becky At La Sal Mountain Viewpoint

I’ve booked my airfaire for a February 2013 trip back to Moab and Arches NP.  If anybody thinks they might be out there during that time, give me a shout;  it would be fun to meet you and enjoy some photographic quality time together.

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Filed under Arches National Park, National Parks, Photography, Travel, Utah

Utah Geology Rocks!

B5A6838_Fault and Runner

I have a couple of degrees in geology, and although I am not a geologist by profession (I graduated with my MS degree at the wrong time), I am still totally enthralled by geology and geologic processes.

Utah is an earth sciences treasure trove. The few photos here that I captured along Hwy 191, at Anticline Overlook, and in Arches National Park are just the tip of the geologic iceberg.

The factoids in this post were taken from the internet as well as three different publications:

Roadside Geology of Utah, by Halka Chronic

Canyonlands Country, by Donald L. Bars

Geology Unfolded, by Thomas H. Morris et al

Travel with me as I depart Monticello, UT and head toward Arches National Park, along Hwy 191.

B5A6517-Church Rock

C2C7643_Church Rock

Sitting by itself, all rounded and monumental, Church Rock, along Hwy 191 heading north from Monticello to Moab, is an erosional remnant (a bedrock formation that remains after extensive erosion).

C2C7664_Cane Creek Anticline

Anticline Overlook, some 32 miles west-northwest of Hwy 191 along a scenic byway (15 miles of which are well-tended gravel), is so named for the curved, uplifted shape of the Cane Creek Anticline visible across the Colorado river (the left portion of this photo).

C2C7696_Kane Creek Canyon

Anticline Overlook sits upon a promontory with views of the Colorado River, Dead Horse Point State Park, and Kane Creek Canyon, pictured here (yeah, I don’t get the difference in spellings either, but that’s how they appear on the internet).

C2C7720_Wilson Arch

One of the first arches one sees along Hwy 191 toward Moab is Wilson Arch, which  formed from massive sandstone eroded on both sides by water and wind into a “fin”.  Further erosion on both sides of the fin along joints in the rock formed  an alcove, then a cave, then ultimately the arch seen here.

B5A6983_Afternoon At La Sal Mountains Viewpoint

Subsurface magma intrusions squeezed in between rock layers to form dome-shaped igneous  “laccoliths”. The overlying sediments were eroded away, exposing these laccoliths to become what we call the La Sal Mountains.

B5A6689_Moab Fault

B5A6696_Moab Fault Sign

I couldn’t quite get the big picture and it took me a bit of puzzling to figure out exactly where the Moab Fault is located (I mean, relative to me.  I know the Moab fault is located near Moab, UT).  After re-reading the sign at the Moab Fault overlook, right inside the park, I finally got it.  Looking at the photo of the area across the highway from where I stood (I was at the “you are here” part of the sign) is the upthrown fault block, while the area on my side of the highway is the downthrown fault block.  The fracture line is basically parallel to the highway. The fault displacement (how much it’s gone down/up) is about 2500 feet!

B5A6773_Geology

Arches in the making.  With continued erosion via water and wind, those holes you see now will eventually become arches….but not in my lifetime….or your lifetime…..or your kids’ lifetimes…..or….well, you get it.

C2C7799_Entrada SS and Dewey Bridge Member

C2C7802_A Closer Look CROP

Those squiggly rock layers along the bottom of this big sandstone structure are collectively called the Dewey Bridge Member.  A “member” is a distinctive rock within a formation (a formation is a distinctive, mappable rock unit).

B5A6787_Balancing Act

The Dewey Bridge Member erodes far more easily than the sandstones sitting atop it.  This is called differential erosion.  The pinnacle known as Balanced Rock was formed because of differential erosion.

B5A6881_Dwery Bridge Member and Pinnacle TEXT

Another example of a pinnacle, the Dewey Bridge Member, and differential erosion.

B5A6894_Salt Valley Explanation

Salt Valley does indeed consist of salt deposits. Hundreds of millions of years ago, this entire area was a sea. Layers of salt thousands of feet thick were deposited right here. Salt domes were formed, creating uplift in the land. Huge cracks occurred in the uplifted layers, water poured in, salt leached out leaving empty spaces, and collapse ensued, creating this valley. OK, it’s a simplistic explanation, but I’m writing this for mostly non-geologists and this is indeed what happened.

B5A6896-2_Salt Valley and Devils Garden

B5A6889_Salt Valley and Devils Garden

The above photos are looking over Salt Valley toward Devils Garden (consisting of a bunch of those “fins” I described earlier).

B5A7026_Salt Valley

B5A7035_Salt Valley and La Sals

These two photos are looking the other way, across Salt Valley toward the La Sal Mountains and the Windows Section of the park.

B5A6908_Erosion

Here’s a nice example of weathering by water (frost and rain) and erosion.

C2C8446_Landscape Arch

All arches struggle with the pull of gravity, and Landscape Arch is no exception. This was proved back in 1991 when a 60-foot slab of this arch fell to the ground (that’s 180 tons of rock debris, according to the sign near this arch). There is no longer a path leading to a view beneath the arch.  It’s all fenced off now, although I’m pretty sure some photographers still risk it to get that perfect image.  The thing is, nobody can predict there won’t be more slabs of rock sloughing off from this arch unexpectedly.  Who knows? Maybe in my lifetime, that arch will indeed totally collapse.

B5A7290_Geologic Panorama CROP Text

Heading out of Moab, UT on toward Grand Junction, CO, I stopped to photograph this view. I later discovered this very same scene had been published in one of the books referenced at the beginning of this post: a real-life stratigraphic column of the Jurassic-age (140 – 200 million years ago) rock found within Arches National Park.  I just originally photographed it because I thought it was really cool, with all those differing layers of sandstone….and I figured it would make a great addition to a geology blog post I was thinking of writing Winking smile

These few photos show just a little bit of the wonderful geology found in Utah.  You don’t have to be a geologist or a geology student to totally understand the processes that created all of these wonders.  All you really need is an observant eye and an appreciation of the geologic results.

C2C7741_Becky At Wilson Arch

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Filed under Geology, Photography, Travel, Utah