The sun was starting to set over the western rim of the valley. I was standing on a small rock outcropping. My focus was moving back and forth from the Temple of the Sun on my left and the Temple of the Moon on my right. The clouds were rapidly moving as the sun was setting, providing different levels of interest and shadows on the two “Temples”. I was hesitant to switch my composition from one to the other. I did anyway…
Walking into a narrow canyon in Capitol Reef National Park, I stopped and turned around to view the path I had taken. This tree was perfectly framed by the canyon walls and the cliff in the background. The shapes, colors, shadows and highlights created this image. All I had to do is place my tripod down and push the shutter. Nature is amazing.
My future bride wrote the following poem to describe how she felt when viewing the image
Growth is everywhere, even underneath the layers of rock where years of rain, wind, and river water color them a bright reddish, with lines and splashes of experience.
The tree winds and tangles to the sun as if it wants to be seen up where the air is clear and open, a place it stretches to yet cannot see.
It is a ghost-like journey, this quest to become. The journey, with its twists and branches, is the story that is not yet written, not yet told.
Goblin Valley is located close to Capitol Reef National Park in south central Utah. It is an intriguing sight. I have never seen anything that is similar. The clay mushroom figures range from about 6 feet to 12 feet high. They looked like an army of “goblins” waiting to march into a fight.
When we arrived, the area was in the middle of a heavy downpour. We had to wait underneath a shelter overlooking the valley for almost an hour before the rain let up enough to venture out. The walk down into the valley was slow and slippery. Mud came up over the ankles of my boots. It was a messy slog through the valley but well worth it!
Down I walked into Goblin Valley. Stone soldiers were gathered around waiting for their leader to give direction. I walked around and around through their midsts and found this line of soldiers starting to march. I quickly formed into line with my camera and tripod on my shoulder like a rifle. On we marched out of the valley to a destination unknown. I slid out of ranks and sneaked back to my car.
Sometimes I get lucky. Walking along the washes between the Temple of the Moon and Temple of the Sun in Capitol Reef, I looked east and saw a full moon rising over the horizon. I positioned myself west of the Temple of the Moon. I waited over an hour for the sky to darken and the moon to rise above the temple monolith. While waiting, I thought about the spiritual ramifications that were felt by the ancient native Americans thousands of years ago. It was well worth the wait.
Back to black and white. I photographed this image in the middle of my last afternoon at Capitol Reef. Who says you can’t create a good image in the middle of the day. It was a beautiful afternoon. The overhead sun lit up the Henry Mountains as well as provided nice shadows in the valley below. I had the point all by myself. It was a wonderful and peaceful feeling. Looking down at the cliff walls and valley below, I was experiencing over 100 million years of history. Human existence is pretty insignificant in the scheme of the natural wonders of our planet. Let us all protect it for future generations.
I recently completed a workshop with John Barclay and Mitch Dobrowner at Capitol Reef National Park, Utah. This view is from a plateau cliff overlooking a valley 400-500 feet below. My knees were shaky as I got near the edge. My tripod saved me. First, it was a nice brace to have between me and the edge. And second, there was no way I could have hand-held a shot with my wobbly knees.
My focus for this workshop was to work on my black and white skills with Mitch Dobrowner. However, when I saw this variety of color, I could not pass the opportunity to share this experience in color.
The view from Skyline Point was breathtaking. It is a 270 degree panorama of a colorful unearthly landscape. The point is a sheer cliff falling down to the valley down below.. Approaching the point, one has no idea that the plateau stops abruptly to this scene.
We got up early to see the moon set over the Sierras and Alabama Hills as they were being highlighted by the early morning sun. It was a great morning. We feasted on pancakes in Lone Pine afterwards!!! The morning even got better!
This image is a repeat of a prior post in 2018. I was driving through the Alabama Hills, turned a corner and saw this strange looking alien staring right at me. Chills ran down my back! I quickly pulled off the road, let the dust settle, and introduced myself. He didn’t say much and just frowned.