Category Archives: The Grand Landscape

The overview of the natural landscape.

Steptoe Butte


Steptoe Butte from Kamiak State Park

About an hour prior to taking this image, I was at the top of Steptoe looking over the Palouse Plain. (Refer to the first image of this series I posted about a week ago.) Now I am at the bottom of Kamiak Butte looking across the plain up to Steptoe Butte. In this image, I am trying to emphasize the curves of the fields and how they “feed up” toward Steptoe. The small bales of hay in the middle field add a little scale to the image.

Steptoe View

Steptoe View

It has been over 3 months since I last posted an image. It’s been a busy summer. Since my last post, the user interface for WordPress has changed a little. So here goes …

I will be trying to catch up with the photography that I have been doing over the summer through a series of mini-projects. The first will be from a recent trip to the Palouse in southeastern Washington. The view from Steptoe Butte was a flowing mixture of golds and various shades of brown. It was a cloudy morning with very little contrast. Then the sun broke through illuminating bright streaks across the landscape. The whole scene changed drastically. I chose to focus my images on small vignettes as opposed to the overall landscape. This lone tree and lines of the freshly plowed fields caught my eye.

Navaho Dome

Navaho Dome
Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Capitol Reef National Park is full of unusual forms, outcroppings, ridges, valleys, and canyons. Everywhere I turned, I saw a different formation. Questions flashed across my mind. How were they formed in the first place? When were they created? What was the landscape like at the time of the creation? What was the driving natural force that changed the landscape? What forces caused the erosion to occur in a specific way? Why are there different colors and tones? What are the legends that surround the formation’s history?

Does Navaho Dome reflect the lined face fo wisdom or the peaks and swirls of child’s play? Maybe it is both …


Mid-Day Shadows

Bullfrog Road Near Capitol Reef

On my last day at Capitol Reef I decided to just drive around and scout some of the areas for a future trip. It was mid-day when I saw some interesting shadows on these rock protrusions. The scene looked pretty flat in color. My mind turned black and white. I like clouds and shadows. Here were both.

Crooked River

Crooked River
Smith Rocks State Park, Oregon

On another adventure earlier this spring, we went to Smith Rocks State Park along Highway 97 in Oregon. It a beautiful spring day during local school’s spring break. There was a huge crowd with the same idea as we had to soak up the rays and explore. We took a casual walk along the gorge rim. Others were hiking the steep trails and climbing the shear faces of Smith Rocks (way outside of our physical condition or skill level). It was a great day!

A Beautiful Spring Day

Palouse River Canyon Below the Falls
Eastern Washington

Memorial Day was a beautiful Spring day! We woke up to a beautiful morning full of sunshine. It was time for a road trip! We decided to drive to the Palouse and visit Palouse Falls. Three hours later we were waiting in line to enter the Palouse Falls State Park. Many others had the same idea as we did. The drive and wait were worth it.

This image is taken from above the Palouse River just below the Palouse Falls. Recent rain created the green foliage on the plateau and canyon walls. Normally the scenery is pretty brown. The sky was covered by a patchwork of puffy white clouds. The scene was a a gift!

Can You Imagine …

Palouse Falls , Eastern Washington

Can you imagine these falls during the Ice Age Missoula Floods?  Water was rushing over the top flat rim of the plateau at 70 miles per hour!  The existing falls is but a small trickle of what was.

The amazing geological history of Eastern Washington continues to fascinate me. The current falls are 187 feet tall. The Ice Age Flood falls were about twice in height. Basalt on the canyon walls was created by a series of lava flows between 15 & 18 million years ago. The Missoula Floods creating the canyon occurred 12 to 15 thousand years ago (just a spec of time in our geologic history).

The Castle of Capitol Reef

“The Castle”
Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

This was my first stop at Capitol Reef National Park following my stop at the Visitor’s Center. It was mid-day, the sun was bright, and there were no clouds. So what … I started thinking black and white from the start. I walked around until I was able to frame “The Castle” with the two trees.

To me “The Castle” really did look like a castle overlooking the valley below. It was a good way to start my exploration of Capitol Reef National Park.

Temple of the Moon

Temple of the Moon
Capitol Reef National Park, Uta
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Following yesterday’s post, this image is the Temple of the Moon. Looking at both of these “Temples” in the valley and the heavily eroded hill sides on the perimeter makes me wish that a time-lapse camera could have caught the changes over the eons of time. How interesting it would be to watch nature’s elements carve out these natural structures.

As reference, the image of the Temple of the Moon and rising moon on 28 March was taken from the perspective of the small peak on the left.

Temple of the Sun

Temple of the Sun
Capitol Reef National Park, Uta
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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…

Tomorrow, Temple of the Moon