A Portrait Photographer's View of Utah's Mighty Five
First, let me just say that 98% of the images you see here I took with a portrait lens and the smallest/lightest camera I own - the Nikon D40. Yes, that's right, the D40. And the smallest and lightest lens I own is the 35mm prime lens. This is NOT what is used for landscape photography but remember, I'm a portrait photographer. I love to shoot a face! My goal is to make images of woman that capture their entire beauty, or for every client to have images of themselves that portray their personal brand. While I loved shooting the landscape of Utah, I still prefer a face.
Below the photos is a short write-up of our travel across the state and my attempt to describe what we saw. Enjoy!
The (really short) story...for those interested.
We landed in St. George, Utah. Located in the southwestern corner of UT, St George is desert like with palm trees and swimming pools everywhere. Our first planned stop across the state would be Zion National Park - I say planned because I believe once you get there, you can easily be side-tracked by your own curiosity of the surroundings. When you are in St. George you have NO idea what you're in for. It's not until you start the drive north on 15, and cut east into the lower and main section of Zion NP, that you realize the grandiosity of the landscape. You are surrounded by magnificent red rocks that shoot vertically for 1000s of feet. At times it's one huge slick rock and at others a collection of jagged-edged rocks attached at varying degrees and heights. Below, is the Virgin River cutting through the park and providing the only ribbon of green with a variety of landscape plants and trees. It was a cold day with rain around us. We were thankful for that but it might have been pretty exciting to be there during a thunder and lightening storm - DEPENDING on where in the park it catches you, of course. They say that a rain storm causes waterfalls to erupt from dry cliffs and floods flash down waterless canyons with exploding log jams and hurling boulders. (Again, could be fun or terrifying, depending on where you are in the park.) It's difficult to express the beauty and magnificence of what we saw in words or photographs. I tried and hope you enjoy the photos but frankly, I don't think even the best landscape photographer's photos can touch your heart like the real life experience. Possibly, after having visited, photographs can make your heart sing again. I find this to be true as I look through the 100s I took - that I won't bore you with. (Your welcome)Our 2nd stop would be Cannonville to visit Bryce Canyon. We had thought that what we saw in Zion was amazing until we got to Bryce. And NO, Bryce is not more amazing that Zion - it's different. Bryce is mesmerizing! The vistas are deceptive and the landscape is never static. Seen at different times of day as the sun shines in one direction and creates shadows in others, the view is ever changing. The park is a kaleidoscope of weathered and eroded statuesque rock formations called Hoodoos. LOTS of them in different shapes and different colors - on hilltops and in canyons, alone and in collections creating a labyrinth of shapes, sizes and colors. So facsinating to look at that your eyes can't land or focus on any one element. And its VAST - again, terms to describe what we saw are just not adequate. Another amazing and gorgeous thing we saw are the Aspen trees. The older and larger aspens apppear to have eyes that look at you as you stroll or drive past them - they are said to be the oldest living organism in the park. Heading on to Torrey for our next stop - Capitol Reef. We left Bryce with plenty of light b/c the road to Torrey was said to be even MORE beautiful that the last stretch of Hwy 12. And it's true! West and East of Bryce. The scenery is beyond your imagination, but it's still 100s and 100s of miles you're driving everyday. We LOVED Torrey. You are in the Wild Wild West baby! Free range cattle everywhere. We saw cowboys (real ones) on their horses overlooking their cows. One came into a store right next to us wearing a cowboy hat, boots, AND SPURS! Capitol Reel. Once again, the landscape was totally different. The rock reefs are again, beyond the imagination - towering cliffs, massive domes, arches,, bridges and twisting canyons. "...the light seems to flow our shine out of the rock rather than to be reflected from it." (Clarence Dutton geologist and early explorer of Capitol Reef, 1880s)Our last stop was Moab. It's a long ride but when the speed limit is 80, yes 80, you make some pretty good time. We arrived in Moab and found it to be similar to Myrtle Beach - and not in a bad way. Men, women, boys and girls AND their toys, are different than what you see in Myrtle, but it's a 'strip' AND it's busy! Several blocks of stores, coffee shops, bakeries, street performers, pizza joints, juice bars, breweries, taverns, fine art, and more. Everyone is in the street walking, on bikes, or cruising the street in every sort of contraption that can be used to play in the dirt with. We saw 4-wheel drive VANs, Exterras fully loaded like we've never seen before, dun buggies, Jeeps, Razor, and bikes with huge tires for the trails. Every sort of toy you can image, used to play in the mountains with, exists in Moab in it's uber form! We spend 3 days and 3 nights in Moab. We visited Canyonlands and the Arches. The Arches has an astounding variety of geological formations. Colossal sandstone fins, massive balanced rocks and soaring pinnacles that dwarf you as a visitor. And did you know if you are hiking around and discover an arch you can name it? All you have to do is provide the exact coordinates and hope it hasn't been discovered before. That's pretty cool. We took a 1/2 day wild ride on an adventure tour and visited Monitor and Merrimac, two famous buttes named after Civil War warships, then on the 2nd half to Gemeni bridge. The ride was super exciting most of the time, and terrifying at others! Riding on the edge of the mountain unnerved me for a little while so its was like anxious exhileration, if there is such a thing. For 4 hours we bounced over rocks, sand dunes, rounded cliffs, climbed embankments and just generally got pounded, so cold beers are definitely in order when it was all said and done. We were covered in very fine sand from it all, but I'd do it again!I hope you enjoy the photos I included and if you have any questions about the trip or are thinking of visiting yourself, send a note. I took copious notes (and TONS more photos but didn't want to overwhelm) and can share lots of insights that is just too much to add here.