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I'm now selling my photos!!!

I now host galleries of my favorite photos @ www.lloydshell.zenfolio.com Feel free to surf over there to see photo's that may have drifted into the darkest reaches of the archives here on Blogspot.

I also have begun selling my photographs when requested, I can handle most sizes and finishes either locally or via my on-line printing service.

Thanks for looking!

Lloyd
lloydshell@gmail.com

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Dry Forks of the Coyote

Ah... the big adventure day begins. My brother and I leave the Salt Lake Valley to head south to the blessed peace of southern Utah. Adventures first stop? The Escalante/Grand Staircase National Recreation area. After a quick stop in Escalante, UT to pick up our backcountry permit to camp for the next night or two we head south on the Hole In The Rock Road to our first stop: The Dry Forks of the Coyote Gulch, to spend some time in some skinny, skinny, slot canyons!

The roads are well marked and we easily find our trailhead, and follow the cairns down into the gulch. Following along the contour of this side hill takes up to the right and down.

The cactus were in bloom, but pink in this area, in Capitol Reef they were Red last year in May.


Once you reach the bottom, you can turn immediately left into a nice slot canyon that is part of the main gulch, it is wide and fairly easily accessible. The light seemed to peek around the corners with a golden glow that was simply fantastic to behold.


Narrowing but never getting too narrow, it was a perfectly pleasant environment to wander through and enjoy the splendor.

A little further along we shoal up a bit bit it never becomes rough or intimidating.

Once you have explored as far as you want to, a quick trip back down just past the entrance to the gulch (on your right) brings you to the entrance (on your left) to Peek-A-Boo Gulch. Using the Moki Steps carved in the face on the left, you can fairly easily gain access to the main channel, the sandstone is highly figured and formed into holes and divots. This is not a place to be when it rains.

Not very far up the gulch, there is a series of arches, that in rainy times the water flows under. The contrasts of the bright direct sunlight and dark shadow challenge any camera and photographer. Using HDR to combine shots allows for the full glory to be shown. Here I have demonstrated three different approaches to this processing. Each with it's own pro's and con's. I cannot say which one is my favorite, I like them all.

Exposure Fusion

Details Enhancer

Tone Compressor.

The hardiness of the desert flora to flourish in this hostile of an enviroment continually amazes me.

Just up from the arches you have to duck through this low arch to get in and out. Here I am exiting.

A short walk down from Peek-A-Boo, is Spooky Gulch, so named because of how dark and spooky it was. I had to push my ISO's higher than I am usually comfortable using, but I really really can't hand hold lower than 1/3 to 1/2 sec and reasonably expect decent sharpness... sigh.....

It starts out reasonably wide, but.....

It gets nearly unreasonably wide quite quickly! I was required to take my backpack off and turn sideways for long stretches. I am not a claustrophobe at all, but I did get a little tired of holding my backpack out, I carry a lot of water and it is heavy!!!

There are straighter stretches where you can squish in your shoulders a little and walk facing straight ahead...

And places where you cannot. The glow of the light ahead was always a nice thing to see coming up. It has a very red tinge, that requires care to not over saturate.

Most of the time you cannot see the sun or sky at all.


My Brother is not a fat man, and made it through OK, but those that are horizontally challenged are not really candidates for this type of insanity.

Other places are more curvy and convoluted, but always always beautiful!


This fin was a little acrobatic to negotiate, the outside curve is just big enough to get you bottom into as you try to not get neutered.

If you look closely at the walls you can see sand on the little ridges, it was blowing quite hard up on the topside, and find sand was raining down on us at times. fortunately my camera is sealed so it did fine, my zoom was a bit sticky for a day or two but soon worked out the kinks.

All in all this was a BLAST! And a place I want to come back to, apparently another spot further down called Brimstone Gulch is just as narrow and even longer. Now that sounds like fun to me!

Next stop camp, and getting ready for Coyote Gulch tomorrow!

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