Due to having young children, I seldom get to take a vacation with my wife where it is just the two of us. I introduced her to Bryce Canyon and Cedar Breaks on our Honeymoon, and we did make a trip with the kids (and my parents) to Goblin Valley and Arches almost 10 years ago. But that hardly scratches the surface of the places I have been with my friends and brother over the last 4-5 years.
When the opportunity arose to run away with my lovely lady for a few days I was eager to to just that. So we got the children cared for and ran away. 48 hours of time to ourselves, BLISS!
The first 3 hours of our drive was uneventful and mostly freeway through pretty, but hardly scenic, lands. As we got closer to Torrey, UT things began to get more interesting, the skies were perfect and the roads not busy. Allowing us the opportunity to stop as we chose to view the beauty.
It was absolutely wonderful to hear my wife exclaim with delight as she saw areas she had never seen before. I LOVE the area around Capitol Reef and Torrey, no it is not black and white but I have trouble resisting when the textures are so strong and I know I can get drama out of it.
This tree had the most wonderful bark, with patches of dark and light. My wife loved something I said as I looked at this tree. "I love juniper and pinyon pine, they are so beautiful when they are dead." Ok, so I am not a poet, who cares? The point is that those types of trees are fun to look at after they have croaked!
I think the B&W works better but I took the picture so what do I know?
There is a fun overlook on the way into the park, I wouldn't miss it if I were you.
This second photo looks quite a bit different from the first, I bracketed three shots and blended them in a program called Photomatix to create what is called a HDR or High Dynamic Range shot. I seldom do this in broad daylight, I have no problem with shadow and pure black in my images, but the first one seemed a little... eh....
This shot is an example of saving a shot. In color it was blase and I had trouble balancing the cloudy light on the foreground, and the brighter clouds. Converting to B&W allowed me to bring up the more red sandstone without blowing up the sky. There are a few clouds that are blown, but that is the limitation of my sensor on this old K200d.
This was another daytime HDR, interesting view from the Scenic Drive in Capitol Reef but not my best work.
There is an old Schoolhouse in Fruita that has been restored, it was closed by the time we rolled past. We were not even planning to go past it, but it rained on us a bit and we decided to forego driving into Cathedral Valley and getting stuck in the mud. Changing our evening destination to Goblin Valley allowed us to stop here when I really haven't before.
Rock art panels are not super common but hardly unknown either. I always wonder just what the heck some of those figures really are supposed to be.
We pulled into Goblin Valley and spent a sweaty night sleeping in our Honda Pilot, we were expecting 50's or low 60's in Cathedral Valley, not the low 80's we had in Goblin... Less than joyous!
The next morning my wife could see the promise of the sunrise, so she "Encouraged" me to get out of the sleeping bag and take some shots. I'm rather glad she did, it turned out to be an awesome sunrise, and I was able to capture some images I had envisioned before but never had the chance to get.
There are several versions of similar shots in this series, I am including them simply as a way for my readers to see how slight differences in composition can change the shot. That and I can't decide which one I like better.
I think the vertical shot is my favorite but I need to go back and try a new version that gives me a smidge more foreground detail. I liked it dark and mysterious but I think I just got dark...
Following some sage advice I once received I turned my back on the sunrise to see what the light was doing behind me. I'm glad I did. As the light played dodge'em with the clouds I subtly shifted the details of the scenes, providing a mystery and magic I needed in my soul. This was a special morning, despite the heat it was amazing, there was NO WIND, and NO SOUND beyond my own breathing and the sound of my shutter. I could stand still and experience utter stillness. Oh how my soul and heart needed that moment in time to hold and treasure!
Could not decide between the two compositions, amazing how shifting a foot or so to one side can change the look of a photo.
The Three Sisters were right behind me while shooting the sunrise, catching them with early morning light is a long held goal of mine.
As I returned to the campground I became more and more enamored with the textures of the sand, there had been sparse raindrops during the night and they had created a secondary texture of craters on the ridges of blown sand. As I usually do when I am looking at a texture I shot with the intent of converting to B&W. I liked this especially because of how it took the work of lying down on my belly to create a shot from a small detail that most would miss.
I am not thrilled with how I put the horizon near the center of the composition, but I still like the drama of the sky and the textures of the rocks. Sometimes that is how I remember things. Little bunches of small details, rather than the whole thing at once time.
After getting breakfast we loaded up and headed for Thompson Springs, a soon to be Ghost Town, which is the gateway to Sego Canyon. There was a sizable herd of Antelope in town, hiding in the shade which made good shots tough to come by.
Up the canyon from Thompson Springs is the closed Sego Canyon Mine and the Ghost Town attached to it. We didn't have the time to really explore the town, we were there for the petroglyphs.
Which were awesome!!! Several different styles were represented
This guy honestly spooked me a bit, weird eyes man, weird eyes.
Next we entered Canyonlands, a place I had not been in YEARS!!!!! Definitely need to visit again when I can. The views and vistas are simply sublime!
I really liked this couple painting under their umbrellas in the baking hot sun.
Definitely NOT a road for the faint of heart, or wussy of vehicle.
Just.... sigh..... I love the view.... just LOVE!
This qualifies as a BIG panorama, Photoshop barfed it back up repeatedly, but PTGui handled it without difficulty. I really want to print this at 20x80 or whatever it would come out to be. Anybody wanna pay for that print???? sigh.....
Not sure how long this gas station was closed but I wish they were still open and selling gas for that price!