I was a little doubtful that I could find a camping spot for us on this trip, but I was able to get one at Kodachrome Basin State Park, a hidden gem close to Bryce Canyon NP. While not as big and imposing as BCNP it is still a wonderful place and quite compact. Best of all they have flush toilets and hot water. When camping with 4 women that is important! When I go with another guy or two, we can camp anywhere, all I need is a flat spot for my tent and a bush.
Anyway, Kodachrome was it's usual pleasant self and the weather was cool at night but perfect during the day. The moon was out, though we couldn't see as it was overcast when we went to bed. BUT... at 2:00 am the 7 year old needed to make a potty trip, and said lovely wife asked for my company, I readily agreed as I was intrigued by how light the tent was. What a sight greeted our eyes! A Moonbow, a circular rainbow around the moon caused by the moon shining through ice crystals in the clouds. Being a photographer I had to start shooting once my guard duties were complete. It was one of those special moments. No wind, quiet as only the desert can get. One of those moments that touches your soul and creates a memory that never dims.
Despite the copious amounts of light from the moon (400-600 second exposure times) I did need to help light some of the scenery simply because there was shadow that needed to be filled in. I used my LED Maglight for a little foreground fill here, for about 20-30 seconds, then moved over to the left and painted the rock formation sticking up in the middle right and the ridge a bit. All in all I am quite pleased with this first image.
This image was shot just to the right of the edge of the frame of the first shot, but at about a 100+ degree angle to the right. I looks like a nice daylight shot but if you look closely behind the streams of cloud you can see some star movement. I love the nature of the color of the desert under moonlight.
Finally we come to the most photographed feature in the area immediately around the campground. This is an ossified "Sand Pipe" or former spring that filled with sand and turned to stone. Harder than the surrounding rock it resisted erosion and stands, towering over the campground. It has rather obvious similarities to certain.... appendages of the human body, and we had a tough time explaining to our youngest why mommy and daddy kept looking up and giggling.
Moving on to the actual gorgeous scenery... There are many of the Sand Pipes in the area and they are quite scenic. We enjoyed driving around and looking, it was a little early in the season for things to green up, but there is a certain sere and stark beauty to the winter desert landscape.
This is termed "Chimney Rock" I suppose it looks like a chimney, I think sometimes the folks that pass out names down here get a little un-imaginative. I would have called it "The Smokestack" but that is just because I put the clouds behind it, kind of like smoke coming out of it.
The short drive back to Canonville from KBSP is very scenic, this cabin has been a favorite landmark for me that I finally was able to capture with a sky that made the shot worth taking. Originally I intended this for color, but it just seemed to work better in B&W.
I was able to get my kids excited to drive "The Scenic Road" home, i.e. UT-12, which is truly one of the most scenic roads in Utah. Traveling through fertile farming valleys, over slickrock with the road literally carved out of the side of the cliff, up the "Hogsback" a ridge where the world drops off on either side for oh.... a thousand feet or two. Over the Boulder Mountains with views of Capitol Reef (more on that in a minute) and down into Torrey. If I had had the time I would have turned east on UT-24 the second most scenic road in Utah but alas it was time to go home. What a great road to drive though, just.... wish I could do it more often!
Typical view east of Escalante, UT.
Down on the road surface and in B&W, took these shot specifically for a co-worker who likes this type of shot.
This just screams "Come Drive ME!!!!"
The textures and colors of the rock contrasted with the puffy clouds and blue sky epitomize southern Utah, this is literally on the side of a turn off could have taken it from the drivers seat with a little maneuvering.
Once through Boulder, UT and up into the high country you get magnificent vistas over the Capitol Reef National Park area, with the Henry Mountains in the background. Spectacular views that the camera simply cannot do justice to!
Somewhat out of order here are my two large panorama shots of the day. This is from the Hogsback area of Highway 12, Calf Creek Falls is on the lower middle right ish. It is a beautiful hike best done in the afternoon of a hot day so that the cold water actually feels good, and you then hike back in the cooler part of early evening.
This panorama is from just down the road from the single shot up above, the sheer scope of the land is mind blowing. Printing this large is my only hope! Wish I could afford it.
So... the end of my travels. Thanks for coming along, I hope you all get a chance to visit this area someday. It will change you when you see it.