Posts Tagged Arches National Park

You CAN go home, I guess

I’ve been pretty inactive with my blog and I guess I could claim that it was work that was getting in my way.

OK, so I’ll make that claim.

But now that I’ve retired from my ‘day job,’ I’ve got time on my hands and I can’t think of a better way to use that time than to revisit old images to see if I was right in hanging on to them ‘just in case’ I learned a little more in Photoshop or if Lightroom ever advanced to the point that I’d like to use it most of the time. And if my ability with the processing software has indeed improved, the resulting images would be no good if they’re not shared, so I’ll try to post at least weekly.

The best way to start is to go through old files and see what I can find. I’ll share the results with you and tell you a few stories along the way. (I’ve always thought I should put more into the blog posts, so here is my first attempt.)

The best way, I think, to go through a project like this is to go in a somewhat chronological order, so I’ve started with a file that’s appropriately labeled “Soul Search 2006.” That was really the first serious attempt I made to capture images with a digital camera and not knowing the medium and not being particularly familiar with the processing software left me with a lot of captures to finish today in ways I could not have a decade ago.

For the fotos included with this post, however, the images aren’t as important as the reason I went.

It had been at least 20years since I’d been in the desert. I missed it, but I didn’t realize quite how much. Knowing that I had to go, I made plans for a two-week trip, visiting Arches, Zion, Canyonlands, Bryce and Capitol Reef National Parks and in the interim, Hovenweep and Navajo National Monuments and a few state parks to boot.

Things didn’t go exactly as planned, but everything worked out just fine in the long run.

I finally realized how much I missed the desert when I dropped into my last stop, Capitol Reef National Park. As I entered from the west, I saw the cliffs and domes and burst into tears, saying to no one in particular, “I’m home.” It was that stop that made me realize that the desert, and especially Capitol Reef is my soul’s home. I had abandoned it for two decades, but it called me back and I answered that call. I’m glad I did, because that put me in a mind to move back to Utah in order to have more access to the desert and upon retirement I have done so.

What came out of that soul search? Quite a bit, actually. Most important is the knowledge that the desert is my home, of course. The images are of secondary importance to the self-knowledge  I gained, but I’ll share a couple fotos from that trip today and from subsequent visits home as I process them. For today’s post,  I’ve got a couple that rather frame the trip (first stop and last stop) and I’m ready to share, so take a look (As always, click on the images to see the whole thing):

 

First stop: Arches National Park

Delicate Arch and the Lasalle Mountains, Arches National Park

Delicate Arch and the Lasalle Mountains, Arches National Park

 

Final stop: Capitol Reef National Park (luckily in bad weather)

 

Storm, Capitol Reef National Park

Storm, Capitol Reef National Park

 

More to follow,

 

Bob

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Another day in Paradise

I’ve been coming to Arches National Park for decades. It was the first place I visited in the desert, and before he’d bring me, my friend Pete required that I read Ed Abbey’s Desert Solitaire and The Monkey Wrench Gang to set the context for the place.

Then there was a sort of hiatus from photography and the desert (people do dumb things, sometimes). A few years ago, my friend Nick gave me a copy of Doug Peacock’s Walking it Off. Peacock was Ed Abbey’s model for George Washington Hayduke, the primary character in The Monkey Wrench Gang. That read was all it took to get me to take a desert pilgrimage, and, of course, I had to start at Arches.

Sort of coming back home, although all the people in the park broke my heart. There must have been a million noisy, obnoxious, irreverent tourists at Arches. My pilgrimage took me to Canyonlands (more people shouting in the cathedral that is the desert), Hovenweep, Betatakin, Zion, Bryce Canyon and then Capitol Reef National Park. I had some problems with bronchitis on that trip, but when I dropped into Capitol Reef, I had the oddest experience. I burst into tears and said, “I’m home.” That’s all. I’ve been coming to the red rock country as often as possible since then and start getting the shakes and hives if I have to go through desert withdrawal.

Anyway, here’s what I saw at Arches the other day:

The backlighting, or rimlighting, as the pros call it, made these hills stand out. With a little work, this might just turn into a nice black-and-white print.

Rimlit hills, Arches NP

Rimlit hills, Arches NP

Snow does a lot for the desert, as you can readily see.

Snow on the fins

Snow on the fins

And, of course, there’s the icon of Arches (or is it Delicate Arch? Dunno), Landscape Arch:

Landscape Arch, Arches NP

Landscape Arch, Arches NP

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Wei wu wei

Got up at 5 a.m. today to go to a sunrise site. 6 below zero on the thermometer. Roads were good until I got up on top, then they turned to yuck. I was traveling so slowly, that I couldn’t make the hike to the photography point in time for sunrise. I guess I should have known  better and started earlier, but that’s just the way I am. I came back to Moab for breakfast and to figure out what I should do. Went back to Arches for another beautiful hike. On the trail I met another foreigner (well, a Canadian–they’re foreign, aren’t they?) and had a nice chat about Taoism, Ma Nature and climate change.

Taoism is one of my favorite study areas. When I was in China, I visited the Dong Shan monastery, where Lau Tzu is said to have written the Tao te Ching (Daodejing in Pinyin, the current Chinese transliteration method). It was a magical place, as one would expect, and it deepened my interest in the discipline. At some point in our conversation, it dawned on us that we were witnessing the principles of the Tao at work. Wei wu wei, or effortless effort, or work without effort, is a guiding principle of the Tao. Lao Tzu’s primary example is water. Water is soft, yet water can do amazing things just by following its nature. We saw some fine examples of that.

Oh, this isn’t the Canadian I met, nor is it water at work, but I found him and decided to include him in this post. (Don’t forget to click on the images to enlarge them.)

Desert Bighorn

Desert Bighorn

Then there’s the water at work in Arches:

Juniper and Icefall, Arches NP

Juniper and Icefall, Arches NP

And

Icefall, Windows, Arches NP

Icefall, Windows, Arches NP

And, there’s one more thing water does quite nicely: reflect.

Reflections, Colorado River

Reflections, Colorado River

More to follow.

Bob

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Ma Nature’s Little Jokes

Well, even though I haven’t been bad-mouthing Ma Nature lately, she has had her way with me. I think I’ve told you about her tricks, but here is photographic evidence of her capricious nature.

The first two fotos are from Laramie a couple days before Christmas travel. As you can see, we had a bit of a storm. The University campus was a winter wonderland. I caught Ben Franklin getting ready for a snowball fight:

Ben Franklin Contemplates a Snowball

Ben Franklin Contemplates a Snowball

Then I went to the Student Union to hide:

Wyoming Union in snow

Wyoming Union in snow

The next group is from Arches National Park December 30 (yes, I got a firewire cable). A little exciting driving to get here, then some, er, interesting hiking to get to some of the places and what a great day of photography.

I love Junipers, no matter what the weather, no matter what the day. The juniperus utahensis has so much character. This old guy is just waiting for the thaw.

Juniper in Snowstorm

Juniper in Snowstorm

The fins area is where Landscape Arch is located (more in the next post on that one). The land was layered and then just tipped up on its side. It’s a real wonderland. Especially in the snow.

Fins, Snow, Arches NP

Fins, Snow, Arches NP

And then there’s Delicate Arch. What more can I say?

Delicate Arch, Snowstorm

Delicate Arch, Snowstorm

I met a New Zealander this morning. He was gracious in that he allowed me to say New Zealand was the land of hobbits, then we talked about Arches. He was quite impressed with U.S. National Parks in that getting to them and seeing the cool stuff was pretty easy: just drive to them in many cases. Oh, yes, a hike of a mile or so to see the really cool stuff, but no real effort required. He, too, appreciated the weather because, he observed, it kept the crowds down. Yep, yesterday was the only day I ever stood alone at Delicate Arch. The Kiwi said that in NZ, getting to the parks requires ‘putting on your hiking boots.’

More to follow.

Bob

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Ma Nature takes 2010 out with a bang!

Well, first of all, I haven’t said anything negative about Ma Nature for a long time. I always figured she didn’t need a reason to dump on me. But, of course, she marches to her own drummer and does what she wants to. As we approached Thanksgiving, she brought a blizzard to Wyoming to keep us from visiting our family in Salt Lake. As we approached Christmas, she brought a major snowstorm to Laramie. Luckily, we were able to get to Salt Lake to see family and friends. Now I’m in Moab watching it snow for the second day. That’s good and it’s bad. I may never get back to Laramie, but the bad news is that it’s challenging to get around in the desert.

I went to Arches today and got a few photos. Of course, the firewire cable I carefully rolled up and packed in my traveling computer bag isn’t here. I’m not sure I want to go out in the snow to try to find one, if one can be found in Moab anyway.

No big problem. Here are a couple images I made on the G11. The first is the Delicate Arch trail at the top. You can see the footprints starting at the lower left and going around the ledge. The Delicate Arch trail is interesting travel, especially when your feet go out from under you and you land square on your tailbone. It’s starting to get my attention three hours later. Amazingly enough, thanks to the blizzard I was the only person at Delicate Arch. If I can find a firewire, I’ll show you what the arch looks like in a snowstorm. But here’s what I look like at the end of the hike:

The Trail to…

The trail to...

The trail to...

And your intrepid blogger:

Nanook of Arches

Nanook of Arches

More to follow. As soon as I find a firewire cable.

Bob

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