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Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sometimes you just have to be flexible!

Red Canyon
Monday night I landed at Dallas Love Field after spending the week photographing in Utah, Arizona, and California. In some ways the trip was like many I have made...fly to Las Vegas, rent a car and then drive to some location to photograph. What made this trip different was all the changing of plans I made. I usually schedule what I will do and what days I will do it. I then make the necessary reservations at campgrounds or motels. The day I arrived in Las Vegas the TV weather guy said there would be 60 mph wind gusts. 60?????????? I decided it may not be a good time to spend two nights camping out in nearby Death Valley. Soooooo...I headed to Zion National Park but ended up driving all the way to Bryce Canyon. No camping out either! The next day was cold and windy with blowing snow. It was probably the most brutal conditions I have ever tried to photograph in. That afternoon at Rainbow Point it was 18 degrees with 50 mph gusts. The snow and clouds finally started to go away on what was now the third day of my trip. Bryce Canyon didn't really have much of an accumulation of snow but nearby Red Canyon had about 4 inches of fresh snow. I spent that afternoon hiking through the snow and getting some of the best photographs of the trip.
Left Fork of North Creek
Day number four was spent hiking in Zion National Park. While driving back from my hike in North Creek I decided to drive out to the LaVerkin Overlook before it got too dark. The sun had been down about 10 or 15 minutes but a long exposure gave me a good image of this viewpoint which looks back towards Zion.

LaVerkin Overlook

The following day was Halloween. It was kinda ironic that I ended up camping at Little Finland a place that is also known as Hobgoblin's Playground. It is way out in the middle of nowhere, about an hours drive east of Mesquite, Nevada. There you will find some of the strangest rock formations you will ever see.

The Head of the Beast

The last night of my trip was spent camping at Death Valley. The temperature that afternoon was about 83 degrees and the winds were now completely calm. Quite a switch from what I got at Bryce Canyon. Before heading to the airport the next day I spent the morning photographing the salt flats near Badwater, the lowest point in the United States, 282 feet below sea level. The salt flat was different than I expected. The crystallized salt has cracked much like mud will crack as it dries in the hot sun, but on a larger scale. The round area in the bottom of the photo is about 4 or 5 feet across. The edges of the cracked areas are knee high in many places.

Badwater Salt Flats

Overall, I think I got some usable images despite all the changing of plans that I made. It is interesting to note that the images taken in Red Canyon were probably the best of the trip and I didn't really have Red Canyon on my radar when I planned the trip. Oh well. Sometimes you just have to be flexible with your plans!