Capitol Reef National Park is slowly transforming from an undiscovered treasure to just another "almost loved to death" public land; and I suppose I must confess to being part of the problem, for over the past several years I have encouraged anyone who would listen to visit this jewel of a western national delight. It is one of the most geologically diverse ecosystems on the planet, and one of the most amazing testaments to the power of wind, water, and temperature that I can imagine. Beyond that is was an oasis in the desert to a group of intrepid Mormon pioneers, who created a lush agricultural landscape from the waters of Spring Creek and the Fremont River. In the places where their farms stood there were, and still are, Fremont cottonwoods (Populus fremontii) offering shade to the farmer and traveler alike.

A focal length of 250mm, moderate telephoto, provided the magnification and compression I wanted from about a hundred yards. An aperture of f/20 provided as much depth-of-field as I could hope for, and a shutter speed of 0.4 second at ISO 200 sufficiently stopped the moving grasses in the morning zephyrs.

I can only hope in our rush to "love" the nature we still have that we will think deeply about the fragility of these desert jewels and treat them with the great respect they require and deserve.

Saturday, 21 July 2018 12:09

The Land of Frozen Dunes

Arches is a land of icons. Almost everyone can rattle off the names of Delicate Arch, Balanced Rock, Park Avenue and a host of others. And Arches is, indeed, all of these; but it is, in my mind, so very much more. The beauty of Arches is also of the everyday kind. In places, the frozen dunes of Navajo Sandstone spread over the red rock like rolling waves of time set in stone, the wall of the Moab Fault looming several miles away in the background. Wind and rock-eating lichen, over the millennia, have gnawed bits of the dunes into a veneer of sandy soil that supports juniper, pinon, several species of cactus, grasses, and a host of wildflowers. Every day it is this beauty that amazes me.

From a quarter mile away a focal length of 230mm gave me the angle-of-view I wanted. An aperture of f/20 provided depth-of-field, and a shutter speed of 1/15th of a second allowed by an ISO of 200 stilled the motion from the slight morning breeze wafting over the rock.

The everyday beauty of Arches speaks with a volume easily equal to its icons whenever we stop to listen.

Sunday, 15 July 2018 00:33

For RZ - Listening?

Shash Jaa' is listening. This week I watched as the light of afternoon played across the face of the saced uplifts and dark clouds filled with rain loomed overhead. I did not intend to insinuate commentary on this matter, but as I felt the presence of the great ears watching me, I knew that I had to offer something to the conversation. Bears Ears awaits our answer; will we preserve it, or will we allow it to be compromised for the sake of material greed? The choice is ours.

A focal length of 135mm from a distance of several miles allowed me the angle-of-view I wanted. An aperture of f/20 provided depth-of-field; and a shutter speed of 1/40th of a second at ISO 100 gave me an overall slightly-lighter-than-medium exposure.

The Navajo, the Hopi, the Zuni, and two tribes of Utes are waiting for meaningful participation in the decision process. If I were to say how I really feel, my words would erupt in anger, and Bears Ears is listening to us all.

Saturday, 07 July 2018 22:10

Long Ago and Far Away, Too

As the sparse, but consistent, waters of Unkar Creek wind their way from the high slopes of the Grand Canyon's North Rim, they expose layer upon layer of geologic time as they meander to the silt-laden Colorado miles below and away. In Unkar's delta, for hundreds of years, Ancestral Puebloans seasonally spun out their lives, retreating to the rim as the pressing heat of summer filled the great chasm below. Unkar is the Paiute word for "red," and the creek's delta is one of the largest archaeological sites along the entire canyon's awesone run.

A focal length of 28mm - solidly in wide-angleland - gave me the angle-of-view I wanted. An aperture of f/20 provided depth-of-field, and a shutter speed of 1/15 second at ISO 200 gave me an overall medium exposure.

I imagine the ancient Natives trudging slowly northward and upward, feeling the cooling airs with each elevation gained; and I sense the endurance they displayed as the great walls rose higher and steeper, the joy they felt as they topped out along the summit into the relief-giving shade of the great conifers of the Kaibab Plateau.


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