From the advantage of the La Sal Loop Road, high above Castle Valley and the flow of the great Colorado River, it is an awesome view to the northwest and into the dusk-blue fastness of Arches National Park. The lines of the great butte known as The Rectory, with its distinctive Castleton Tower (left) and The Priest and Nuns (right) standing in the gloaming, is an erosional feature of that canyon-building creation we call The Colorado Plateau. We are easily fooled into believing that the Public Lands of the American West go on immutable forever. They do not. For reasons of self, for reasons of power, for reasons of money and greed, our shared common is constantly under attack by private interests and the politicians who would do their bidding. It is not sufficient merely to visit them, we are obligated to preserve and to protect. If we do not, they will be lost to us.

A focal length of 157mm, just on the cusp of medium-telephotoland, provided the angle-of-view I wanted and some magnification/compression as well. An aperture of f/20 from the camera-to-subject distance provided dept-of-field; and a shutter speed of 2.0 seconds at ISO 100 gave me a somewhat darker-than-medium exposure. ISO 100 was chosen to minimize the digital noise inherent in low-light situations.

There are lots of great people in Utah, but the Utah Congressional Delegation seems determined to do everything it can to gain complete state control of the public lands of the Beehive State. I do not consider this to be an acceptable outcome, and I hope you will agree with me and act on behalf of places such as Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante. The La Sals and other icons of Southern Utah may ultimately be at risk, as well. On February 6, the BLM announced its plans for the 2 million acres of public land removed from Bears Ears and GSENM. Big Oil/Big Dig +1; Public Lands 0. My idea of photographic beauty has a hard time wrapping itself around a uranium mine or an oil derrick and pumpjacks.