Who knew red rock country could look silver and blue? A few images from my first trip to Moab this year (February 2013). All three were taken along Utah Scenic Route 128. It starts near the ghost-town of Cisco and follows the Colorado River into Moab via Professor Valley. The image above is available through Glow Artworks who I starting working with earlier this year.It would not be Utah if the landscape did not have some evidence of the gas and oil industry. The facility above is part of a pipeline that runs through the area.
Lastly a view into Professor Valley from Utah Scenic Route 128. Close to the center is Fisher Towers, an area not known to look blue. FWIW all 3 images were shot with the spectacular Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar lens.
In my travels I often come across cool little low road buildings that I think would make great artist studios. This one is in Downey and is a combination of a cabin with french doors and a quonset hut. Images from Google Earth show that until recently there were a few others next to it. I learned about low road buildings and how they contribute to society in Stewart Brand’s book How Building Learn. These little buildings are ephemeral and I am compelled to document them while they still exist.
On my last trip to Downey I was at the tail end of a 3 day weather system that came across Northern Utah and Southern Idaho. As I was photographing the grain elevators in Downey I got the dramatic light I was hoping for. Over the span of a few minutes the light went from a cool overcast grey to super dramatic. I like both images however at some point I will have to decide which one to keep as the portfolio image.
I would like to ask followers of Looking at the West which version of the scene they prefer and why.
As I write this we have had a few weeks of warm weather and much of the snow in the lower half of the images here has melted and the grass has started to grow. Also as I write this a storm is blowing through bringing new snow to higher elevations. It can try but it wont last! Spring and fall are great times if you love weather. I was really tired of the clear and cold weather of January and February. The seasonal weather patterns mixed with the geography of Northern Utah make for visually spectacular scenery. The images above and below from the same morning a few weeks back (March 2013).
Below: Storm clearing in Cache Vally April 2013. Described by my friend Woody as looking like a “title wave from hell”. I have seen many cool weather systems move across the valley and by the time you get the camera set up it’s usually not as cool as when I first saw it. This one was different and I rushed to capture it. As I took a dozen images over a few minutes it lost it’s shape and became a less than spectacular blob. This was the second or third frame. This weather was the beginning of what we are going through now in Northern Utah. This storm system has been good to me both with this image and with some images I made the next day when I revisited Downey Idaho.
Top two images captured with the Zeiss 100mm Makro-Planar and the image above with the Nikon 45mm PC-E.
Above: Huntington Power Plant from Ghost Rocks Viewpoint along I-70 in Southern Utah.
Updated (3/16/13) from Wikipedia “The highway then ascends Ghost Rock Summit, the highest point for I-70 inside the swell. At the summit is another view area overlooking the Little Grand Canyon of the San Rafael River.The summit is named for unusual rock formations nearby. The Ghost Rocks themselves are at 7,405 feet (2,257 m), although the freeway is slightly lower.” Read the whole article on building I-70 through Utah here.
Above: Cloudburst above Castle Valley Utah.
Above: I-70 road cut at the San Rafael Reef in Southern Utah. To avoid a snow storm on Soldier Summit I decided to take I-70 for my return route from Moab last month. What a good decision it was. The San Rafael Reef is visible from my usual route (Utah 191 from Price) but I had never been this close. If you are traveling I-70 through this area plan extra time to stop at all of the scenic overlooks, they are well worth it. Taking this route greatly expanded my desire to explore Southern Utah. Expect more information and photos from this amazing part of the state.
Above: Detail of the road cut at the San Rafael Reef. Didactics at the rest area explain the massive project to widen a slot canyon into the modern highway we travel today.
Above: I-70 Rest Area at the base of the San Rafael Reef. Photographers would be crazy not to stop.
Above: Looking toward the Book Cliffs from the San Rafael Reef.
How many of you have been to this part of Southern Utah?
Above: Dramatic Light and shadow on the base of Willard Peak in Northern Utah. Recently I have expanded my lens set to cover wider and narrower views and so begins the process of learning how these tools effect how I see and how to get the most out of them. The above image form this past weekend was made with the wonderful Zeiss 100 Makro-Planar. I am pleased with the lenses ability at and near infinity, a distance that many of my subjects occupy. Excellent contrast and focus from 1.4 miles distance in the foreground and at 2.23 miles near the top.
Above: Dramatic light and shadow on the rugged base of Willard Peak in Northern Utah.Above: Dramatic light and shadow with blue-grey sky and passing cloud cover on the rugged rocky base of Willard Peak in Northern Utah.
Above: Dramatic view of the Cache Valley Inversion 2/2/13. The inversion continues and like most things looks better or worse depending on the day and the hour. As a newer resident I am shocked at how disgusting the air can be. At times you can taste it in your mouth for 30 minutes after you have come inside. I’m fortunate to live on the bench and am above the thick part of it most of the time. Visually the inversion can be stunning and enjoyable to photograph. I prefer drama to a clear blue sky any day.
Above: USU and Cache Valley inversion 2/3/13. A closer view with USU, the Wellsville Range and some pollution in-between. Taken at the beginning of another red air day.
Above: A wider view from the same morning. I really hope that Cache Valley can get a grip on the pollution. I was shocked when I first moved here at the number of diesel pickup trucks that treat every green light like the beginning of a race or some contest to see who can spew the largest cloud of black soot onto the intersection. The pollution problem is large and more complex for sure and I am no expert. It will be interesting to see if Logan and Cache Valley can meet EPA requirements by 2014. If my images or distinct vantage point can be of use to people working on the inversion problem please contact me I’d love to help out.
Above: Grain Silos near Lewiston, Utah on a grey foggy January afternoon in Northern Utah. Depending on the screen you view this on you can see quite a bit. I’m amazed I was able to get sharp focus on the silos. Could be the start of a series of posts on agriculture architecture. There certainly is a lot around the area. Does anyone know the difference (if any) between a silo, grain silo and a grain elevator?
Above: This is what an inversion looks like (1/7/2013).
Above: Cache Valley breathing easier (1/10/2013).
Above: Yuck! Unhealthy Air in Cache Valley (1/21/2012).