No Town Utah: Floy revisited

20130209_Floy Utah_014Not all of Southern Utah is Red Rock. The ranch exit of Floy (near Crescent Junction) has a great collection of strange grey lumps that may make you think you are on another planet. I last visited in early February and it was much to muddy to go exploring off the road. The time before it was around 100˚ with no shade. This landscape at the base of the Book Cliff does not fail to inspire.

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Above: When driving Utah 152 watch your speed. Because the road is empty 99.99% time, it’s tempting to drive in the middle or left side of the road to avoid potholes and rough section. Beware though that the road does have blind areas and would be terrible to have a head on collision in such a remote place (or anywhere). On a technical note these images were shot using Nikon’s 24mm PC-E lens. I’m finding it to be a great lens for the landscapes I’m photographing. Any thoughts on the lens flair in the right corner. Some people like it, I usually get rid of it.

20130209_Floy Utah_008Above: Contrail in the Southern Utah sky.

20130209_Floy Utah_007Above: Open Road at the Floy ranch exit near Crescent Junction. Note the lack of shoulder and no fence so watch out for the wildlife.

Red Rock Country in Blue and Silver

20130209_Utah Scenic Route 128_088Who 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.20130209_Utah Scenic Route 128_074It 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.

20130209_Utah Scenic Route 128_078Lastly 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.

Low Road Buildings

20130406_Downey_Idaho_8626In 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. 
low road building

Downey, Idaho revisited

Downey, IdahoOn 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.

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I would like to ask followers of Looking at the West which version of the scene they prefer and why.

Southern Utah: Ghost Rocks Viewpoint

Hunter Power Plant from Ghost Rock

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. 

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Above: Cloudburst above Castle Valley Utah.

Southern Utah: San Rafael Reef


San Rafael Reef in Southern UtahAbove: 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.

San Rafael Reef in Southern UtahAbove: 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.

San Rafael Reef in Southern Utah

Above: I-70 Rest Area at the base of the San Rafael Reef. Photographers would be crazy not to stop.Book Cliffs from the San Rafael Reef in Southern Utah

Above: Looking toward the Book Cliffs from the San Rafael Reef.

How many of you have been to this part of Southern Utah?

Northern Utah: Willard Peak Light and Shadow

Willard Peak in Northern UtahAbove: 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.

Willard Peak

Above: Dramatic light and shadow on the rugged base of Willard Peak in Northern Utah.Willard PeakAbove: Dramatic light and shadow with blue-grey sky and passing cloud cover on the rugged rocky base of Willard Peak in Northern Utah.

Cache Valley Inversion winter 2013

Cache Valley InversionAbove: 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.

Winter 2013 Inversion Cache Valley Utah

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.

Winter 2013 Inversion Cache Valley Utah

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.

Cache Valley: Foggy Grey Winter

Photograph of grain silos in dense fog.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?

Top images from 2012

Top images from 2012 and a little info behind their selection.20120102_Whites Valley Utah_020Above: Whites Valley in Northern Utah. An introduction to a different western landscape and the beginning of my exploration Northern Utah and Idaho. Looking forward to exploring the gem state in 2013 and have 4 trips planned already.

Simpson Springs Station.

Above: Simpson Springs Station on the Pony Express Trail in the West Desert of Utah, from a journey I’ll do again this year with the UXOC. This is a beautiful and remote area that I’d love to explore more, maybe pulling a camper from Moby 1.Preston Grain Silo

Above: Preston, Idaho on a sunny Sunday morning January 2012 and the start of a project looking at small western towns and structures that define place. In this case it was the grain elevator that defined entering Preston and unfortunately it was destroyed by fire a month later.Downey Idaho

Above: Weston, Idaho and another grain elevator. This one looks particularly church like. I revisited Weston in December and the sign and pole have been removed. Time moves on even in small towns.20120413_Mantua_027

Above: Mantua, Utah spring 2012. At the time I took this the space reminded me of Iceland. Looking at it now it is nothing like Iceland, trees for starters. Maybe it was the really green treeless hills and the rain snow mix of weather. I’ll settle for exotic looking and not what you expect for a Utah landscape. FWIW locals pronounce Mantua as “Man Away”.

Road along the Bear River

Above: Near Cutler Reservoir early spring 2012. Jetsons-looking power pole in a barren landscape carved by man for irrigation.Beef Basin

Above: Near the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. Trying to get a feel for how massive these formations are (look at the fence at the base).20120805_Floy_Utah_008

Above: Ranch Exit at Floy, Utah. Grey lumps in the barren landscape just north of I-70. Composed in a way that excludes the book cliffs and any of the red rock that southern Utah is famous for. People have commented on the texture of the grey earth looking elephant like.Driving the desert of Southern Utah

Above: from the base of the Book Cliffs looking toward Moab, Klondike Bluff and the Manti La Sal Mountains. From a solo trip to Moab in early August 2012.20120804_Onion Creek Road_048

Above: Onion Creek Road near Moab. Look for more images from this area in the coming year. Lots to explore and photograph. This was taken on my first trip on the road and as it was getting dark I made my way back to the main road. Not being familiar with the road, alone, and without additional illumination on the Xterra. Why risk driving off the road in the dark? 20121021_Caribou National Forest_039Above: Open road on Skyline Drive near Weston Canyon in Caribou National Forest. From a day of photographing open roads near the Utah-Idaho border in late October and my last trip on this road before it was closed for the season. As I was taking these images I came across three moose; a nice way to end a day of solitary photography. Work kept me busy the rest of the year and so this is where my 2012 season of photography ended. Looking forward to what 2013 will bring.

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