Utah

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Today on our road trip we’re driving from Oklahoma City, OK to Roswell, New Mexico. Over the weekend we zipped past the east coast and most of the central time zone with only a few stops. This was intentional because Sue and I wanted to spend most of the time in the south west.¬†The temperatures will be hot but the pictures will be too, amiright? *high five* Really looking forward to the rest of this adventure. Follow along on my instagram stories to see what we’ve been getting up to in real-time.

The image above was taken just a few weeks ago in Arches National Park in Moab, Utah. I loved seeing these little cacti along the walking trails. Every time I saw one, I’d squeal. They’re just so cute. I bet if you were just walking, you wouldn’t even notice them. They aren’t very big and there weren’t very many of them but it’s little details like this that I love photographing. Things other might have passed by but if you really take your time and look around, they’re so fun to see. The sunrise lighting was perfect. Perfectly describes the mood I felt while I was there, happy and warm.

I did not have a macro lens with me on this trip, so I shot this with my 16-35mm wide angle. That was so I could make sure to get enough foreground and background in this shot. My camera settings for this image was f7.1 at 1/25th of a second at ISO 250. My favorite part is seeing the glow on all the plants in this image. Especially the tall purple flowers on the right hand side. Barely noticeable, but it’s there ūüôā And who knows who’s foot prints those are in the very front. They definietly were not mine.

 

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Devils Garden in Arches National Park at sunrise. The best part about this entire trail was that we were pretty much by ourselves. Hardly anyone was out there so early in the morning. I felt like I had the whole park to ourselves. But we did run into a few chipmunks, deer, etc. They were cool.

If you’re interested in doing the hike, it’s pretty easy. For the most part the land is flat and the trail itself is well marked. The rock formations were great because they provided some shade underneath that hot sun. However, had I known earlier we would of been able to see so much more than we did. There was kind of a split in the middle of the road around this huge rock. Andrew and I didn’t know which way to go so we kinda decided to just walk back to the car and try out some other trails.

Which leads me to the question, how much research do you guys do before you leave for a trip? I have an idea of the things that I want to see when I visit a new place. I’ll mark them on a map and figure out which is better, sunrise, sunset, or during the day. But I’m not sure if I do enough research like how to get there or how long it will take. I kinda leave to when we arrive at¬†our destination to figure that kinda stuff out. Partly out of laziness but partly because I know things always change. Road closures, construction, etc. Sometimes those things can be hard to predict. For the most part it works, but had I known the Devils Garden trail went a lot further out, I would of been able to see some¬†more really cool arches. Oh well. You live and you learn.

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If you’ve ever been to Moab, Utah, which is your favorite park to visit? Is it Arches National Park? Is it Canyonlands National Park? or Dead Horse Point State Park? Right now, it’s hard for me to decide¬†Every time I think about any¬†of the parks, I just think about how hot it was. We were only in Moab for one full day but it was extremely hot and cloudless the whole time. As seen above. But if you ask Andrew, his was Canyonlands NP.

However, I wish we¬†could of spent¬†more time in Arches. We were there for sunrise and had a great time walking around some of the shorter trails like Devils Garden and Fiery Furnace Viewpoint. The whole plan was to spend sunrise and sunset shooting Arches and visit the other parks during the day. When it came time for sunset, we drove up to the entrance and found out it was¬†was closed due to road construction.¬†Womp Womp. There was no way to get in.¬†I was hoping for this epic shot of Delicate Arch at sunset and we were going to stay to shoot the stars. So this whole trip, I didn’t not get to see Delicate Arch which seems like the main attraction ūüôĀ Now I have a reason to go back.

So this image was shot at sunrise at Courthouse Towers. I was super impressed by all the rock formations and the shadows that they were creating. I even heard a lady giving a tour while I was shooting this saying that there were over 2,000 arches in the park. Thats nuts-o. I think there are some arches in this image that the national park would consider an arch. Do you see them?

This was shot at f/11 at 1/160th of a second ISO 250.

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Walking around, I spotted this guy and I had to take a pic. Not only was the light perfect on him but he reminded me of Daryl from Walking Dead. But only if he was a photographer and not a walker slayer. What do you think?

At around sunset, Andrew and I found ourselves at the Big Chief Overlook. If you’re planning on¬†visiting Dead Horse Point State Park in Moab, Utah, I’d highly recommend starting here. It’s at the very tipty top of the park but it’s great because you get these amazing PAN-oramic views of both sides of the park. The best was that I was able to follow the sunlight wherever it was going as it was setting. It can get crowded with people up there, but the ability to walk around the corner was amazing. I got so many cool shots from up there. ¬†And how beautiful are these rocks against the falling sunlight? They were literally glowing.

Andrew and I spent a lot of time up there. We actually stayed up there way past sunset. Almost to the point where we could start seeing stars out. Not talking or anything, just enjoying the view. At one point, I told him to take some pics with his phone, so he took this one.

Pretty cool, huh? And all with no photo instruction from me. LOL. We joke that he’s this amazing photographer when in fact most of the pics he takes either has a finger in the corner or they’re really blurry. If you’ve seen some of his other iPhone pics, this one is definietly a major achievement. Seriously.

My settings for this image was F11 at 1/160th of a second. Super fast shutter speed to capture this beautiful moment. So glad I got to spend it with Andrew AND Daryl.

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5.12.17
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Getting ready to head out to Utah again. 2 more weeks! Unfortunately, we won’t be visiting Zion¬†National Park but other amazing places in Utah that I’ve never been. Actually, we’re flying in to Denver first then driving to Moab. How cool is that? I’m really looking forward to Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. I also heard theres a lot of cool stops in between Denver and Moab that are fun to see too. Have you ever been there? If so, give me some tips. Good hiking trails, cool photo spots, and where to get some good food. After Moab, Andrew and I will be spending the rest of the trip in Rocky Mountain National Park. A place I heard that you can get some serious altitude sickness. Really not looking forward to that. So if you have medicine recommendations for that, let me know too. I did a quick amazon search and was a little overwhelmed by how many options there were.

This image of Zion was taken in October 2014 at the Watchman. It seemed like just yesterday that we were there but we were lucky enough to hit the tail end of the autumn colors. It’s also one of the easiest sunset spots there is. Plenty of parking and a really short walk to get to this spot. It’s easy to find too. Just look for the huge group of photographers with tripods. You can’t miss it ūüôā

The camera settings for this image is F22 ¬†at 1.6 seconds ISO 100 on the tripod. While the sun was still up when I shot this, I still wanted to try to make the Virgin River as smooth as possible. If I had the chance to shoot this again, I’d probably use my ICE Neutral Density filter to get an even longer exposure.

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Loved Zion National Park. We were there for a few days last year because we found this awesome travel deal to Las Vegas. Although I love the city with endless buffets, visiting¬†Zion National Park was something like I’d never experienced before.¬†Hope to go to Utah again soon to see more of the gorgeous state.