Utah Rocks: My Top 10 of 2012

Started Jan 6, 2013 | Discussions thread
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jrmint Regular Member • Posts: 129
Utah Rocks: My Top 10 of 2012

I learned a lot over the past year - I hope to be able to say the same at the end of 2013. Here are my top 10 personal favorites of 2012 from my current home state.

#10: Peekaboo slot

Had a blast hiking some slot canyons south of Escalante with family. This was just a quick handheld snapshot because I was going to come back to this spot later in the day when the light was better, but then it clouded up and I never got the good light. Still a fun place and great memories of that day.

#9: Zion Narrows

One of the many awesome spots along the Narrows in Zion. What a fun hike up the river! Not my best work (sky is blown out and reflected light would be better at a different time of day) but I'll do better next time I'm there.

#8: Thor's Hammer

Simple, clean, image of a Bryce Canyon icon.

#7: Zion Cascades

I missed the peak fall color at Zion this year, but loved this spot hiking up toward the Subway. I think first week of November here would be perfect - I'll try again next year!

#6: Bryce Canyon Hoodoos

Bryce Canyon is one of my favorite places on earth. Seeing the canyon from the viewpoints is awesome, but I especially love hiking down into the canyons and seeing all the formations from right underneath them. It's like walking around on another planet.

#5: Spectre and Stars

Near Bryce Point at Bryce Canyon - experimenting with night photography.

#4: Surreal Subway

The famous "Subway" in Zion National Park. Pretty tough hike to get there, but now I can say I'm a serious photographer. Sadly, I only got about half the images I wanted from this location because I slipped on some wet moss over to the left and completely dunked the 5D mark II camera I had rented, ending it's life. Not my happiest photography moment of the year, but you live and learn.

#3: Time Travel

This was a fun experiment on a birthday photography trip to Bryce Canyon. The star trails were made from about 25 stacked 30-second exposures. Then the last 30-exposure of the rock formation was made by running up the trail to the right as fast as I could and "light painting" the rocks with a flashlight. When I tried to combine the star images there were small breaks in the light trails, and by accident when I tried to smooth them out using a radial blur technique this streak effect happened. I liked it, so I decided to go with it.

#2: Delicate Moonlight

Delicate Arch is a photography cliche for good reason, but my visit here in early April was special for personal reasons. After speeding down to Arches after work to catch the sunset here, I decided to wait around after sunset to experiment with some moonlight long-exposure images. I waited and took in the amazing view as the hundred or so other visitors gradually headed back down the trail. A 3/4 moon rose, and I was a little surprised to find myself completely alone. I sat under the arch watching the moon rise as it illuminated the vast landscape, and was struck at how completely silent it was. Like *deafening* silence. I sat there thinking I should be a little freaked out being there alone, but what I felt was an amazing peace and an indescribable feeling that I was not alone. One of the most special experiences of 2012 for me. The bright light under the arch is Jupiter, I believe.

#1: Mesa Morning

Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park. It's a popular spot because it's an easy 10 minute hike from the road, which means there are often dozens of photographers there to catch the sunrise. The first rays of the sun strike the 1200+ foot cliff face beneath the arch, and the reflected light illuminates the underside of the arch with a surreal glow. Love this place!

Thanks for looking! And best wishes on a happy and photographically productive 2013!


Canon EOS 5D Mark II
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