Southern Utah – a beautiful alien world

Last November I was fortunate enough to travel with Jay and Varina Patel on a photo workshop to Southern Utah and Northern Arizona.  It was my first time shooting in the region and I can say unequivocally that I will be back as often as possible.  What an incredible landscape!!!

I explored the following sites with my friend and fellow photographer Frank Damon (here’s his website):

Paria Canyon

Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness

Page, AZ

Zion National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park

Red Rock Canyon State Park (near Las Vegas)

Here is a sampling of my photographs from the trip:

“Bryce Canyon Sunrise”, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

– My first time ever seeing Bryce Canyon I was treated to this sunrise.  It was a glorious introduction to an amazing place that photos can never really do justice too.  It is just as beautiful as the Grand Canyon!  This shot is a blend of 3 or 4 different shots taken less than one second apart.  The reason for this blend is to capture the full dynamic range (from dark to light) of the scene.

“Mentor and Disciple”, Zion National Park, Utah

– For this shot I got in really close to these two leaves and used the hyperfocal distance of my wide angle lens to give the exaggerated perspective you see here.  The relationship of Mentor and Disciple is crucial to many disciplines and for me has been crucial to the development of my Buddhist faith.  A Buddhist mentor should be united with his or her disciples and there should be no elements of hierarchy, but rather unity.

“The King”, Vermillion Cliffs, Utah

– This image was taken at the “Wahweap Hoodoos” in the Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness.  The color differences are due to the age of the rock layers.  A truly alien landscape, this scene would be just as comfortable on Mars (though there would be no blue sky).  =)

“Bush and the Rock Rainbow”

– This place is known to some as “The Land of the Sleeping Rainbows” and contains some of the most wonderful sandstone layers I’ve ever seen.  From oranges and purples to browns and whites, this place has all the colors of the Southwestern rainbow!  The fall colors of a desert shrub complement the colorful rocks in the background.

“Clinging to Life”, Vermillion Cliffs, Utah

– The fragility of life in the desert has always been a favorite subject of mine.  This tiny seed pod landed on a mud crack near the Wahweap Hoodoos.  I used my Nikkor 70-180 macro lens to focus on the pod, deliberately leaving the ground underneath out of focus to provide a “3D” look.  The composition is certainly unique with the strong incoming diagonal lines of the mud cracks.  Thanks to Varina for providing the shade from the harsh mid day sun!

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~ by aaronburdick on February 16, 2011.

2 Responses to “Southern Utah – a beautiful alien world”

  1. Aaron,

    All are great compositions, but the motion and flow in #2 presents itself as the ultimate winner by my eye.

    • Thanks Derrald! That shot is definitely one of my favorites too! I’m just glad my gear didn’t get dunked in the Zion river while taking the photo.

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