100 Days of National Parks: Day 28 – Orion Under Owachomo Bridge, Natural Bridges N.M.

Orion Under Owachomo Bridge

Some places reward the extra effort it takes to reach them. Tucked in the middle of nowhere in southeast Utah, Natural Bridges National Monument is fifty miles from the nearest town, making it a destination not often traveled to unless explicitly targeted. In fact, for many decades since its establishment in 1904 as Utah’s first National Monument, it was almost inaccessible, with the only route to the Park a three-day ride from Blanding, to the east. While a state highway passes near it today, it’s easily bypassed, though doing so would be a huge mistake.

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Orion Under Owachomo Bridge

Orion Under Owachomo Bridge
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Some places reward the extra effort it takes to reach them.  Tucked in the middle of nowhere in southeast Utah, Natural Bridges National Monument is fifty miles from the nearest town, making it a destination not often traveled to unless explicitly targeted.  In fact, for many decades since its establishment in 1904 as Utah’s first National Monument, it was almost inaccessible, with the only route to the Park a three-day ride from Blanding, to the east.  While a state highway passes near it today, it’s easily bypassed, though doing so would be a huge mistake.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 28 – Orion Under Owachomo Bridge, Natural Bridges N.M.”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 18 – Night at Reflection Lakes, Mt. Rainier

Night at Reflection Lakes

One of my favorite things to do when traveling is staying up overnight to shoot the stars, or simply wandering through the park while everyone else sleeps. There’s a peaceful solitude to nocturnal explorations, and also an odd rush of adrenaline that courses through your veins, not knowing what lies beyond the shadowy outlines of trees just beyond the range of your headlamp.

In the summer of 2015, during my recovery from my Pacific Crest Trail injury, I took a wander up to Mt. Rainier. I’d often driven through the park, taken walks around the Paradise Lodge and seen the iconic mountain from various angles, but I’d never really allowed myself the opportunity to truly explore it.

I took this photo along the main road cutting through the park, along Reflection Lakes, a common viewpoint and oft-photographed collection of small lakes in front of the mountain. At night, the sound of frogs chirping and the rush of wind through the trees were the only sound, and I sat along the edge of the lake, waiting for my long exposure shots to capture, my car just of camera illuminating the lake with its headlights. The smoke from the new Mt. Adams Complex fires, which I’d been hiking through during the preceding day, obscured the vast majority of stars from view, spoiling my plans to get a shot of the Milky Way, but creating a hazy, moody effect to the sky, as the cool light of stars and moon on the eastern side of the mountain completed with the red-orange glow of towns further to the west.

Next time you’re out, I hope you take the opportunity to get out and wander in the midnight hours, and find a new perspective on places you’ve only seen by light of day. It can be a truly magical experience.

 

Night at Reflection Lakes

Night at Reflection Lakes
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One of my favorite things to do when traveling is staying up overnight to shoot the stars, or simply wandering through the park while everyone else sleeps.  There’s a peaceful solitude to nocturnal explorations, and also an odd rush of adrenaline that courses through your veins, not knowing what lies beyond the shadowy outlines of trees just beyond the range of your headlamp.

In the summer of 2015, during my recovery from my Pacific Crest Trail injury, I took a wander up to Mt. Rainier.  I’d often driven through the park, taken walks around the Paradise Lodge and seen the iconic mountain from various angles, but I’d never really allowed myself the opportunity to truly explore it.

I took this photo along the main road cutting through the park, along Reflection Lakes, a common viewpoint and oft-photographed collection of small lakes in front of the mountain.  At night, the sound of frogs chirping and the rush of wind through the trees were the only sound, and I sat along the edge of the lake, waiting for my long exposure shots to capture, my car just of camera illuminating the lake with its headlights.  The smoke from the new Mt. Adams Complex fires, which I’d been hiking through during the preceding day, obscured the vast majority of stars from view, spoiling my plans to get a shot of the Milky Way, but creating a hazy, moody effect to the sky, as the cool light of stars and moon on the eastern side of the mountain completed with the red-orange glow of towns further to the west.

Next time you’re out, I hope you take the opportunity to get out and wander in the midnight hours, and find a new perspective on places you’ve only seen by light of day.  It can be a truly magical experience.

100/100/100: Day 4 – Thunderstorm Over Arches, Arches National Park

In October of 2013, I was fortunate enough to be in Arches National Park during a massive thunderstorm that swept through the Moab area. I stayed up all night taking photos of the storm as it rolled over the park, capturing many exciting lightning shots, though this one is probably my favorite. There’s something about lightning that makes me feel calm, at peace, and I long for those summer days and nights growing up in the midwest when I’d watch dark clouds rumble across the cornfields from the west. I don’t get enough thunder and lightning on the west coast, but I hope to get out and chase some more storms this year.

This photo, taken from the aptly named Panorama Point utilizing long exposure techniques, just north of the Windows Section of the park, was able to expose several large lightning strikes along the southern edge of the park, likely striking somewhere in the La Sal Mountain foothills or along the Colorado River. The strikes brilliantly illuminated the sky, and silhouetted the sandstone outcroppings of the the Windows perfectly.

Thunderstorm Over Arches

 

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In October of 2013, I was fortunate enough to be in Arches National Park during a massive thunderstorm that swept through the Moab area.  I stayed up all night taking photos of the storm as it rolled over the park, capturing many exciting lightning shots, though this one is probably my favorite.  There’s something about lightning that makes me feel calm, at peace, and I long for those summer days and nights growing up in the midwest when I’d watch dark clouds rumble across the cornfields from the west.  I don’t get enough thunder and lightning on the west coast, but I hope to get out and chase some more storms this year.

This photo, taken from the aptly named Panorama Point utilizing long exposure techniques, just north of the Windows Section of the park, was able to expose several large lightning strikes along the southern edge of the park, likely striking somewhere in the La Sal Mountain foothills or along the Colorado River.  The strikes brilliantly illuminated the sky, and silhouetted the sandstone outcroppings of the the Windows perfectly.