MOAB!!!

Hey again everybody,

Well we've been in Moab, Utah for about a week. The weather has been great. We had one storm yesterday which we got stuck in and felt the full force of while on the side of a cliff. It was interesting. We're still here a few days but I figured I'd try and catch up to what we've done so far since we've been going to quite a few places. After settling in at camp we headed out to see some places that are pretty close to us and get a lay of the land. We hiked to Corona Arch and Bowtie Arch. They are pretty much right next to each other. The hike was very enjoyable. You have to climb on the side of slick rock and climb a little ladder at one point.
When we arrived Corona Arch was crawling with tourist climbers who were loud and annoying (and by annoying I mean they kept barking like dogs and talking about aborted fetuses) so I shot Bowtie Arch and waited for a few of them to clear out.



If you look real hard at the photo above you can see a little climber on top of the arch. We stopped and took some photos on the way back down also. The landscape out here is absolutely gorgeous.




Later in the day we decided to drive into Arches National Park and check out what was there. We made the last minute decision to go to Delicate Arch for sunset since we were in the area. The hike starts out pretty easy and then becomes fairly brutal towards the end. By the time we made it to the top I wanted to throw my camera bag off a cliff. You can see how many people were crammed in up there.


Of course you had the people that decided to walk under the Arch just as the light was right and then they were promptly cussed out and told to move in five different languages. It was pretty awesome.





The next day we set out to see a few more arches and hike for a little while. We went to North and South Window and Turret Arch. It was a nice little area.






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Wolfe Ranch

Later in the night we went up to Balanced Rock for sunset. The sunset never really took off but we were planning on going back there at night anyway for some star shots. Before heading out there we stopped by the local market and bought a rotisserie chicken which we decimated in the parking lot at Balanced Rock like a bunch of fat kids.



We also decided to go and visit an old ghost town formally the town of Sego. We drove by and old graveyard, collapsed mines, old stone buildings, and this old car left behind. It used to be an old coal mining town that eventually folded and was left abandoned


Eventually we decided to venture up to Canyonlands National Park: Island in the Sky District. There was a spot I wanted to photograph that isn't marked on a trail map or even advertised in order to cut down on the amount of people that go there to preserve the space. I had a rough idea of where it was and the key was finding the right trailhead of a random spot in the road. Well the first trail we picked was waaaay wrong. We ended up looking for the place for about 2 hours. We were directly over top of it at one point but there was no way down. We headed back...in a thunderstorm, and regrouped in the car. We tried a second time. We saw a hiker earlier on the right trail below us and she came walking up the road. She pointed out that the trail was just up a little further. Well that's great we thought. We started down the "trail" only to find it led us right back to the same spot as before. We were ready to give up. Our spirits were broken. I finally said screw it and climbed to the highest cliff I could find. I looked over to where I knew the trail should be and luckily spotted the rock stacks marking the way. We scurried down the cliffside, picked up the trail and headed down and behind the original cliff we came to a dead end on. The climb down is somewhat treacherous. It's loose gravel and about 5 feet between you and certain pain. We were making pretty good time but then another storm rolled in. It got windy; really really windy. We were being pelted with dirt, our clothes were soaked from the rain that had started and we had to stop and crouch on the cliffside and wait it out the best we could. As soon as the storm started to lift we hiked as fast as we could the rest of the way and finally arrived at our location taking shelter in the cliffside as it rained in front of us.



After we took photos and filled out the visitor book stashed in an ammo can we headed back up trail. After 4 hours of searching and hiking it took us about 30 minutes to make it back to the car when we finally were on the right trail. If there is one shot I had to work my ass off for it was that one. We went home, cooked food and went to bed. We were physically and mentally broken by that point. The next morning we went to Mesa Arch to catch sunrise which I'll get to in a minute. Today we hiked the Aztec Butte trail to find some Pueblo Indian granaries. The trail ended up being pretty tough. More scurrying up slick rock and big boulders.



Later that night we headed to Green River overlook for sunset. I needed a longer lens ; )



It was a nice night with a pretty sunset and calm cool temperatures. It was a relaxing night and we slept well. I think all the craziness is taking it's toll on us. This leads me to my last part of this blog. Mesa Arch. We woke up early yesterday morning and headed out to shoot this Arch. I arrived and settled in with a few of photographers. They were all very friendly and we had a good time. However, the cloud cover was too thick for the sun to do it's magic and light the Arch up so the plan was to go back this morning and try again. The forecast called for clear skies so I had high hopes. We woke up extra early because I wanted to get back in the same spot as I was before since I liked the composition I could get. We woke up an hour earlier today. 4 a.m. and we were on our way. We were the first to arrive so I took some star shots with the Arch. Melinda saw a meteor and we both saw a ton of shooting stars. Worth the early rise for that alone. About twenty minutes later is when the "fun" started. For a quick comparison here is what it looked like the day before.


Not so bad

Then, really bad

What happened was a photo tour group showed up. This is more or less people with really expensive equipment that have no idea what the hell they are doing or no kind of photo etiquette. I had been setup and ready to go. About six people piled in next to me which was fine but then they complained about having a rock in their foreground they didn't like. The instructor told them to scoot back and that if "this guy" aka ME, would move they would have a nice shot. I just ignored them and stayed where I was. I wasn't moving for anyone especially since I was there a solid hour before them. There is basically a line that the photographers form at the arch so as long as you stay in the line it's all good. They were fairly far back behind everyone else so I really couldn't get out of their way unless I completely left the area. After a little crying they framed up their shot and made do. I also didn't like the fact that they stacked all their bags up next to me and some other open areas so nobody else could shoot there. It was a shitty thing to do and I felt bad for the other guys that arrived after the group and really couldn't find a spot. I think they probably took up about 4 or 5 extra spots. About 5 minutes before the sun came over the horizon I just tried to zone out and enjoy what was about to unfold. When the sun finally appeared the shutters started firing all around me frantically. I just sat there and enjoyed the moment for a bit before I began to shoot. The sun wasn't going anywhere and it was a pretty spectacular thing to see. I shot for about 15-20 minutes before I felt I had what I needed and took a few more shots from a couple different angles. I said goodbye to one other guy that I met the day before and exchanged emails before I set off back to the car. It was a crazy morning, I was tired, cold, and pretty fed up with all the antics but it was all worth it. If only we had this stuff in Maryland.



We are heading out to a few new spots tomorrow and I'll try and post an update next week when we made it to Arizona. Take care people ; )

Comments

  1. Judging by both of your smiling faces it looks like your having a wonderful time. The photography is great! I knew that it would be. Don't sweat the crowds, getting a moment alone has become increasingly rare, and because of that creating a shot that is creative and original is becoming more and more challenging. For me photography is one of the ways I connect with nature, and it just doesn't work as well with a bunch of other people around especially overly aggressive and ignorant photographers who scold you if you don’t give up your spot (regardless of how early you got there). I also was asked by a photo instructor to give up my spot for one of his students, my answer to him was simply "He's your student, give him YOUR spot". Thanks for sharing these great images, Enjoy!

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