Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Southwest Utah

Those of us who live in the eastern woodlands sometimes can't see the forest or the trees, so densely do they surround us. Spring has been very wet in Maryland this year, and vegetation has gone wild. So it was exciting to find ourselves in a completely different environment recently when we helped our son relocate to Cedar City, Utah, an attractive town in the southwest corner of the state.

I had some idea of what to expect. As an undergraduate geology student in the 1970's I spent several weeks in Silver City, New Mexico, making maps of a very dry area. I knew vegetation would be sparse (that's one reason they send neophyte geologists to such places: it's easier to see the rocks). But I had forgotten how much variety and drama there can be in arid landscapes. I was reminded on this trip, which included a visually delicious three hour drive south from Salt Lake City, and a stunning return drive at sunrise. But as this was a working trip with a tight schedule, no images were made along Interstate 15.

However, while in Cedar City I took a short drive up Cedar Canyon to make a few shots of the beautiful multicolored hills. Another day I wandered down to a creek near our hotel, where the vegetation was thick and the thistle in bloom. I can understand how photographers spend lifetimes in the American West yet feel they haven't seen everything. It is so compelling, and so vast.

Red Hill near Cedar City, Utah

Thistle and Grass

The details:  
(Red Hill) Pentax K-5 handheld 1/1000 sec. at f/8, ISO 400, 22mm (smc Pentax-DA* 16-50mm F2.8 ED AL [IF] SDM)
(Thistle) Pentax K-5 handheld 1/320 sec. at f/8, ISO 400, 50mm (smc Pentax-DA* 16-50mm F2.8 ED AL [IF] SDM)

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