Whotah? Oh, Youtah.

Ahhhh, road trip. Have I ever mentioned how much I like to drive? Or that my main passion in life is finding the next new gravel road to drive with my camera and a good buddy? Jay and I hit southern Utah like Chuck Norris fighting Mr. T on a crazy venture dedicated solely to landscape photography - primo deluxe deluxe deluxe. (Did I just mention Chuck and The Mr. in the same line? Somebody is going to die...) At nearly 2700 miles in 10 days, it was almost too short. The weather gave us about 13 different seasons, but it was overall pleasant. Some of the storms were as intense as anything I've seen in MT for a long time, and we just happened to be in Zion for their first snow in 15 years. It was all so amazing, I can't wait to go back. Who's coming along? Many, many thanks to Jay for being a great travel partner. I learned on this trip what a superior photographer he is and hope to get to that level one day myself. Also, the guy comes equipped with a National Parks pass...what else can I say?

After just praising Jay, I now have to chuckle at what I'm about to write. See, I have this feeling that Jay will post about 4 insanely unconscious photos and write about 9 quiet words. So, I'll post the other 21 images and write about a thousand words in a manner I've not done before - captions under every blasted photo. Whoa.

In chronological order...

On the outskirts of Goblin Valley, a beautiful but difficult area to photograph. The snow and sky together blew out most of my pictures, but there are a few keepers.

Our first evening of camping was under a massive wall just Northeast of Goblin Valley. These petroglyphs told us that folks had been camping there for a long, long, very long time. The vertical yellow streaking is from my flashlight...I used it for effect since this image was taken several hours after dark. It captured some motion in the snow that was falling, which I kind of like.

On our way from Bryce Canyon to Kanab, UT, we drove through a crazy storm at about 35mph for well over an hour. Shady, but amazing. Going so slow with no other traffic (thank goodness), we could make slow drive-bys like this one. It's one of my favorites from the trip.

The Coral Pink Sand Dunes region is a fairly small, yet beautiful place. The dunes were all covered with snow and some motoheads were wheeling around the largest in the area, but it was great light and we were happy. The clouds were ripping by so fast overhead that Jay shot some video. This is another of my favorite photos.

Coyote Buttes North...this place is a Mecca for photographers, but they only let in 20 people/day. We saw a few people leaving on our way in, but had the place to ourselves once we arrived. This area leads into The Wave, which is really the main destination, but as they say, "The journey is the path." This was probably the best picture weather we had and we were drinking it through a straw. Make that a garden hose. Truly amazing, this place.

Just 20 minutes from The Wave at this point. Great lookout over the little buttes everywhere.

Back side of The Wave. Colors, shadows, lines, all true wonders.

From down in the bottom, I looked up and saw this brave little fellow craning for sunlight.

Also on the back side of The Wave. Definitely one of my favorite shots, if not The...

The Wave, The Wave! This is probably the most graceful natural phenom I've ever seen. You could spend an entire day in 200 square yards shooting variations of angles over and over. It was brilliant! Then, hiking out under the full moon, WOW. Best of Show, no question! Jay agrees.

Zion was also larger in scale than I had anticipated. I guess the pictures I saw beforehand were lacking something, but this place is crazy, as many of you likely know. We're lucky there were so few people...and there were still quite a few people. Early March is a great time of the year to visit, despite missing a bit of the vegetative color.

I definitely like all the water in Zion. Most places we visited in Utah had none...or, negative water, if that's possible...Lake Powell being the exception.

Zion needs a pair of pantyhose it's so sheer.

I didn't notice until Jay mentioned it, but as we stood taking pictures of this scene, every photographer within a quarter mile-square showed up out of nowhere and took a few frames, then disappeared. It was kind of strange, but the scene was obviously beautiful.

Lake Powell is definitely where I felt the most relaxed on the trip, the most at ease. It was a bit choppy, and the reflections on still water would have been nice, but it was epic nonetheless. We had hoped to stay on the water for 2 days...we got 4 hours. Still, epic. We wanted to visit Rainbow Bridge, the planet's largest natural bridge, but missed it by about 40 miles. Bummed, you ask? Nope, nothin' but epic. Another place I'll be visiting again someday...

We didn't have time to make it to Monument Valley by sunset after leaving Lake Powell, so we filled up on some great grub at the Dam Bar & Grill in Page, AZ, and drove through under the moonlight. Two hours of nighttime photography later, we actually made it past Monument. Beautiful, even after the lights go out.

Arches NP was a bit of a drag for me...reality set in, you could say. In truth, it was amazing, but the circumstances, blimey! First, the weatherman lied. He said it would be 58 and partly cloudy, but it was 52 and overcast. Partly cloudy means bubbly clouds with blue skies in the background. Overcast means bright haze, and well, that blows. And to those people who stand directly under the arches...um, the world doesn't come here to see you. The bummer part, though, was really when we got to the Delicate Arch trailhead. I had to change boots and get my gear together, so I told Jay to head out before me. Once ready, I took off after him at a good clip and it was all downhill, so to speak, from there. In fact, it was all uphill and my smoker's lungs caught up with me about two-thirds of the way up this mammoth rock face you have to climb. Then the sun busted all glory out through the clouds, right at the horizon where it's best. For about four minutes there was this amazingly perfect light...and I was still 30 minutes from my destination. So, here I am, I had missed the scene and stood standing in the middle of nowhere for no particularly good reason. By the photo I hope Jay posts, you'll likely see why I could be a bit sour about the whole thing. And, oh yeah, really excited about my general health. Photography is such a grueling hobby...er, what? I need to exercise, like right now.

The needles on this baby were nearly 2 inches long, definitely the longest I've ever seen. Surely this was an old timer, if such a thing exists in the Cacti Kingdom. This was taken in Canyonlands, one of my favorite areas from the trip. We started out on a gravel road (sweet), had one crazy camping adventure in an ancient seabed and found out the next morning that the road we were on continued for over a hundred miles before there was an outlet to a main road. We went deep, but had to turn around. Jay and I agreed that it was the most impressive gravel road we'd ever been on, and we've been on A LOT of them together. Holy Schei├čen Tosen!

Um, the Easter Bunny has to be around here somewhere. With a giant purple egg like that, he's close. And so is Chuck Norris...silent, hidden.

I tried going with an old timey feel on this one...everything a bit soft with some warmth in the tone. I think it came out alright, what say you?

Neat little scene, this white wonder stuck out in the red of Canyonlands. Stuck out beautifully, indeed.

So, there it is. Rock out.


  1. Epic. Freakish. Unbeleeps. A GREAT story.

  2. Wow, 10 days! Great work. I want to thank you for exercising restraint... I'm sure you could have posted over a hundred after that kind of a road trip. I would have been sitting viewing for hours, they are so captivating. I've never traveled down there.
    I love the drive by shot of trees in snow. Otherworldly! Bravo! I could never grab an image like that because I am guilty of leaving the camera in the trunk too much.

    Oh yeah, give up the ciggies. Your percentages will go up! Photographers should only smoke cigars.


  3. 02 percentages that is! I'd say your image making percentage is pretty high!

  4. Great photos and stories Code Rouge. Sooo many amazing pics, hard to comment on all of them. Refreshing to see some different landscapes. Thanks Rouge!!

  5. Code R!
    You astound and inspire me. What are you DOING working at an office job? Just kidding.
    You have the gift. Thanks for giving us a taste of it.

  6. Cody- I have to agree w/junebug... quit your job. BTW- Great shots. You have a great eye and I love seeing your work. I only wish I could have gone with. Maybe another Smith safari is in order?



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