Tag: Canyonlands National Park

Texture Is Where You Find It.

Following up with yesterday’s post I wanted to share a few more images where texture is the dominant element. This first shot was taken in Arches National Park while hiking to a point to shoot some red rock vistas. The texture of the lizard’s skin against the sandstone combined with the visual texture of the shadows across the scene reinforce the feeling of the arid desert. I’m drawn to the sparkle of the individual grains of sand that make up his perch and the way that the light reflects under the ledge. Topaz Adjust was used to intensify the monochromatic tones in the scene while highlighting the overall contrast.

This image is a macro shot of the desert floor of the same trail that the previous image was taken on. The repetition of the same forms that make up the landscape are visible here in an area that is likely less than two inches across. The way that the shadows fall across the scene enhance the contrast and definition of the surface. Using Topaz to process this shot was a simple choice because of the ability of the Spicify preset to bring out the details while preserving the color and texture of the rock.

This final image is once again a macro shot of the desert floor. This was taken in Monument Valley and shows us how even at the smallest point the forces that formed monument valley’s huge buttes and mesas are at work carving away the layers of sandstone and creating new forms. On a grand scale geologic areas like this are referred to as “slick rock” and the tiny mesa in the middle of the scene could just as easily be seen in a landscape shot encompassing miles and miles of the valley. The Spicify preset in Topaz Adjust brings out the texture and color while allowing the scene to stand on the merits of it’s color and composition.

My Former Travelling Studio

I love to use my motorcycle to travel and take me to the sites I like to photograph. There is nothing like being able to sit there and see all around you the grandeur of the west as the smells and sounds of the road caress your senses.

This is a shot of my 2003 Road Glide I named Devilhog. I gave it that name because it was assembled on April 1, 2003 and had a VIN number that ended in 666. I rode this bike over 90,000 miles until I had a rear tire blow out on I-80 just east of Bonneville at the east bound 26.5 mile marker. I was cruising along at 80 miles an hour when suddenly the bike started shaking violently. I fisrt thought it was a tank slapper coming on but then I realized it was a blown rear tire. I had just passed a string of vehicles and was slightly ahead of an 18 wheeler when it went down on it’s right side. Fortunately for me the engine and saddlebag guards kept me from being caught under the bike and we both slid down the highway separately.

I was wearing my leather jacket and full face helmet which I’m certain saved my life. The helmet was scraping along on the face shield as I was sliding on my right side. I remember thinking this isn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be; then I started thinking “damn I’m broken down on the interstate with a flat tire”. LOL … Little did I know that my bike was destroyed and I was lucky to be alive. I sprained my left wrist and had a small cut on the back of my right hand where my glove had ripped but otherwise I was OK. Some wonderful ladies who were ahead of me and saw the crash in their mirrors came back and helped me gather all my gear from the highway. They stayed with me until the EMTs and Police were on the scene and I was in safe hands.

I was amazed to find that all my stuff was intact, though my luggage was pretty tattered, and my camera, lens and laptop were unharmed. I’ve since replaced the Devilhog with a 2007 Road Glide and switched from Michellin brand tires to Metzlers. Michellin discontinued the series of tires for Harleys I was using and I suspect it was because they were not safe to ride on. I didn’t have the presence of mind to get the rear tire back so that I could find out why it blew so I probably passed up a chance to be compensated for my loss. My consolation is that I walked away from what could have been a catastrophic event because I chose to ride wearing the proper safety gear and because luck was with me that day.

This photo was taken the year before my crash; in Canyonlands National Park. I processed it using Aperture 3 and Topaz Adjust Spicify preset. Compositionally I like the way the bike’s position accentuates the perspective in the scene as the road itself leads your eye from the foreground to the horizon and the amazing rock formations of Canyonlands.

Canyonlands Sunset

I was riding in Canyonlands National Park in Utah a couple of years ago when I came upon this scene. I had been down this road earlier in the day and was returning to my hotel when I came around a bend in the road and saw this vista. I immediately knew I wanted to capture the vista that was before me.

I had already met the Park Ranger back at the end of the road and knew that I was the only person on the road as the sun was going down behind me. I decided to ease my bike off the shoulder of the road  but when I put my front wheel onto what looked like a solid sand flat spot it tipped over instantly. I wasn’t going fast so I wasn’t hurt at all but I was still concerned. You see a Harley-Davidson Roadglide weighs nearly 900 pounds and there was nobody there to help me get it back up on it’s wheels. I learned long ago how to use leverage to right a motorcycle but even at that I knew I was in a pickle. I had to unload all my luggage, remove the saddlebag that I could reach, take off my rear Tour Pak and then dig the sand out under the bike’s wheels with my hands before I could lift it up and get it back onto the blacktop.

By that time I was exhausted and the sun was rapidly setting. I had used up almost 30 minutes and was concerned about riding alone in the dark as I exited the park. Once I had the bike back on the road; I still had to reinstall everything I had taken off before I could get going again. I finished that and then I saw that the original shot I had stopped to take had morphed into this gorgeous scene.

To this day I think the gods of photography tipped that motorcycle over so that I would be there to shoot this image.