Bryce Canyon National Park: Peekaboo Loop

Peekaboo Loop Panorama, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

The Peekaboo Loop trail in Bryce Canyon National Park is an instant favorite. Mile for mile this half day hike has more mind blowing, jaw dropping scenery than any other trail this length I can think of. I'm sure there are times when this trail sees heavy traffic, but midweek in mid February I practically had the place to myself.

Hoodoos and Snow, Peekaboo Loop, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

In "Hoodoos and Snow", simplification of composition is achieved by isolation of elements of the scene through lens choice and camera placement. The more simplified, more elemental images often seem more personal in such iconic wide view places as Bryce. This image of Bryce is mine; the wide view from the rim, not so much. One reason I highly recommend the Peekaboo Loop is, it gets you up close and personal with the hoodoos; an experience much different than walking along the rim.

Wall of Windows, Peekaboo Loop, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

The Peekaboo Loop can be accessed at the top by a steep trail coming down from the rim at Inspiration Point, or at the bottom, by a short connector trail coming from the bottom of the Navajo Loop/Queens Garden trail junction. Because it's more difficult to access, I would imagine traffic is always less than the Navajo Loop and Queens Garden trails. The loop itself is not level, but climbs and descends several times as you climb in and out of several canyons between fins of hoodoos. I'm assuming the trail is named for those moments when you climb to a pass on a fin, walk between hoodoos, and a new world is revealed in the next drainage.

Lone Pine at Sunset, Peekaboo Loop, Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

This was only my second trip to Bryce Canyon National Park. Which makes Bryce my least visited Utah National Park, by a long shot. Less than four hours from my front door, not sure what kept me away. Maybe it was the thought that it's a small park without a lot of hiking. Probably aught to hike the trails there are before deciding there's not enough hiking. After this trip to Bryce if feel like I owe it to myself to go back soon.

Post Sunset Glow, Another View from the Peekaboo Loop

Learning from Generation Selfie

Self Portrait, Mill D North Fork Trail, Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah

One of my favorite images from last year and a good example of the influence Instagram has had on my photography. In the last three years I've put myself in the frame significantly more often than the thirteen years previous. I think the reason I've been more open to those opportunities has a lot to do with the photographers I follow on Instagram. An increased exposure to images of tiny people in giant landscapes has helped me tune-in to situations were that sense of scale provided by the human form makes setting my self timer seem like the appropriate thing to do.

Isle Royale National Park: Duotones

Isle Royale First Impression: After a couple of hours crossing open water, we get our first look at the park, and the first impression is just as wild and mysterious as we'd imagined.

Coyote Gulch: April 2016

Spring waterfall, Coyote Gulch, Glen Canyon NRA, Utah

It had been several life changes since I'd made my one and only trip into Coyote Gulch with my good friend Ken. It wasn't the stunning beauty or the idyllic camping that kept me away, but the canyon's reputation as one of the most popular in all of southern Utah.

In Steve Allen's book, Canyoneering 3, he warns, "Spring brings an overwhelming number of people into the canyon". The Park Service hasn't set any limits on the number of people to enter the drainage, but has set strict regulations for camping in Coyote Gulch; including no fires, and the directive to pack out ALL solid waste!

Well, it was spring, and with the help of a dicey forecast to keep the hordes away, I decided to head down to Coyote Gulch to see what I'd been missing.

Self portrait in alcove, Coyote Gulch, Utah

Coyote Gulch has soaring walls and a sculpted streambed.

I'd Rather Be Backpacking

Backpackers at Lake Blanche, Twin Peaks Wilderness, Utah

Serendipity smiled on me this late August evening. I had just returned to Lake Blanche after spending the evening avoiding the well worn Sundial Peak reflecting in Lake Blanche at sunset image.

It's not that there aren't slight twists, and not because it's not a slam dunk every time you get some decent light, it is. This isn't a promise to never shoot it again either, but that image doesn't help me grow as an artist.

So, in search of something more personal, I wandered down to the other two lakes, and ended up finding a cool little spot in the rock ribs north of Lake Lilian that avoided that sweet sunset light all together. Doh.

It did feel like artistic growth to go to this beautiful place I feel intimately familiar with, seek out something new and unique, and execute an image I deemed worthy of sharing. Using my artistic powers to isolate and arrange; using universal natural elements to express something entirely personal about the beauty of this place that isn't seen in a passing glance, felt good.

Sill, I couldn't help but feel a little melancholy as I climbed back up to Lake Blanche in the afterglow of sunset. I had made a few good images, but I didn't feel like I had made a slam dunk. Worse, I had missed out on some pretty great light.

When I got back to Lake Blanche, I immediately dropped down to lake level. Maybe I could still get a nice long exposure of the Sundial reflected in the lake, lit by the fading light of the western sky, I thought.

When I found the composition I wanted, I dropped my pack and pulled out my camera. Just then, two backpackers crested the ridge behind me and paused for a few seconds; just long enough for me to capture their silhouettes and my most evocative image of the evening.

Intimate landscape near Lake Lilian, Twin Peaks Wilderness, Utah