Alice Springs Photographer Blog

Photographing the South West USA (so far)

Marshall Jacobs, Liberty Tax, Santa Monica, CA

Its true, I've sucked at posting entries to this blog lately mainly because life has not been sedentary and the road is not conducive to amounts of time where one can sit and contemplate.

Why the hell am I writing this now especially when I'm in one of the most stunning locations I've seen? Technology, batteries to be exact, I found out this morning are a good reason to delay, if only for a few hours, a planned 3 night hike to the snowy rim of Zion Canyon in Utah. The cold weather has been killing my cameras batteries and as I'm not used to shooting in -10 to +10 I have been caught off guard. Not to worry however its a blessing in disguise for me as it's also an opportunity to empty the flash cards and write this post while both those tasks are underway.

The Journey so Far

We landed in Los Angeles about a week ago to be greeted by the trials of US customs and a miserable rainy day. The latter giving us permission to stay in our hotel room and catch up on the jet lag rather than blunder our way through the down town.

We spent 2 days in Santa Monica just wandering and marveling at the American culture, the similarities to the Australian culture and how big the cars are. Then on the morning of the third day I bid my fair lady goodbye as she flew to Mexico and I began my 16 days photographing the American South West. On my list of locations was Death Valley, Zion, Monument Valley, Canyon De Chelly and the Grand Canyon all of which are located on a 2000km or there abouts loop back to LA.

Death Valley National Park, California

Racetrack Playa, Death Valley NP, CA

Death Valley was a mind blowing experience for me especially as I had been living in the Australian deserts the last 5 years. The size and scale of the mountains that surrounded Death Valley are what made it for me both metaphorically and literally. The sand dunes and a unique feature called the Racetrack Playa were the two must see features for me. The dunes are fairly straight forward, light, shadow and texture offset by the expanse then the towering barren mountain sides. The Racetrack Playa is for lack of a better description a clay pan that features rocks, some as big as a car tyre, that under the right conditions move over the clay pan leaving the mysterious tracks.

I would have loved to spend more time in the valley which is always a good indicator of time well spent with more to explore but Zion was calling.

Zion National Park, Utah

The Sentinel, Zion NP, UT

After arriving very late at night, I was greeted with first light by the truly magnificent sight of the towering walls and peaks of Zion. Not to be underestimated the shooting in the valley floor is difficult as are all canyons but here in the middle of winter all but the hardy pines are leafless. This makes for not the most scenic of photographs so I've decided to go up onto the East and West rims to try for some spectacular views straight down the canyon. This leads me to where I started this blog... still waiting for the batteries to charge.

I can't promise that I'll be following up this post quickly as I'd hope to be out shooting, walking and driving between locations rather than in a cafe telling you all about it, sorry, but I'd hope that you understand.