Blown away in Utah

Blown away in Utah

I was in Utah a few weeks ago, photographing various landscapes around Capitol Reef National Park, Kodachrome State Park, Grand Staircase Escalante, Factory Butte, and others, when I decided to take a chance on an unnamed area I'd never been to and knew nothing about. Looking from above on Google Earth, the area (owned by the Bureau of Land Management) appeared similar in topography to other places I'd been to in Utah, and appeared to have plenty of the bright white sandstone I love photographing.

I found little-to-nothing about it online. What images I did find were all bright, sunny, high-contrast shots from various hikers' smartphones. But looking at their images, I could tell the DNA was there — colors, textures, and shapes that might be great if photographed in better light. I formed a picture in my mind of what the area probably looked like, thinking it wouldn't be that large or varied, then ventured out assuming I could knock it out in a half day.

My expectations were completely blown away.

What's your favorite photography gear under $100?

Currently working on an article and video featuring recommended photography accessories that cost less than $100. Doesn't matter what it is, as long as its helpful, useful, or simply fun and enjoyable. I have a number of items already, but there's still time for me to purchase, test, and sneak-in a few more if anyone reading this has their own recommendations to share! Hit me up with links so I can check them out.

Five life lessons learned through landscape photography

In case you didn't catch my last video, I recently ventured out on a landscape photography trip to Utah (one of my favorite places in the United States). While there, I started thinking about the parallels between the pursuit of great images and life itself. Hence, five life lessons learned by creating landscapes.

❤️ Favorite things this week

• Archipelago: Source Materials (Spotify) New collection of field recordings, harps, zithers, strings and brass that were used for the excellent Archipelago by Hidden Orchestra. Great soundtrack for falling leaves and cold nights.

Why Fjällräven doesn't use GORE-TEX (YouTube). Solid points in this video about whether people really need GORE-TEX in their outdoor apparel (doesn't hurt getting wet, folks). Makes me want to buy more Fjällräven products.

• Currently reading photographer Mary Ellen Mark's Portrait and the Moment, part of Aperture's excellent Photography Workshop Series. Portrait photography isn't my thing, but I appreciate the work of great portrait artists who somehow capture the character and essence of their subjects. I also love these Aperture books because they're affordable, well made, and written by the photographers in their own voice. All worth buying.

• Everyone's favorite coffee connoisseur James Hoffman blind taste-testing American grocery store coffee. I happen to be a big moka pot / Cafe Bustelo fan (I like my coffee dark, strong and a bit bitter).