Traveling With Fujifilm, Part 3: Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge

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Abandoned Dream – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X100V

Part 1  Part 2

In 1970, E.B. White published a fictional children’s novel called The Trumpet of the Swan, which is largely set in Red Rock Lakes, Montana. E.B. White is probably best known for penning Charlotte’s Web and Stuart Little, both of which are literary classics. While The Trumpet of the Swan is not as well known as the other two books, it is also considered a classic children’s novel. Not long before our road trip, we read this book as a family.

My 10-year-old son, Jonathan, who likes geography—you will frequently find him looking at maps and drawing maps—said to me, “Look, I found Red Rock Lakes!” He pointed to a spot on the map that appeared to be very close to our campsite in Island Park, which is in Idaho but very close to Montana. It turns out that the Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge, which is where the book is set, was only an hour drive away from our campsite. We made plans to visit this remote refuge while there.

The Red Rock Lakes area features lakes, rivers, marshlands, prairies, forested uplands, and mountain peaks. It’s highly diverse. Over 250 species of birds have been spotted in the refuge, including the illusive trumpeter swan, the main character of E.B. White’s novel. Moose, elk, deer, bears, wolves and many other animals call this place home.

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Upper Red Rock Lake – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X100V

The road to Red Rock Lakes is dirt. Rough at times, lightly flooded at times, and narrow at times, and quite rural the entirety, this was a fun drive in our four-wheel-drive truck. We did see some other cars and people, plus plenty of UTVs, but mostly we were alone. Not many people venture out to this lonely place. Red Rock Lakes might not be easy to get to, but it is highly rewarding and worth the journey.

Red Rock Lakes National Wildlife Refuge is incredibly beautiful! Breathtakingly beautiful at times, in fact. It’s a landscape photographer’s playground! I didn’t see much wildlife myself, but I image that wildlife photographers would love this place, too. Upper Red Rock Lake (which I have no idea why it’s named that as I didn’t see many red rocks) is surprisingly still and reflective. It reminded me a little of the Great Salt Lake, but smaller and freshwater. In some ways the refuge was like stepping into E.B. White’s book, and seeing it in person brought the words to life. I would love to spend several days there, not just a few hours. I hope to someday return.

These photographs were mostly captured with a Fujifilm X100V, and a couple were with a  Fujifilm X-T30 and Fujinon 90mm f/2 lens. On the X100V I used my “The Rockwell” and Kodak Tri-X 400 film simulation recipes. On the X-T30 I used my Velvia and Tri-X 400 recipes. Both cameras are great, but the X100V is such a wonderful travel camera that it renders the other gear largely unnecessary.

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Red Rock Lakes Sign – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X100V

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Red Rock Road – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X100V

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Frontier Hills – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X100V

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Dilapidated Dream – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X100V

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Abandoned House by the Hill – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X100V

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Green Hills – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X100V

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Distant Mountains – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X100V

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Mountain Meadow – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X100V

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Mountain Wildflowers 1 – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X100V

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Mountain Wildflowers 2 – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X100V

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Wildflower Meadow – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X100V

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Wildflowers in the Forest – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X100V

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Forest Flowers – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X100V

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Flower in the Forest – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm

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Poolside – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X100V

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Red Rock Lake in Green – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X100V

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Algae Water – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X100V

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Pelican on the Shore – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X100V

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Looking For Trumpeter Swans – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X100V

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Grey Reflections – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm

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Upper Red Rock Lake Monochrome – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X100V

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Monochrome Lake Reflections – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X100V

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Water Pipe – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X100V

Part 4 coming soon!

Traveling With Fujifilm, Part 2: Dirty Jobs & Failed Dreams in Rexburg

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Grease Work – Rexburg, ID – Fujifilm X100V – “The Rockwell”

Part 1

These photographs were all captured at the same place: a Jack-in-the-Box in Rexburg, Idaho. On the very first day of the road trip we stopped in Rexburg for lunch. You just never know when photographic opportunities are going to present themselves, so it’s a good habit to have a camera within easy reach. For me, that was the Fujifilm X100V. Surprisingly, that Jack-in-the-Box in Rexburg provided the chance to create some interesting pictures.

Rexburg is perhaps best known for being underwater when a dam broke 1976, which flooded the area. The town recovered. It’s the last city before Yellowstone, and seems like a nice enough place. Like everywhere, hard working people are what keeps things moving forward. It’s the thankless jobs that often go unnoticed, yet they’re critical to a functioning society. It’s the premise of the television show Dirty Jobs hosted by Mike Rowe. I encountered a couple of those important yet invisible people while in Rexburg.

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Blue Truck Trailer – Rexburg, ID – Fujifilm X100V – “The Rockwell”

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Drive Thru – Rexburg, ID – Fujifilm X100V – “The Rockwell”

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Out of Order – Rexburg, ID – Fujifilm X100V – “The Rockwell”

Right next to Jack-in-the-Box in the same parking lot was a closed and abandoned Wingers. According to the sign, it had been opened for 13 years. I’m not sure why it closed: lazy employees, poor management, mediocre food, bad location, current economic times? I can only speculate, but I’ll never know the answer—it doesn’t matter, anyway. What I found interesting is that just a few steps separated hard working yet invisible people from an empty building that had similar people in it, but no more. They’re gone. Their jobs are gone. They’ve moved on. The dream that inspired its opening failed, leaving only ghosts of the past behind, a haunting reminder of the fragility of it all. Invisible People and Ghost Dreams would be my alternative title to this post. Maybe we’re all ghosts. Maybe invisibility is a super power. Maybe I just inspired the next album for some indie rock band somewhere.

For the top four photographs I used my new “The Rockwell” film simulation recipe. In fact, these were some of the very first pictures that I captured with this recipe. The bottom four photographs were captured using my Fujicolor Superia 100 film simulation recipe. These two recipes are pretty much opposites of each other: one is boldly vibrant, while the other is rather dull in comparison. Juxtaposed recipes for juxtaposed subjects. One mundane stop in a rather ordinary town. You just never know when photographic opportunities will present themselves, so be ready.

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Available Building – Rexburg, ID – Fujifilm X100V – “Fujicolor Superia 100”

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Available – Rexburg, ID – Fujifilm X100V – “Fujicolor Superia 100”

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Thistles In The City – Rexburg, ID – Fujifilm X100V – “Fujicolor Superia 100”

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This Restaurant is Closed – Rexburg, ID – Fujifilm X100V – “Fujicolor Superia 100”

Part 3

Traveling With Fujifilm, Part 1: Introduction

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Sunrise & Travel Trailer – Farmington, UT – Fujifilm X100V – Fujicolor Superia 1600

I recently returned from a road trip across several U.S. states, which I photographed with a Fujifilm X100V and X-T30. The trip began in Farmington, Utah, which is where I live, and over a week-and-a-half my family and I pulled a travel trailer across Idaho, Wyoming (just a little), and Montana, and back to Utah. I visited two national parks. I saw incredible lakes and rivers. It was just a great road trip!

Upon returning, I was unsure how to best share the experience with you. I decided to break the trip into a series of articles called Traveling With Fujifilm. I’m not sure exactly how many parts there will be in all, but there will be many! This is Part 1. It won’t necessarily be in chronological order, but I hope in a logical order that makes some sort of sense.

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Rural Diner – Tremonton, UT – Fujifilm X100V – Fujicolor Superia 1600

The trip began on July 2nd right after sunrise. The trailer was already packed and ready, and already attached to the truck. We just had to load ourselves into the truck and leave. There are six of us: my wife and I, plus our four children. The truck seats six. It was a tight fit. We bonded (and occasionally not), as we spent significant stretches of time together on the open road.

The first day took us from our home in Utah to Island Park, Idaho. For the most part it’s rural country. We made a few stops for gas and food, but mostly pushed through to the destination. Island Park is amazingly beautiful! I’ll save that for another article, so you can look forward to it.

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Phillips 66 – Malad City, ID – Fujifilm X100V – Fujicolor Superia 100

The film simulation recipes that I used for these three pictures are Fujicolor Superia 100 and Fujicolor Superia 1600. I only used the Fujifilm X100V for this section of the trip. This camera is great for this type of photography. No need to carry a camera bag filled with lenses. One camera, one lens. In fact, I used the X100V for about 90% of the pictures on this trip. While this article has only a few photographs, most in this series will have many more.

Come along for the ride! Join me on this adventure by following this series. I hope that you’ll find it enjoyable, inspirational and perhaps even helpful to your photography.

Part 2  Part 3

On Top of the World with a Fujifilm X100V: Driving Farmington Canyon to Francis Peak

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Francis Peak in Green – Francis Peak, UT – Fujifilm X100V

From my house I can see Farmington Canyon and Francis Peak in Utah. It’s an amazing view! But I had never been up the canyon or to the top of the mountain. There’s a narrow dirt road that snakes up the canyon side and leads to the peak. At the top is a radar site. Recently I grabbed my Fujifilm X100V and drove up the winding dirt road seeking adventures and vistas.

The road up the canyon turned out to be much too crowded with cars, UTVs, ATVs, bicyclists and even pedestrians. It’s not especially wide, sometimes not wide enough for two cars to pass. It’s a sketchy drive at times with steep drop-offs and rough sections. The difficult road rewarded me with beautiful scenes and incredible views.

I used three film simulation recipes on my Fujifilm X100V: Kodak Tri-X 400, Fujicolor Reala 100, and a new Velvia recipe that I’ve been working on (expect a modified version of this recipe to be published in the coming weeks). In a way this was like loading my camera with three rolls of film, but of course in the film days you could only have one roll loaded at a time. With the X100V (and most Fujifilm cameras) you can have up to seven! Amazing!

The view from the peak is nothing short of breathtaking! It feels like standing on top of the world. You can see for miles and miles and miles. I could even see my house way down at the bottom. I feel fortunate to live so close to this place. It’s great that I can make this journey again if I want, and I surely will!

Kodak Tri-X 400

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Bicycling Up – Farmington Canyon, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Dirt Road – Farmington Canyon, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Farmington From Above – Farmington Canyon, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Valley Peek – Farmington Canyon, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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New Mexico – Farmington Canyon, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Mountain Road – Francis Peak, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Tough Tree in a Rough Place – Francis Peak, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Family Above Everything – Francis Peak, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Road Above the Valley Below – Francis Peak, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Valley Below from High Above – Francis Peak, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Salt Lake Valley from a Wasatch Peak – Francis Peak, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Salt Lake Valley – Francis Peak, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Wasatch Mountains Monochromatic – Francis Peak, UT – Fujifilm X100V

Fujifilm Fujicolor Reala 100

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Dusty Road – Farmington Canyon, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Might As Well Jump – Francis Peak, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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ATVs – Francis Peak, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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High Voltage – Francis Peak, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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A Few Dead Trees – Francis Peak, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Mountain Green – Francis Peak, UT – Fujifilm X100V

Fujifilm Velvia

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Spring Green – Farmington Canyon, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Vibrant Green Hill – Farmington Canyon, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Mountain Thistle – Farmington Canyon, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Wasatch Green – Francis Peak, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Mountain Vista – Francis Peak, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Morgan Valley – Francis Peak, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Mountain & Valley – Francis Peak, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Trees at the Top – Francis Peak, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Compass Rock – Francis Peak, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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View From the Top – Francis Peak, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Salt Lake Valley From High Above – Francis Peak, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Trail Down to the Valley – Francis Peak, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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Wasatch Mountains in Spring Green – Francis Peak, UT – Fujifilm X100V

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