You might think that you live in a boring neighborhood. You might think that there’s nothing of interest to photograph where you live. You might think that you have to go somewhere to capture good photographs. This photoessay is intended to debunk that. I live in a boring suburban neighborhood, but I have still made an effort to walk the sidewalks with my camera in hand. This particular collection features some recent black-and-white images that I’ve captured in the neighborhood where I live. In the past I’ve shared many pictures captured in my neighborhood, so these are far from the only ones or even the best ones–they are simply ones that I have not posted on here before. I hope that this article inspires you to get out into your local area with your camera, even if “getting out” is just a short trip around the block.
Utah is a beautiful state with a diverse environment. There are snow-capped mountain peaks, green forests, extensive lakes, snaking rivers, vast red deserts and pretty much everything in-between. This photoessay series is intended to exhibit that diversity through my photographs, and each part will have a specific theme. This article, which is Part 3 of The Diversity of Utah Landscapes in Color, is about trees.
When a lot of people think of Utah, they think of the red-rock deserts found in the southern part of the state. You might be surprised to learn that approximately 1/3 of Utah is forested. Many of these trees are found in the mountains of the northern region, but even the deserts can be dotted with Pinyon and Juniper. There are a wide range of trees found throughout the state. It shouldn’t be surprising that trees have found their way into my photographs many times, especially in the fall when their leaves turn autumn colors. I’ve noticed that the leaves are already beginning to change this year, so it’s time once again to find some vibrant trees to capture.
Utah is a beautiful state with a diverse environment. There are snow-capped mountain peaks, green forests, extensive lakes, snaking rivers, vast red deserts and pretty much everything in-between. This photoessay series is intended to exhibit that diversity through my photographs, and each part will have a specific theme. This article, which is Part 2 of The Diversity of Utah Landscapes in Color, is about flowers.
For some people, flower photography is the bread and butter of what they do. I’ve never considered myself a flower photographer, but in the spring and summer when there are beautiful blossoms all around, it’s hard not to find it an interesting subject for the camera. Utah seems like an especially good place to capture the blooming beauty, as there are many lush flower gardens and plentiful wildflowers to choose from, including sometimes one’s own front or backyard.
Stay tuned for Part 3!
Utah is a beautiful state with a diverse environment. There are snow-capped mountain peaks, green forests, extensive lakes, snaking rivers, vast red deserts and pretty much everything in-between. This photoessay series is intended to exhibit that diversity through my photographs, and each part will have a specific theme. This article, which is Part 1 of The Diversity of Utah Landscapes in Color, is about water.
Utah is the second driest state in America based on annual rainfall, but there are massive bodies of water and many miles of rivers. The Great Salt Lake is the largest salt lake and the sixth largest overall lake in America. Lake Powell, which is on the boarder of Utah and Arizona, is the 23rd largest lake in the country. Utah Lake is the 36th largest lake in America, and Bear Lake is the 47th largest. There are thousands of miles of rivers and streams throughout the state. Despite the lack of rainfall, there’s a surprisingly large amount of water in Utah, and it has been the subject of my photography numerous times.
The Great Salt Lake is the largest natural lake west of the Mississippi River, the largest salt water lake in the western hemisphere and the 33rd largest lake in the world. It’s massive! It can seem almost ocean-like, or perhaps more like a large ocean bay, but it is located far from any ocean. One difference between the Great Salt Lake and an ocean is that the lake is much saltier, and brine shrimp are the only thing alive in it. It is one of Utah’s natural wonders!
The largest island in the Great Salt Lake is Antelope Island, which is 15 miles long and five miles wide. The highest point, Frary Peak, is 6,594′, and is often snow-capped in the winter. It’s accessible by road via a causeway. Antelope Island is managed by the Utah State Park system.
Kit Carson and John C. Fremont, who visited Antelope Island in 1845, gave it its name after hunting pronghorn antelope on the island. Daddy Stump and Fielding Garr would build homes on Antelope Island over the next few years. This is a place that people have been coming to for a long time. In fact, there is evidence that native people have spent time on the island since at least the time of Christ.
Antelope Island seems like a world away from the Salt Lake City metro area, even though it is located very close to the city. It looks remote, and it must have been very remote before the road was built and the city grew. Interestingly enough, the oldest non-Native American structure in Utah is located on the island: an adobe ranch house built in 1848. The Fielding Garr Ranch was a working ranch from 1848 to 1981, and now the old ranch is open to the public for self-guided tours.
Wildlife abounds on Antelope Island, including buffalo, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, big horn sheep and many other animals. At one time the bison herd on Antelope Island was the largest in America. There are a huge variety of birds that migrate across the area.
The water is often calm and the reflections can be incredible. There are sandy beaches. There are trails that curve across the rugged landscape. There is a unique beauty to Antelope Island that draws me back. It’s one of my favorite places to photograph. But it’s also disgusting! There’s a certain “rotten egg” smell that can be found near the shores. There are tons and tons of bugs, including biting no-see-ums, brine flies (that cover the shore like a thick cloud), mosquitoes, tons of spiders (venomous and non-venomous), among other things. It’s pretty common to see dead birds. There’s plenty to love and hate about this place. I try to look beyond the gross to see the beauty.
Something interesting that I’ve discovered since moving to the Salt Lake City area almost three years ago is that most people who grew up in Utah don’t visit Antelope Island. Maybe they went on a school field trip as a kid, but they haven’t been back since. The majority of people you find on the island are from out-of-town. The locals who do visit are often those that moved to the area from someplace else. It’s too bad for those who don’t make the short trip to the island, because they’re really missing out!
Antelope Island is incredibly beautiful and tranquil. It is indeed odd, and one has to purposefully look beyond the negative aspects of the place to truly appreciate it. I feel like it is a secret treasure that is easily overlooked, and I feel honored to have found it and photographed it.
When I moved to Utah from California, one thing that I wasn’t prepared for was winter. Before California I lived in Arizona, so having temperatures below freezing and white fluffy stuff on the ground was something that I didn’t have much experience with. This is my third winter in Utah, and while I’m now a little acclimated, winter is not my favorite season whatsoever. In fact, I dread winter.
Even though I’d rather be warm and have long hours of seemingly endless sunshine with green fields and blossoming flowers, there is a certain beauty to the drabness of the cold season. Winter brings clouds, and an approaching or clearing storm can be incredibly dramatic. Those clouds blanket the entire landscape in pure white that sparkles like glitter when the sun finally shows. Winter is a transformation season, and while the days are short and the air is frigid, it’s a worthwhile time to capture pictures. This is the time to keep an especially watchful photographic eye on things, because the opportunities for interesting photographs abound, but they are fleeting, so one must be quick and ready.
A couple of weeks ago I found myself in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah. I had my Fujifilm XF10 with me and hoped to do a little street photography. It was a cold Sunday morning, and downtown was basically a ghost town. I barely saw anybody! Undeterred, I proceeded to walk around and capture some photographs.
Did I mention that it was cold? The sun was just beginning to rise and it hadn’t warmed up at all yet. I wasn’t really dressed for the temperature, which was in the upper 20’s Fahrenheit. I kept moving, though, and survived a trip around the block. It reminded me of some photography advice, I believe from Richard Steinheimer, that I heard many years ago: for great photographs you often have to be at places others don’t want to be and at times when others don’t want to be there. After getting back to the car I was more than happy to jump in and warm up!
The XF10 did a great job of capturing pictures. It’s small, lightweight and inconspicuous. It can be easily shoved into a pocket, which I did many times on that morning while trying to keep my fingers from freezing. I didn’t stay long. All things considered I’m pretty happy with the pictures that I came away with, even if I didn’t capture exactly what I was hoping for.
Antelope Island is the largest island in the Great Salt Lake. It’s home to about 700 wild buffalo. Every year Antelope Island State Park rounds up the buffalo herd so that they can be counted, examined, and vaccinated. This event, which is open to the public, happens every autumn and takes place over a seven day period.
I had the opportunity to photograph a portion of this year’s buffalo roundup, which I was very excited about. I missed the actual roundup, where a bunch of cowboys on horseback traverse the island to guide the bison to the corral, but I did get to witness the second phase, where the animals are seen one at a time by a veterinarian. This operation takes a team of about 40 people several days to complete. It’s fascinating to watch, but it’s also a slow process and there is a lot of downtime where very little is happening.
I used my Fujifilm X100F to capture these photographs, which are all unedited camera-made JPEGs. For the camera settings I used the [Not] My Fujifilm X-Pro2 Tri-X Cross Process Film Simulation Recipe, utilizing the X100F’s built-in neutral density filter so that I could use high ISOs even in bright midday light. I took a photojournalist approach, and I think these settings worked particularly well for it. I’m pleased with how this series turned out and I hope that you enjoy the pictures!
The final leg of our journey, which also marks the end of this series, took us through the lonely state of Wyoming. Towns are few and far between. It’s a very rural place. Antelope outnumber the people. The main purpose of the small communities situated along Interstate 80 seems to be serving highway travelers.
Wyoming is beautiful, especially the northwest corner. We didn’t travel to the northwest corner, but even the empty southern side of the state has some sites worth seeing. There are mountain passes and grasslands and rivers. Spotted here and there are patches of unique natural artistry. We passed through much of it without stopping.
Because the journey itself can be more important than where the road leads, the destination isn’t as critical as the decision to go. On this road trip I saw and experienced many great places, met some wonderful people, and, of course, captured many memorable photographs. I hope to do this again real soon.
Pawhuska is a rural town in northeastern Oklahoma that once boomed. The 1920’s were especially roaring, but the 1930’s included an oil bust, the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl, scars of which are clearly evident to this day. The Boy Scouts of America began in Pawhuska over 100 years ago. The town is also home to Drummond Ranch, which is one of the largest ranches in the country. Ree Drummond has a popular television cooking show and has authored a number of books. She also has a store and restaurant in town, and that’s why my wife and I were there.
The town is quite small, but photographic opportunities were numerous. In fact, I made more exposures in Pawhuska than any other place we visited on our road trip. There’s a lot of history, character and hospitality packed into the little town in the middle of nowhere. Pawhuska proved to be a great experience! I felt as though I left many potential pictures unphotographed, so perhaps another visit will be in store in the future.