Travel: Snow Canyon State Park – St. George, Utah

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Crevasse Tree – Snow Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

Earlier this week my family and I traveled to southern Utah. One place that we visited was Snow Canyon State Park, which sits just outside of St. George. This place was new to us. I saw it on a map and thought it might be interesting, so we went. I knew nothing about Snow Canyon State Park other than how to get there. I didn’t have any expectations, but if I did they would have been blown away. This is a really neat state park!

Despite the name, Snow Canyon doesn’t receive much snow. It was named after the Snow family, who were early settlers to the area. The park features beautiful red sandstone, petrified sand dunes, a couple of small arches and different lava formations. It’s a place that begs to be explored. It’s a great location for hiking, camping and rock climbing–oh, and definitely photography!

We arrived about 30 minutes before sunset and stayed for about 15 minutes after. We didn’t have a long visit, which is a shame because it seems like an awesome park! In the short time that we were there we had a lot of fun. The kids ran around and explored as much as they could. From what I can tell the park has a lot to offer, including some large lava tubes that would have been fun to find. I didn’t know about the lava tubes until after we left, so we’ll have to find them the next time that we visit.

There are most certainly some great photographic opportunities in Snow Canyon. The place has something worthy of your camera’s attention at every turn! The quintessential red rocks of the region and the unusual land formations create the potential for great images. I was there for less than an hour and created the pictures in this article, which were captured using a Fujifilm X-T20. Zion National Park, which isn’t far away, get’s a lot of attention, but Snow Canyon State Park shouldn’t be overlooked! It is definitely worth your time to see.

Color

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Last Light On The Cliffs – Snow Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Cliff Hanger – Snow Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Petrified Sand Dune – Snow Canyon, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Overcoming Adversity – Snow Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Crevasse Tree in Color – Snow Canyon SP, UT – Fuji X-T20

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Autumn Tree – Snow Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Autumn Tree In Snow Canyon – Snow Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Exploring Kids – Snow Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Moon Over The Rocky Ridge – Snow Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

B&W:

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Rock Hills – Snow Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Monochrome Moon, Snow Canyon – Snow Canyon, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Using A Phone Because I Had Her Camera – Snow Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Small Arch In Monochrome – Snow Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Wood In The Sand – Snow Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Window Rock Joy – Snow Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Alone At The Top – Snow Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Monochrome Moonrise – Snow Canyon SP, UT – Fuji X-T20

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Photoessay: Along The Highway, Part 7: Wyoming

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Highway Colonel – Rock Springs, WY – Fujifilm X100F – I-80

Colorado  New Mexico  West Texas  East Texas  Oklahoma (Color)  Oklahoma (B&W)

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.

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Small Pet Area – Fort Bridger, WY – Fujifilm X100F – I-80

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Lowering Sun On A Travel Day – Fort Bridger, WY – Fujifilm X100F – I-80

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A Trucker’s Life Is Lonely – Fort Bridger, WY – Fujifilm X100F – I-80

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Text Await – Fort Bridger, WY – Fujifilm X100F – I-80

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Waving Above The Structure – Fort Bridger, WY – Fujifilm X100F – I-80

Photoessay: Along The Highway, Part 6 – Oklahoma in Monochrome

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Stu – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

Colorado  New Mexico  West Texas  East Texas  Oklahoma (Color)  Wyoming

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.

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Double Flag – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Kitchen Window – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Bakery – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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County Courthouse – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Broken Glass Through The Glass – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Industrial Brick – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Industrial Design – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Star – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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The Other Mother – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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The Merc – Pawhuska, OK – X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Mercantile – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100F – US HWY 60

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Cafe Flowers – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100F – US HWY 60

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Wet Tables – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100F – US HWY 60

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Unlikely – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Pawhuska Rain – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100F – US HWY 60

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Osage County – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100F – OK HWY 99

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Thunder Sky – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X100F – OK HWY 99

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Rural Cows – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Horse Gate – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Two Horses In The Grass – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Rural Mail – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

Photoessay: Along The Highway, Part 5 – Oklahoma in Color

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Small Green Hill – McAlester, OK – Fuji X-Pro2 & 60mm – Indian Nation TPKE / US HWY 69

Colorado  New Mexico  West Texas  East Texas  Oklahoma In B&W  Wyoming

When we were planning our summer road trip, the one state that I was least interested in was Oklahoma. I’d been to Oklahoma a couple times, and nothing I saw was particularly memorable. But I had never traveled through the eastern part of the state, which is where my family and I drove through, and I was quite impressed with what I saw. Oklahoma blew my expectations out of the water!

I captured a whole lot of photographs while there, mostly in and around the town of Pawhuska. We stayed the night there, so the images were taken over a span of two days. I used my Fujifilm X-Pro2 for the color pictures, utilizing my Kodachrome II film simulation recipe. If Pawhuska sound familiar to you, it’s because Ree Drummond (“The Pioneer Woman”) lives there. She has a gift store and restaurant in the town. The best food we ate on the entire trip was in Pawhuska, hands down!

We drove down many miles of rural highways in Oklahoma, and saw some surprisingly beautiful scenery along the way. We passed through several quaint towns and experienced firsthand some great hospitality. I hope to one day return, but I’m grateful for the time I spent there, even if it was short.

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Foal Shy – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Drummond Ranch – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Open Window Reflection – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Buckin’ Flamingo – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Locked Door – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Oklahoma Flag – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Brick – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Window Grill – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Pawhuska Reflection – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Contemplation – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Paint Ladder – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Backwards Gear – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Window Seat – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 60

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Rural Sunset – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – OK HWY 99

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Sunset Through The Branches – Pawhuska, OK – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – OK HWY 99

Great Sand Dunes National Park, Colorado – Part 2: Color

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Sangre de Cristo & Sand Dunes – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

Part 1 – Monochrome

The Great Sand Dunes National Park lends itself well to black-and-white photography because of the highlight-and-shadow play that is so prevalent, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good place for color pictures. While I definitely came away with more monochrome images, a couple of my favorite pictures are in color. I imagine that autumn would be especially nice for color photography at this location, and perhaps late-spring or early summer when there is an abundance of fresh green. Late summer features a lot of brown, tan, and yellow, which can still be alright.

All of the photographs in this article are straight-out-of-camera JPEGs captured using my Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a Fujinon 60mm f/2.4 Macro lens attached to the front. I used my Kodachrome II film simulation recipe for most of them. Enjoy!

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Sand Beneath The Peak – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Adversity Alone – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Long Walk Back – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Sand In My Boot – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Approaching The Dunes – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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From Dust To Dust – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Sandal – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

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Torrid Terrain – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO

Photoessay: Along The Highway, Part 4 – East Texas

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Grain Hoppers – Westlake, TX – Fujifilm X100F – US HWY 377

Colorado  New Mexico  West Texas  Oklahoma (Color)  Oklahoma (B&W)  Wyoming

Visiting east Texas was in a way a homecoming for me–well, sort of, anyway. I lived in the Dallas area for a few years as a teenager. I lived in Houston for one year awhile back, as well. I have family on the right side of the state, and I’ve journeyed to see them many times over the years. It’s in east Texas that I first learned to be a photographer. I’m familiar with the region, to say the least.

This trip was about spending time with family. It was about being with people that I don’t see often enough. Photography was secondary, although I did find plenty of time for capturing images. By a large margin I spent more time in east Texas than anywhere else on this road trip, yet this part of the series seems short on pictures.

The highways that I traversed in east Texas were often wide and new. They connected cities and large towns. Sure, there were plenty of rural segments, but I saw a lot of suburban landscapes. There’s a lot more sprawl than I remember, and it served as a reminder that it had been too long since I last visited the place, and I need to return more frequently.

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Storm Shelter – McKinney, TX – Fujifilm X100F – US HWY 380

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Two Towers – Dallas, TX – Fujifilm X100F – TX HWY 366

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Walk This Way – Princeton, TX – Fujifilm X100F – US HWY 380

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A Little Birdie Told Me About The Brew – Westlake, TX – Fuji X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 377

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Trash Pallet – McKinney, TX – Fujifilm X100F – US HWY 380

Photoessay: Along The Highway, Part 2 -New Mexico

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McTaos – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – NM HWY 68

Colorado  West Texas  East Texas  Oklahoma In Color  Oklahoma In B&W  Wyoming

The highways of New Mexico took me through some incredibly beautiful areas! I was surprised at just how interesting the northern part of the state is. Unfortunately, we were on a time schedule and had to view much of it from the car window. We did stop in Taos to see the famous Pueblo. This area was an early stomping ground for Ansel Adams, and it was a thrill to see it for myself. The Taos Pueblo is not located directly off of any highway so the pictures don’t meet the qualifications for this article, but I will get around to sharing them in a separate post. Santa Fe was also interesting, but I discovered that the photographs captured there were also not along any highway.

The east side of the state is the least scenic, as this is where the Great Plains begin (and, as my kids would say, “I can see why they call this area ‘plain.'”) Still, a gas stop near Santa Rosa provided an opportunity for photography, and even an unassuming spot in a mundane landscape can prove to be photogenic if one keeps their eyes open.

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Once Becomes Obsolete – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – NM HWY 68

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Warrior – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – NM HWY 68

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Empty Table – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X100F – I-40

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Air1 – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X100F – I-40

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Semi & Dinosaur – Santa Rosa, NM – Fujifilm X100F – I-40

Photoessay: Along The Highway, Part 1 – Colorado

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Uncertain – Delta, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 50

My wife and I, along with our four children, took a road trip across several states over the course of 16 days, and we returned about a week-and-a-half ago. It was, at times, especially epic, and we saw some amazing places. I, of course, captured the whole thing using my Fujifilm X series cameras.

Upon returning, one of the first things I did was review the images that I had captured. I noticed that there were a lot of pictures of things I saw along our highways. Oftentimes when we stopped for gas or to eat, I’d capture some images of what was around. I had many photographs of different sights that were found along the highway. Some were immediately off the highway, while others were perhaps a half-block away from the highway. I felt that, as long as the highway was clearly visible from where I captured the photograph, it was alright to include it in this series.

I decided to break this Photoessay, called Along The Highway, into several segments organized by states. The first part, which are viewing now, is Colorado. These are the pictures that I captured while traversing along the highways in that state.

The highways in Colorado were open and oftentimes lonely. That is, outside of the city limits, as we sat in bumper-to-bumper traffic in Denver at one point. Sometimes towns were far apart and it seemed like we were far outside of civilization. We crossed mountain passes and saw some amazing scenery! Many of the towns we drove through had quite obviously seen better days, and they sharply contrasted the natural wonder that was never far away. It was almost as if these communities were not supposed to be there, that they were holding on with their last inner strength against an unseen force to rid them from this place. Either that, or the residents lost sight of the wonder around them, and neglected to maintain what those who came before had begun. This is not unique to Colorado, but a phenomenon seen throughout the west. It was simply more obvious this trip. It was, at times, depressing. But the highway compelled us on.

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Discovered Truck – Fruita, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – I-70

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Fresh Wind – Fruita, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 – I-70

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Warehouse Sunset – Montrose, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US Hwy 50

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Campground – Montrose, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US Hwy 50

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85 Pounds – Montrose, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 50

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Tough Times – Gunnison, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 50

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Safe – Gunnison, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 50

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Regular Sign – Gunnison, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – CO Hwy 135

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Continental Ride – Monarch Pass, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US HWY 50

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Motorcycle Mart – Burlington, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – I-70

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County Road V – Burlington, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – I-70

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Old Truck & Mt. Lindsey – Fort Garland, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US Hwy 160

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Monarch Pass – Monarch Pass, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – US Hwy 50

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Storm Over San Luis Valley – Alamosa, CO – Fujfilm X-Pro2 & 60mm – CO HWY 150

New Mexico  West Texas  East Texas  Oklahoma (Color)  Oklahoma (B&W)  Wyoming

Road Trip: Black Hills, South Dakota – Days 5 & 6

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East North East – Lusk, WY – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

Days 1 & 2  Day 3 – Part 1  Day 3 – Part 2  Day 4 – Part 1  Day 4 – Part 2

The final two days of the road trip to South Dakota involved packing up the trailer and driving home. It was stormy and at times the wind was blowing hard, which meant a lot of white knuckles as I tried to stay on the road. Needles to say, I didn’t capture a whole lot of photographs! I did manage to get a little photography in here and there, which are the pictures you see here.

The Black Hills turned out to be more beautiful and interesting than I had imagined. I felt like I could have stayed several days longer to really experience the place. While Mount Rushmore was a slight let-down, the rest exceeded all expectations. If you’ve never been you’ll have to be sure to someday go.

You might have noticed that I didn’t capture a single photograph using my Fujifilm X100F. All of the photographs in this series were captured using my X-Pro2 (unedited camera-made JPEGs, by the way). The reason for this is that my wife was using the X100F on this trip. Now she has her own camera, an X-T20, so I have my X100F back.

You may have also noticed that I used the Meike 35mm f/1.7 lens a lot on this trip. I learned photography with a nifty-fifty, and for a long time that’s all I had. So having a 50mm (equivalent) focal length lens was a nice change of pace, and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience. The Meike lens, while far from perfect, is well worth the small price it goes for.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this series. I know that viewing other people’s photographs of someplace is never the same as going yourself and creating your own images. But I hope that this inspires you to get out on your own road trip, camera in hand, to see the wonderful world that’s around you.

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Wyoming Thunderstorm – Orin, WY – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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On Track To Rain – Orin, WY – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Storm Over Orin – Orin, WY – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Unleaded Sky – Orin, WY – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Fingernail Moon – Alcova, WY – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Always Moving Ahead – Rawlins, WY – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Trucks, Stopped – Rawlins, WY – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

 

 

Road Trip: Black Hills, South Dakota – Day 4, Part 2

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Paddling Sylvan Lake – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

Days 1 & 2  Day 3 – Part 1  Day 3 – Part 2  Day 4 – Part 1

After my adventurous morning in Custer State Park, I returned back to the campsite as everyone else was waking up. Once breakfast was finished we drove a short distance to Hill City to visit the small railroad museum and watch the steam train arrive (which we almost missed because we were in the museum). Afterwards we had lunch and then returned to camp.

The afternoon was kept low-key. In the early evening we returned to Sylvan Lake to catch some fish. My eight-year-old son, Jonathan, was eager to attempt fishing in South Dakota. Unfortunately, the kids didn’t catch anything, although we could see the fish jumping all over the place. Still, we had a great time and Sylvan Lake is incredibly beautiful.

That night, after everyone was asleep, my wife and I did some astrophotography (my mother-in-law and sister-in-law were camping with us and stayed behind with the kids). We drove up the Needles Highway to Needles Eye, set the camera up on a tripod, and did some long exposures. It was extremely dark and a little creepy, as we heard plenty of noises around us–that area is full of wildlife. The night sky was full of stars and simply breathtaking. Unfortunately, the cloud-like Milky Way wasn’t visible, and I knew it wasn’t going to be because I had done some research before the trip, but I still wanted to get some nighttime photography in.

I used a Fujifilm X-Pro2 for these photographs, which are all camera-made JPEGs using the different film simulations. I attached a Meike 35mm f/1.7 lens and a Fujinon 16mm f/1.4 lens to the camera. Enjoy!

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Semaphore – Hill City, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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1880 – Hill City, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Telegraph Office – Hill City, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Tall Train Tales – Hill City, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Hartmann – Hill City, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Wood Cart – Hill City, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Save Money – Hill City, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Caboose Roof – Hill City, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Amanda, Looking Through The Lens – Hill City, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Boy With A Fishing Pole – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Preparing To Cast – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Fishing With A Worm – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Fishing Can Be Gross – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Line In The Water – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Joshua Fishing At Sylvan Lake – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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The Cast – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Impatiently Waiting – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Casting The Line – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Johanna Watching From Her Stroller – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Rocks & Trees, Sylvan Lake – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Sylvan Lake In May – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Wood & Stone – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Sylvan Lake Reflection – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

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Stars & Stones – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Stars Over Stones – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Needles Eye Night – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

Days 5 & 6