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

50081372262_784e942bdc_c

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.

50079556031_e689c02ab3_c

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.

50081119946_b06f04657b_c

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

50080545178_18258a709b_c

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

50081409057_ff3fe69252_c

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

50081076596_b205427850_c

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

50080544093_3d3c8ca405_c

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

50080546313_639d61a705_c

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

50080542603_fe57816d13_c

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

50080498583_8ccbca7ed2_c

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

50081324107_880c78011d_c

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

50081076386_71743fb2f1_c

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

50079919082_dea96b684f_c

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

50079919702_f984167ab9_c

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

50079185926_3330cbc0b4_c

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

50076368368_0261336878_c

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

50078627868_265b5fc2e3_c

Poolside – Red Rock Lakes NWR, MT – Fujifilm X100V

50079647636_a3e9d81a31_c

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

50079644571_1085ec970b_c

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

50079075158_00fdc80bcc_c

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

50079810357_feaf3d765c_c

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

50076369008_2c5d7f2d4d_c

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

50079645231_836a55281d_c

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

50078988588_c661e2ea20_c

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

50077389573_63d0b9b302_c

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

Part 4 coming soon!

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

50083459853_cd2e2a8104_c-1

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.

50083466758_52624fe91c_c-1

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

50083459863_18b4724269_c

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

50083460303_247a2c1244_c

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.

50075769231_507a07152f_c

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

50075728396_e737488b72_c

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

50075156628_d9489b85de_c

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

50075156343_98752c223e_c

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

Part 3

Traveling With Fujifilm, Part 1: Introduction

50070251811_92d3aa3408_c

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.

50070505582_cbedc159cd_c

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.

50076050382_37e0aa651d_c

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

Out of Office

50089411922_d13b850e5e_c

I have to apologize. Many people have commented on this blog, and many people have emailed me, but I haven’t answered those messages yet. I’m sorry for not getting back to you in a timely manor, but I will get back to you eventually. I promise!

Why the delay? I’m on vacation. I’m traveling. I’m camping. The picture above, which was captured with my Fujifilm X100V, is my current view. It is stunning! Any guess where I am? I’ve been keeping quite busy, but also WiFi and cell coverage has been spotty at best, so please be patient and understanding. This is, I suppose, my out-of-office auto-reply.

I’ll be back home soon, and I’ll be able to resume “normal operations” at that time. I have many articles to write, including sharing my vacation pictures, and a new film simulation recipe that I created. Be patient, good things are coming!

Video: Monument Valley with Fuji X Weekly (500th Post!)

Follow along with me as I photograph Monument Valley! The video above, Monument Valley with Fuji X Weekly, is a behind-the-scenes look at my photographic adventure to the incredible desert formations of southern Utah and northern Arizona on the Navajo Nation. It was a thrill to experience Monument Valley. It really is an amazing place!

This was my last trip before the worldwide pandemic shut down all of my travel plans. So far I’ve had to cancel two trips, and there’s likely one or two more that won’t happen. I hope that this video will bring you some joy. I hope that it reminds you of some recent travels that you’ve done. I hope that it inspires you to dream of where you’ll go and what you’ll photograph when you can once again go places.

My wife, Amanda, and I created this video. Actually, she did the majority of the work. Amanda recorded the clips. She did all of the editing. She coached me through the narration. I have a face for radio and a voice for print, yet somehow she made the video look great! Her vision, her storytelling, and her talents are what made this happen. Thank you, Amanda!

49594236643_7a0a29afe3_c

Evening at Monument Valley – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm

The photographs in the video were captured using a Fujifilm X-T30 and X-T1. I used four different lenses: a Fujinon 100-400mm, Fujinon 90mm f/2, Fujinon 35mm f/2 and Rokinon 12mm f/2. Amanda recorded the video using a Fujifilm X-T20 with a 16-50mm lens and a GoPro Hero 8 Black. The film simulation recipes used on the X-T30 were Velvia, Kodachrome 64, Analog Color, Dramatic Monochrome and Agfa Scala, and Velvia and Monochrome were used on the X-T1. Amanda used PRO Neg. Hi on the X-T20.

This article marks a significant milestone that I wanted to point out to you. This is the 500th post on Fuji X Weekly! Many blogs never make it to 500 posts, either because they publish too infrequently or they simply give up before it’s reached. What it means for you is that there’s a lot of content on this blog! If you haven’t been following Fuji X Weekly since the beginning, there are a ton of articles that you might have missed. There are perhaps many posts that could be helpful to you and your photography that you’ve never seen. I invite you to explore the older articles. The best way to do this is click the four lines on the top-right of this page, and either search a topic or browse the archive. Anyway, thank you for being a part of Fuji X Weekly! Without you, the 500 Posts milestone would not have been reached. You are appreciated!

Be sure to follow Fuji X Weekly, so that you don’t miss anything! I invite you to follow the Fuji X Weekly YouTube channel, as well. If you liked the Monument Valley video, I invite you to give it a thumbs-up, comment and share!

See also: Monument Valley – A Monumental Landscape

Fujifilm X100F Review Blog

Help Fuji X Weekly

Nobody pays me to write the content found on fujixweekly.com. There's a real cost to operating and maintaining this site, not to mention all the time that I pour into it. If you appreciated this article, please consider making a one-time gift contribution. Thank you!

$2.00

5 Tips For Photographing Grand Teton National Park (Without Going Inside The Park)

John Moulton Barn Grand Teton National Park

Barn by the Tetons – Grand Teton NP, WY – Fujifilm X-E1

The Grand Teton National Park in western Wyoming is incredibly beautiful! It’s one of my favorite places. Once you’ve been, you’ll want to return again and again. There’s a magical quality to it, similar to that first view of the Grand Canyon or a misty morning in Yosemite Valley. If you’ve never visited the range, it should be high on your bucket list of places to see! The Grand Tetons are a landscape photographer’s playground, and you definitely need to visit with a camera in hand.

Many people who see the Grand Tetons do so from their car. U.S. Highway 191 runs north and south just east of the mountain, offering spectacular sights the whole length. There are so many amazing views of the range that don’t require an entrance into the park. Yellowstone National Park, which is a little north of the Grand Tetons, is the more popular park of the two, and Jackson Hole has itself become a destination, so a lot of people only see the Teton Range as they travel between the two places. While taking time to go inside the Grand Teton National Park is certainly a worthwhile endeavor, it’s definitely possible to experience exquisite views from outside the gate. Going inside the national park isn’t required for a memorable Teton visit. Below are five tips for photographing the Grand Tetons from outside the park entrance.

The Off Season Is The Best Season

33825627694_b3d4fd1b75_c

Tetons From Mormon Row – Grand Teton NP, WY – Fujifilm X-E1

34668071686_d6c9419bfa_c

Avalanche Canyon – Grand Teton NP, WY – Fujifilm X-E1

The Grand Teton National Park can get very crowded. Even though it plays second fiddle to nearby Yellowstone, it still sees a ton of visitors from across the world, especially in the summer months. The winter months are harsh yet could provide some amazing photographic opportunities for those willing to brave the elements, but that’s not when I’d recommend visiting. There are a couple of small windows that are better suited for travel to the Grand Tetons.

The month of May is an excellent time, as the crowds are low since school is still in for many people, and the weather is usually decent enough. The earlier in the month you go, the smaller the crowds will be, but the temperatures will be colder and it still might feel like winter. Mid-May is the sweet spot. Mid-September to mid-October is another excellent time, as most children have returned to school, and the weather is still decent enough. The earlier you go the better the weather, but the larger the crowds will be. Late September is another sweet spot for visiting Grand Teton National Park. If the forecast is for clouds and cold temperatures, it could provide a dramatic environment for your pictures, so it might be preferable over endless sunshine, but be prepared for the conditions.

Early Morning Is Magical

34574981691_a2a398060e_c

Mountain & Clouds – Grand Teton NP, WY – Fujifilm X-E1

34574986971_a879cde220_c

Sliver of Illumination – Grand Teton NP, WY – Fujifilm X-E1

While sunset can be a spectacular time to photograph the Grand Tetons, nothing beats sunrise. Since the highway runs on the east side of the range, the sunrise light is often better for photographing the mountains. The early morning “golden hour” is a time that you don’t want to miss. Be sure to arrive well before the official sunrise because the peaks will illuminate before the valley. If you can only be there for either sunrise or sunset (and not both), make sure that it’s sunrise. It’s worth getting up while it’s still dark outside to catch the early morning light on the Teton Range.

Because the sunrise will light the tips of the peaks first, it’s a good plan to begin the day with a telephoto lens. Once more of the landscape has daylight, you can switch to a wide-angle lens if you’d like. The Grand Tetons are a place where you’ll want the option for both telephoto and wide-angle focal lengths, and you’ll probably switch between both frequently.

Mormon Row Is Historic

33858238663_004f720515_c

Mountain & Mormon How – Grand Teton NP, WY – Fujifilm X-E1

33825623454_014889e3bd_c

Barn In The Mountains – Grand Teton NP, WY – Fujifilm X-E1

If you are starting off your photographic journey in the early morning, make the Mormon Row Historic District your first stop. It’s located just north of the Grand Teton National Park entrance on the east side of the highway. The old houses and barns are found about a mile down Antelope Flats Road. The John Moulton Barn is probably the most famous of the historic structures, and surely you’ve seen pictures of it, but there are other buildings that are equally picturesque. Mormon Row is one of the most famous spots at the Grand Tetons for photography, so even during the off season you’re likely to find a crowd with cameras at this place.

Besides the historic buildings, this is a location where you might spot bison, as buffalo commonly graze in the area. You might also see deer or even moose. Always be vigilant around wildlife and keep a safe distance. While the animals are fairly used to crowds of people, they can still be quite dangerous, so don’t get too close.

Schwabacher Landing Is Unbelievable

35575753602_82bbeb7f3e_c

Tetons From Schwabacher Landing – Grand Teton NP, WY – Fujifilm X-E1

35704436396_1587ac451a_c

Schwabacher Landing Beaver Dam – Grand Teton NP, WY – Fujifilm X-E1

After you are done photographing the barns at Mormon Row, head further north up the highway to Schwabacher Landing. There’s a little road on the west side of the highway that takes you down close to the river, which is calm and reflective thanks to a bunch of beaver dams. Honestly, this place is magical! It can feel unreal. It’s my favorite place at the Grand Tetons, so be sure to stop here.

If there’s a place that you’ll want to use a tripod and really take your time, this is it. Walk around the trails a little. Soak in the scene. Enjoy the incredible nature that’s around you. Don’t be in a hurry to head down the road. Be in the moment, because the moment is amazing. If you are visiting during the off season, there’s a good chance you’ll have the place to yourself. Don’t miss Schwabacher Landing because it’s unbelievably beautiful!

Snake River Overlook Is Iconic

34190840780_642ff55cfc_c

Snake River Fog – Grand Teton NP, WY – Fujifilm X-E1

34525522646_a62352e44b_c

The Tetons and the Snake River, 2017 – Grand Teton NP, WY – Fujifilm X-E1

About 21 miles north of Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is the Snake River Overlook, which is a pullout on the west side of Highway 191. There are a bunch of scenic pullouts along the highway that offer stunning views of the Grand Tetons, but this one is special because Ansel Adams captured one of his most iconic pictures at this spot. What makes it especially great is that you can capture the Snake River winding in front of the incredible mountain range. This is a good place to finish the morning, and, if you can, return for sunset.

As a photographer who has studied Ansel Adams’ work, who has been inspired and influenced by his pictures, there’s something prodigious about being in the exact spot where he captured one of his famous pictures. It’s walking in the footsteps of greatness. It seems particularly appropriate, when you visit the Teton Range, to pay homage to Adams by making your own photographs at the Snake River Overlook.

See also: 5 Tips To Become A Better Photographer

Photoessay: Passing Through Nevada, Part 2: Monochrome

49124849758_e92d3807fc_c

Terrible Ford – Boulder City, NV – Fujifilm X-T30

Part 1: Color

I’ve passed through Nevada many times, often only stopping for gas or lunch. It never seems to be my destination. I’m headed somewhere else, and I have to go through the Silver State to get to where I’m going. While I have stayed longer than a few hours, most of the time I’m through Nevada so quickly that it’s easy to forget that I was ever there. The photographs in this article were captured during those times where I just passed through, and didn’t stay. In fact, many of them were captured from inside my car. I hope that you enjoy this set!

47786050192_a369850bf2_c

Plaza Hound – Las Vegas, NV – Fujifilm X-T30

38883995295_6295bddc2b_c

I-15 Overpass – Las Vegas, NV – Fujifilm X100F

49098722947_8b2ce1105e_c

Chance of Rain – Las Vegas, NV – Fujifilm X-T30

49098529026_2e4d01f9b2_c

Abstract Roof Lines – Las Vegas, NV – Fujifilm X-T30

47048632984_f71b63e37c_c

Empty Hoppers – Las Vegas, NV – Fujifilm X-T30

24675140047_919b979cc0_c

Palm Shadow – Las Vegas, NV – Fujifilm X100F

See also: November Arizona

Photoessay: An Arizona Spring in Color

32889932427_5d719bd152_c

Colorful Cactus Blooms – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

When most people think of Arizona, they picture dry dusty deserts and sprawling cities. It’s hot. It’s brown. It’s inhospitable. There are endless rows of look-alike stucco homes. Many people might be unaware that the desert bursts with color in the spring. Arizona isn’t just brown, there are vibrant greens, blues, reds, yellows, purples and other colors, especially in the spring, which is my favorite season in the state.

Arizona isn’t all desert, either. While it may be best known for the Grand Canyon, you might be surprised to learn that the largest ponderosa pine forest in the world is in Arizona. There are tall mountains and even winter skiing. The state is full of surprises. It’s one reason why I love Arizona and appreciate visiting whenever I can.

47064011734_d64f6f7680_c

Yellow Palo Verde – Black Canyon, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

I used to live in Arizona. Back when I was barely an adult, the Air Force sent me to live in Arizona. I met my wife there. My first two kids were born there. I have a deep fondness for the state. I would love to live there again someday. It’s a wonderful place for photography. I highly recommend grabbing a subscription to Arizona Highways magazine to see many wonderful pictures of the state. A fact that you might be surprised to learn is that Ansel Adams was frequently published in that magazine back in the day. Many great photographers were, and still are.

The photographs in this article were captured a few weeks ago. I used my Fujifilm X-T30 camera with a Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens and a Fujinon 90mm f/2 lens, which are both excellent examples of Fujifilm’s great glass that they’ve become renown for. I hope that you enjoy this variety of photographs that demonstrate there’s more color in Arizona than one might initially think.

33975164958_c9973da1a6_c

Pine In The Sky – Flagstaff, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

47777449062_668fbc8640_c

Green Leaves – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

46913842705_a98d090bc7_c

Agave Green – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

47838198801_5dab91e4ac_c

Cactus & Blue Sky – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

47838198651_1bee626221_c

Palo Verde In The Windy Blue – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

47048620394_81be39c763_c

Palm – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

46921792425_8788fc473b_c

Vultures In A Tree – Wickenburg, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

33956349698_247877b26c_c

Wildflowers & Stone – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

47853197741_5af40d1939_c

Impatient? Stop & Smell – Sedona, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

47786022482_47cb699edd_c

Yellow Rose of Arizona – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

33960767968_e5bb33a5d8_c

Little Bloom Design – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

47833311401_2e4b763e2f_c

Yellow Blossom Flowers – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

47048621904_b6100e5680_c

Splash of Red Among Green – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 90mm

47777678462_9e863f7b47_c

Bougainvillea Bloom – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

47044018154_d738767eb6_c

Bloom In The Rocks – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

47040513604_470b758cd7_c

Blooming Cactus Landscape – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

47777687312_f0c6cd600d_c

Red Prickly Pears – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

47777559562_02dfe04c66_c

Beginning To Blossom Red – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

47044271894_e67f91df84_c

Desert Landscape – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

47777892532_4eb7742d1a_c

Spring Saguaro – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

47777890652_73fa857bc3_c

Yucca Bloom – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

46913932695_b30a6ff276_c

Cactus Blooming Red – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

47777879672_5a473fa378_c

Red Ball Fruit – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

46913525495_7be04d6a88_c

Barrel Cactus – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

40867234393_b917476580_c

Cactiscape – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

46913525975_0c8eea440f_c

Prickled – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

47064012004_a6ed1af97a_c

Pops of Yellow – Black Canyon, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

46937169175_47f55d760c_c

Yellow Desert – Black Canyon, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

47777887082_d31e5e386f_c

One Barrel Cactus Bloom – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

47040591314_8525c35102_c

Red Spiky Blooms – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

32886313017_bd5f6093d1_c

Red & Purple Desert Blossoms – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

Travel: Zion National Park in Autumn

45270373434_b84ec46c7a_z

Virgin River From Canyon Junction Bridge – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

Zion National Park was the third most visited National Park in America in 2017, right behind the Grand Canyon. Utah has five National Parks–only Alaska and California have more–and of the five Zion is by far the most popular, with Arches National Park a distant second. It’s no surprise that Zion is usually quite crowded. I was surprised at just how packed it was when I visited in the middle of the week in the middle of November. Isn’t this supposed to be the off-season when fewer people are there?

I arrived with my family in the morning about an hour after sunrise. We waited in a somewhat short line to get into Zion. Once inside we found the parking lot at the visitor’s center to be completely full, with a number of cars circling hoping that somebody would leave. We decided that we’d explore what we could of the park by automobile and hope that the parking situation would be better a little later.

This was our first time to Zion National Park and we really didn’t know what to expect. We didn’t anticipate the gobs of people and we didn’t expect that there’s not much one can see of the park from the car. There is the Zion-Mount Carmel Tunnel, which is over one mile long, and a few pullouts along the road that were packed full of cars (I illegally parked to get the photo at the top of this article). There are some things that can be seen and experienced from behind the wheel, but most of the park is accessible only by the park’s bus system or by foot. Once we figured this out we put a more serious effort into finding a place inside Zion to park the car. Unfortunately, parking was still scarce and we were lucky to find a spot in an overflow lot that required a small hike to the nearest bus stop; however, we soon discovered that we left the kid’s sweaters at the hotel and it hadn’t warmed up enough yet to be out without them.

44178790150_fd53369f95_z

Vista From Mount Carmel Tunnel – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

We left the park feeling a bit defeated and disappointed. We found a combination coffee shop and gift shop in Springdale, which is the small town right outside of the park entrance, and purchased some warmer clothes for the kids and the wife and I sipped on some coffee. We decided to park in town and take the free shuttle to the park. This turned out to be a much better way to get into Zion. The bus dropped us off right outside the park, and a quick walk across a short bridge brought us to Zion’s shuttle stop. Unfortunately, the line for Zion’s shuttle was about 400 people deep, but thankfully there were a lot of buses running and the line moved surprisingly quick.

The bus was completely packed. We rode it to the end, which is where the Riverside Walk trail is located. This trail is about two miles round trip and very easy, even for the kids. It’s also extraordinarily scenic! The draw to this place is quite apparent. It’s a landscape photographer’s playground. It was also packed with people and at times felt like we were strolling through New York City and not a canyon in southern Utah. Even so, we had a good time enjoying the amazing natural sights around us.

After our hike we got back on the bus, which we had to wait in a line for and was again filled to the brim. We had intended to stay in the park longer, but we dared not get off the bus at a different stop because we might not find seats on another bus. So our stay in Zion was short. There is no doubt that this park is one of the most beautiful, but it’s too crowded. Next time I will have to ensure that it’s a less busy time of the year for a visit. I hear the park is beautiful dusted with snow.

For these pictures I used a Fujifilm X100F, a Fujifilm XF10 and a Fujifilm X-T20 with an Asahi Auto-Takumar 55mm f/2.2 lens attached using an M42 adapter. The Asahi lens is fantastic, with just a little corner softness that improves as you stop down, and I paid only $30 for it (and it came with a camera). Despite the crowds, Zion is incredibly beautiful with photographic opportunities literally everywhere. I spent a partial day there and came away with these pictures. I felt like I left many great photographs behind. Zion National Park is a magical place for photography, but it’s not a very good place to find solitude, at least not when I was there.

B&W

45994297671_651c57230b_z

Virgin River Through Zion Canyon – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm XF10

32123270578_75675f93c3_z

Rocky River – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

31055545967_2918283cc6_z

Sun High Over The Canyon – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

31055546007_4baeb73a3d_z

Zion Canyon Sun – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

45945067442_06790b43ba_z

Sun Over Bridge Mountain – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

31055620057_648b4b0b9f_z

Amanda & Johanna Asleep – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm XF10

44178529030_4cb2f66258_z

Rock Wall – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

44178597510_7af5767e09_z

Trunks & Leaves – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

31055730057_be39a68f1f_z

Monochrome Vista From Mount Carmel Tunnel – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

Color

31055640317_0a79d8d94c_z

The Family, Zion Bridge In Autumn – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm XF10

31055374387_cc58604156_z

A Pine Among The Rocks – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

45270373384_343dc9e919_z

Mount Carmel Tunnel & Chevy – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

45994430421_d503c45449_z

Autumn River – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm XF10

31055639347_78ff220027_z

Virgin River In November – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm XF10

45270142614_6caaa97370_z

Strolling Through Zion Canyon – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm XF10

45082646385_424b3b2346_z

Rock Ledges – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

45994436821_9b51641da1_z

Yellow Tree Against Red Rock – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm XF10

32123654708_75bcccabe8_z

Yellow Trees Below Bridge Mountain – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

45082696865_7d2f8f2726_z

Rocks of Zion – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

44178791370_0defd0b8f8_z

Desert Juniper – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

45270217254_a171ecb153_z

Virgin River Through Zion – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm XF10

31055545037_61775288d0_z

Yellow Tree, Zion Canyon – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

45270022494_2003bc7ba8_z

Canyon Tree in Fall – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

45082697455_b07bf14869_z

Yellow Leaves in Zion – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

31055377547_151c05f5e1_z

Autumn Tree & Rock – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

31055500437_173540e9e3_z

Sunlight Through The Trees – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

45270024764_8a4fb02ed5_z

The Yellow of Autumn – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

45270123204_bd6241df98_z

Autumn Along The Virgin River – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm XF10

44178470480_0008df861b_z

River Along The Autumn Path – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm XF10

32123409398_d2a37f7cc7_z

Flowing Through Zion Canyon – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm XF10

45270024354_8fb36e18cc_z

River In The Canyon – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

45269985494_7caa7afa43_z

River & Canyon – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

31055377217_281490d676_z

Rushing Virgin River – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

45082700115_8bed7c7452_z

Vibrant Autumn Forest – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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

45060301945_54e433e5fe_z

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

44162426350_747edc7824_z

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

45922985222_8c980c492b_z

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

45254275454_6efd9fde4a_z

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

32107698658_b20591cffe_z

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

44155883880_33a150cfa9_z

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

32108302238_0f6d935c1d_z

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

32108301838_267032e4e5_z

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

45066441255_be3502ce2a_z

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

45979059021_fc43303d6f_z

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

B&W:

45066557915_2e88da83ff_z

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

31039616647_28ab6168d7_z

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

45254221364_ddcaa426d4_z

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

32107512278_1529844f7f_z

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

45066441785_7abbdf318e_z

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

45978300801_96c1612503_z

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

45254946164_5a47a2ec7a_z

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

45929931742_4e388c5af7_z

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