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!

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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

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!

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Monument Valley – A Monumental Landscape

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

I just got back from Monument Valley, which sits on the border between Arizona and Utah on Navajo land near Four Corners. Situated on the Colorado Plateau, Monument Valley features large rock formations and red desert sand. It’s a lonely place; there are only a few very small towns scattered nearby. Despite being in the middle of nowhere, it attracts many tourists from across the world. Monument Valley is the iconic American West landscape, and it is nothing short of stunning!

You’ve seen Monument Valley before, even if you didn’t know what you were looking at. Certainly you’ve seen pictures of it in calendars and magazines and on social media. Many different movies have had scenes filmed in Monument Valley. Forest Gump concluded his cross country run there. Marty McFly went back in time to the old west in Monument Valley. Clark Griswold drove his car off the road at this place. Many “westerns” were filmed in Monument Valley, including a few starring John Wayne. In many ways Monument Valley still looks and feels like the rugged and wild American West, so it’s easy to understand Hollywood’s draw to this location.

Monument Valley was on my photographic bucket list for a long time. I’ve wanted to visit and capture the iconic landscape for many years. I’d seen the black-and-white prints by Ansel Adams and the color pictures in Arizona Highways magazine that showcased this incredible landscape, which made me want to experience it for myself. I had to make my own images. I needed to get to Monument Valley. Honestly, though, I didn’t realize its exact location until recently. I knew it was in northern Arizona somewhere. Or maybe southern Utah. As it turns out, most of it is in far northeastern Arizona, and a little of it sits in far southeastern Utah, but all of it belongs to the Navajo Nation.

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Butte Between two Boulders – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

I was only able to stay in Monument Valley for one day. I had one day to capture the pictures that I wanted, or at least as many of them as I could. I planned the trip carefully, doing much research ahead of time so that I would know what to expect. It paid off because I believe I made the most of my short time there. I didn’t come away with every picture that I had hoped for, but I came away with a good group, and that means I had a good day. I’ll have to return, hopefully soon, for the rest.

Something that struck me about Monument Valley is how quiet and peaceful it was. You can set your own pace and take things slow. The wide open spaces allowed for moments of true serenity. You can find yourself alone. Monument Valley is sacred land to the Navajo, and you can feel that while there, permeating from the stone and sand. My visit was during the off season, and I’m sure the atmosphere during the summer months can be quite different.

All of the Navajo people that I met and spoke with were exceedingly friendly and helpful. They seemed quite proud of this place, eager to share its beauty with the world. One lady, who was selling jewelry along a dirt road, was happy to tell me about her favorite photograph, which had been on the cover of Arizona Highways, that featured a nearby tree, which has since died because it was struck by lightning. I felt like I was an invited guest, and the Navajo people were happy to have me there.

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Mitchell Mesa – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T1 & Fujinon 35mm

But I could sense another side. This is private land. Among the rock formations are little houses. There are ranches scattered throughout Monument Valley. Visitors are allowed in only very specific places, which are clearly marked, unless you have an official guide. At one stop I overheard a guide telling his group that he was not allowed to take people to one particular spot because the occupant of a nearby house “doesn’t like white people.” I can certainly understand that past hurts might still sting. The Navajo haven’t always been treated well by America. This is their home. This is their sacred land where their ancestors lived and died. They don’t have to allow anyone in. They could keep Monument Valley to themselves, and not welcome visitors. I’m sure there are some who would prefer that. I was a stranger in a strange land. I was the outsider. Gratefully, I was welcomed in and treated kindly.

From what I could tell from my short visit, the Navajo way of life is slower, simpler, quieter, and more free than my own. There are no Walmarts or McDonalds or Starbucks within 100 miles, probably further than that. I didn’t see any signs of commercialism and consumerism. I’m sure life in the dry desert can be difficult, but to the Navajo it is worth dealing with those difficulties in order to live life their way; to be who they are. Their culture is preserved by living out their traditions.

The photographs in this article were captured with a Fujifilm X-T30 and Fujifilm X-T1. The lenses I used were a Fujinon 35mm f/2Fujinon 100-400mm and Rokinon 12mm f/2. On the X-T30 I used my Velvia (except color +4), Kodachrome 64, Dramatic Monochrome and Agfa Scala film simulation recipes, and on the X-T1 I used Velvia and Monochrome. The challenge when visiting a place like Monument Valley is creating something unique when it’s been photographed from every angle imaginable. That’s an extraordinarily difficult task, but not completely impossible. While most of my pictures have been done before by others, I think a few of them are fairly unique; at least I’ve never seen one identical. I hope that you enjoy them!

B&W:

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Monument Valley – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

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Mittens in Monochrome – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T1 & Fujinon 35mm

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Mitchell Mesa in Monochrome – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

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Reflection on a Dirt Road – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

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Navajo Flag – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm

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Four Flags – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Shrub on the Edge of the Wash – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm

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Rocks & Mitten – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

Color:

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Forest Gump Was Here – Monument Valley, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Highway Through The Hole – Monument Valley, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 100-400mm

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Dying Tree in the Red Desert – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

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Yucca – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

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Red Ripples – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm

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Puddle In The Sand – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & 35mm

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Evening Mittens – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T1 & Fujinon 35mm

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Last Light on the Mittens – Monument Valley, AZ – Fujifilm X-T1 & Fujinon 35mm

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!

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Photoessay: Autumn 2019

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Mountain Autumn – Big Mountain Pass, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm

Fall might be my favorite season, but it’s always too short. Summer often overstays its welcome. Winter usually comes too quickly. Autumn gets squeezed in the middle. You have to be quick, because it’s fleeting. It comes and goes so quickly! If you don’t take time to see and experience it, you’ll flat out miss it, and you’ll have to wait another year for fall to return.

Autumn is the season of change. The weather changes. The colors of the leaves change. The food we eat and coffee we drink change (if you want them to). There’s beauty in change, and uncertainty. It ends cold and gloomy as winter budges in, but before it does autumn puts on a spectacular show. Autumn can be breathtakingly beautiful!

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Apple Harvest – Logan, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm

The photographs in this post were captured during the 2019 fall season. Many of them I’ve yet to share on the Fuji X Weekly blog, but you’ve probably seen a few of them in other articles. Some of the pictures are from early autumn when the weather was still warm and the leaves only beginning to change colors. Others are from late fall when the temperatures dipped cold and the scene turned drab. Still others were captured during the height of vibrant colors, which unfortunately didn’t last very long, yet long enough for me to get a few exposures made.

I used a Fujifilm X-T30, which is a great all-around camera, for all of these pictures. A number of different lenses were attached to it, depending on the image. I used a Fujinon 35mm, a Fujinon 90mm, a Fujinon 50-230mm, a Rokinon 12mm, an Industar 69, and an Asahi Super-Takumar 135mm. There’s a number of different film simulation recipes that I used, including Velvia, Kodacolor, Eterna, “Classic Negative” and possibly another one, I’m not certain. I hope that you enjoy!

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Leaves of Autumn – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Bent Trunk – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Icy Leaf – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Industar 69

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Changing Nature – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Tree Star – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm

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Autumn Sun At Ogden Station – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Rokinon 12mm

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Drab Autumn Drive – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Flowing Creek – Bountiful, Utah – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Flowing Fall – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 135mm

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Gradations of Color – Big Mountain Pass, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm

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Change Begins – Big Mountain Pass, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm

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Winter Kissed Autumn – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 50-230mm

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Mountainside Autumn – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 50-230mm

See also:
5 Tips For Fall Foliage Photography
Zion In Autumn

The Diversity of Utah Landscapes in Color, Part 3: Trees

Part 1 – Water  Part 2 – Flowers  

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.

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Timpanogos September – American Fork Canyon, UT – Fujifilm X100F 9/29/2017

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Autumn Beginnings – Ogden Canyon, UT – Fujifilm X100F – 9/3/2018

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Autumn Forest Trail – Fruit Heights, UT – Fujifilm XF10 – 10/14/2018

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Red Leaves In The Forest – Wasatch Mountain SP, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 – 10/2/2018

Processed with RNI Films. Preset 'Fuji Provia 100F'

Vibrant Autumn Forest – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 – 11/20/2018

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Vibrant Forest – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm X100F – 10/13/2017

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Scattering of Red – Fruit Heights, UT – Fujifilm XF10 – 9/28/2018

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Winter Forest Impression – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 – 12/27/2018

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Night At The Lake – Mirror Lake, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 – 8/6/2016

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Lake In The Uintas – Mirror Lake, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 – 9/4/2016

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Deadwood – Arches NP, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – 3/30/2019

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Green Tree on Red Cliff – Dead Horse Point SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – 3/31/2019

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Monte Cristo Snow – Monte Cristo, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 – 10/16/2016

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Winter Saturday Sun – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm XF10 – 2/16/2019

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Old Log In Kolob Canyon – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F – 10/27/2017

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Feeling Blue – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 – 2/28/2018

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Canyon Pinyon – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F – 2/28/2018

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It’s Not Easy Being Green – Dead Horse Point SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F – 3/1/2018

Processed with RNI Films. Preset 'Kodak E 100G'

Yellow Tree Against Red Rock – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm XF10 – 11/20/2018

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Sunlight Through The Forest – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm XF10 – 9/13/2018

The Diversity of Utah Landscapes in Color, Part 2: Flowers

Part 1 – Water  Part 3 – Trees

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.

Flowers:

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Vibrant Flowerbed – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – 4/29/2019

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Little Blooms, Big Blooms – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 – 4/18/2017

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Urban Flowers – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 – 4/18/2017

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Summer Sun Blossoms – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X100F – 7/10/2018

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At the Edge of the In-Between – South Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 – 5/28/2017

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Dark Rose Blossom – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – 6/13/2019

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Drops of Water on a Lily – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 – 7/2/2018

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Yellow Tipped Petal Bloom – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 – 6/22/2018

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Beeutiful – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 – 6/17/2018

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Purple Flower Petals – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 – 5/28/2017

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Purple Macro – Heber City, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 – 10/2/2018

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Bloom Purple – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – 6/1/2019

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Butterfly Bloom – Heber City, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 – 10/2/2018

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Red Tulip – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 – 5/4/2018

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Tulips – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 – 4/18/2017

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Tulip Bloom – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 – 4/18/2017

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Tulips by the Creek – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 – 4/18/2017

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Blossoms By The Pond – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 – 5/4/2018

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Flowers By The Stream – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 – 5/4/2018

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Field of Flowers – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – 4/29/2019

Stay tuned for Part 3!

The Diversity of Utah Landscapes in Color, Part 1: Water

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.

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Great Salt Lake Evening – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 – 12/26/2018

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Low Sun Over The Salt Lake – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 – 3/11/2019

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Afterglow – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 – 3/11/2019

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Blue Sunset – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – 6/25/2019

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Blue Umbrella At The Lake – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 – 8/2/2016

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Salt Lake Water – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – 6/25/2019

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East Canyon Reservoir – East Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – 6/13/2019

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Logs In A Pond – Wasatch-Cache NF, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 – 7/18/2018

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Waterfall Into The Ogden River – Ogden Canyon, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 – 7/1/2019

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White Duck – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 – 11/15/2018

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Kids At The Lake – East Canyon SP, UT – Fujifilm XF10 – 9/26/2018

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Virgin River From Canyon Junction – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F – 11/20/2018

Processed with RNI Films. Preset 'Agfa Optima 200 Faded'

River Through Zion – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm XF10 – 11/20/2018

Processed with RNI Films. Preset 'Kodak Ektar 100'

Autumn Along The Virgin River – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm XF10 – 11/20/2018

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Virgin River In November – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm XF10 – 11/20/2018

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Winter Pond & Tree Trunk – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm XF10 – 1/19/2019

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Flaming Gorge – Flaming Gorge, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 – 7/13/2017

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Mirrored Mountain – Mirror Lake, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 – 9/4/2016

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Sunset Kayak – Willard Bay SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 – 6/13/2017

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Clouds At Night – Bear Lake, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 – 9/17/2016

Part 2 – Flowers   Part 3 – Trees  

Antelope Island State Park In B&W

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Brush Strokes Over The Great Salt Lake – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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.

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Frary Fence – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Coming Storm – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3

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Island Beach View – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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White Rock Bay Vista – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3

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Bush In The Crag – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3

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Clouds Over The Great Salt Lake – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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White Rock Bay – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Land & Lake Layers – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Promontory Peninsula – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Sunlight Falling On The Salty Water – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Light Streaming Over Antelope Island – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Wasatch Mountains From The Causeway – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Frary Peak Reflected – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Deer Statue – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Old Salty Stump – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Frozen Stump – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Ice, Lake & Mountains – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Cracked Earth – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Buffalo Snow – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Bison In The Road – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Area Closed For Bison – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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One Buffalo – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-A3

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Pulling Hard – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Park Patrol – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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On The Fence – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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State Park Workday – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Waiting Game – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Leather Gloves – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Circle Hashtag – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Fielding Garr Ranch Fence – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Empty Marina – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Boys Playing In The Great Salt Lake – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Pollution – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

Photoessay: Cold Winter Daze

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Melting Ice – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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.

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Frozen Lake – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Winter Pond & Tree Trunk – Bountiful, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Winter Wasatch Homes – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Snow On Red – Spanish Fork Canyon, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Cold Horse Coat – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Equestrian Winter – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Red Tractor In Snow – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Snow Removal – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Too Cold For Basketball – South Weber, Ut – Fujifilm X-T20

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Sled In The Yard – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Cold Picnic – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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White Landscaping – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Winter Mountain Ridge – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Snow Blowing On The Ridge – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Cold White Mountain – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Backyard Snowfall – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Winter Forest – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Winter Stream – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Cold Hillside – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Buddhist Instagram – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Ice Cold Branches – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Evening Cold – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

House Underwater – Thistle, Utah

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House in a Frozen Pond – Thistle, UT – Fujifilm XF10

Thistle, Utah, is a strange place. It’s a little ghost town in Spanish Fork Canyon in the Wasatch Mountains. It was established in 1878 and was a railroad town, situated along the Rio Grande mainline. U.S. Route 6 and U.S. Route 89 intersected in Thistle. A lot of people and cargo passed through there, but the town never really became much of anything. At it’s peak in the 1920’s, the town had a population of just over 400 people.

I had heard of Thistle many years ago, because photographer Richard Steinheimer had captured two of his most well known pictures there. I had never visited it, nor did I have any idea of what it looked like, outside of a couple black-and-white prints captured in the 1950’s. It was a recent adventure that led me to stumble upon Thistle quite by accident. I passed through it not knowing what I was passing through, and stopped because I saw something interesting.

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Photo by Richard Steinheimer

Steinheimer, if he were still alive, would not recognize Thistle. Both highways have been rerouted and the tracks have been realigned. Even the Spanish Fork River isn’t entirely in the same place. The town is almost entirely gone, with the exception of a half-submerged house and some crumbling ruins that are barely hanging on. In 1983 there was a massive mudslide that demolished the little town of Thistle. It completely destroyed the area. At the time it was the costliest landslide in U.S. history.

The ruins of Thistle are easy to miss. On the west side of Route 89 are a couple crumbled buildings that almost blend into the landscape. On the east side of the highway is an old house that’s halfway deep in water, hidden behind some tall brush. I’m sure many people drive right through Thistle and don’t even realize it. There’s not much to see. There wasn’t much to see when the town was still a town, but there’s really not much left today.

I visited Thistle on a cold winter day, much like Steinheimer did back before my parents were even born. The location is beautiful, and the snow hides the tragic remains. I’m glad that fate took me to this cold and lonely place as I appreciate the adventure. Thistle will soon be completely gone and I’m thankful that I got to see it before then. Still, I don’t think I’ll be returning anytime soon.

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Ice Cold Home – Thistle, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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Defaced & Decaying – Thistle, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Hidden Hiemal Haggard Home – Thistle, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

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Old Frozen Home – Thistle, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

Travel: Zion National Park in Autumn

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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.

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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Color

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

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

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

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Autumn River – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm XF10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Desert Juniper – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photoessay: Antelope Island State Park Buffalo Corral

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Buffalo Corral – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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!

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White Rock Bay – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Park Patrol – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Time To Watch Buffalo – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Waiting For A Buffalo – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Buffalo Corral Workers – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Buffalo Head – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Cautious Buffalo – Antelope Island, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Running Bison Calf – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Roundup Downtime – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Rope On The Gate – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Leather Gloves – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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A Buffalo – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Workers Waiting – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Between Buffalo – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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On The Fence – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Utah Cowboys – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Park Ranger – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Bison Barriers – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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From The Holding Pen – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Mother & Calf – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Buffalo Track – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Three Bison – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Tractor Ride – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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State Park Workday – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujfilm X100F

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Circular Gate Operator – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Rope Preparation  – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Bison Spying – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Rope Pull – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Pulling Hard – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Rope Runner – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Waiting Games – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Waiting Buffalo – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Bison Skull – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Island Shore View – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

Mountain Hike – Maples Trail – Wasatch-Cache National Forest – Snowbasin

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Forest Trail Uncertain – Wasatch-Cache NF, UT – Fujifilm X100F

I recently took my kids on a mountain hike. One great thing about where I live is easy access to the mountains. We can see them prominently from our backyard, and it only takes a half-an-hour drive to be up in them. While my kids were eating breakfast I asked them what they wanted to do. One answered, “Go on a hike,” while another said, “Climb a mountain.” So, as soon as breakfast was over, we did.

We drove up to the Snowbasin Resort, a popular place to ski in the winter, and found the Maples Trail, which begins off a parking lot at Snowbasin. This is located in the Wasatch-Cache National Forest on the other side of the ridge from Ogden, Utah. The trail more-or-less follows Chicken Spring Creek and later Wheeler Creek. It’s a fairly wide path along much of it, and our three-wheeled stroller had no issues. We went only 30 minutes down and 30 minutes back, which was a good length considering it was a hot day and the four-year-old can only handle so much.

I used a Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a Fujinon 60mm macro lens and a Fujifilm X100F to capture the sights along the trail. Even though it is deep into summer, up on the mountain it seems more like late-spring, and there are lots of flowers in bloom. There were also lots of butterflies. A few of these pictures are straight-out-of-camera JPEGs, but most of them saw some post-production using the RNI Films app on my phone to give them more of an analog-film look.

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Forest Service Trail – Wasatch-Cache NF, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Logs In A Pond – Wasatch-Cache NF, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Dead Trees In The Water – Wasatch-Cache NF, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Dead Trees In A Pond – Wasatch-Cache NF, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Meadow Beyond The Trees – Wasatch-Cache NF, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Sunlight Through The Canopy – Wasatch-Cache NF, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Fallen On The Forest Floor – Wasatch-Cache NF, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Chicken Spring Creek – Wasatch-Cache NF, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Mountain Creek – Wasatch-Cache NF, UT – X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Creek Grass – Wasatch-Cache NF, UT – Fuji X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Still Springtime In The Mountains – Wasatch-Cache NF, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Butterfly Nectar – Wasatch-Cache NF, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Butterfly On Thistle Blossom – Wasatch-Cache NF, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Dandelion Macro – Wasatch-Cache NF, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Spider Web Leaves – Wasatch-Cache NF, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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White Tree Trunk – Wasatch-Cache NF, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

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Trees In The Wasatch – Wasatch-Cache NF, UT – Fujifilm X100F

Recent Salt Lake City Urban Photographs

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Urban Crescent – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

I was going over the photographs that I’ve captured lately but haven’t shared yet on Fuji X Weekly, trying to group them into categories, and I realized that I have a number of urban photographs captured in Salt Lake City, Utah. I live about 30 minutes outside of Salt Lake City in one of the suburbs, and occasionally find myself venturing into the urban landscape.

These photographs were captured using an X-Pro2, X100F and X-E1. I’ve previously shared some other photographs from these outings in different articles, but the specific images seen here have never before been included in any article on this blog. They are straight-out-of-camera JPEGs, with the exception of one which received some minor cropping.

I enjoy photographing the urban environment because there is so much diversity. There are a lot of different things that you could focus on all around you, including architecture, street, colors, abstract, etc. Ten photographers could walk along the same road downtown and come away with vastly different images.

The first time that I attempted urban photography was in downtown Dallas, Texas, back when I was in college two decades ago. It was for a project in Photography 102, and I just loved it. If I could (and maybe I can) I would spend a lot more time capturing the urban environment. It is a heavily saturated genre, though, so capturing it in a unique or meaningful way is difficult. But, perhaps, the reward is found in the challenge.

Color:

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No Overnight – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & Meike 35mm

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Time To Come Home – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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West – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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US Alone – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Fountain of Youth – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

B&W:

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Walker Center At Night – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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KeyBank – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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City Sun Monochrome – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Afternoon Coffee Walk – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Lines In Monochrome – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

See also: Recent Suburban Photographs

Engagement Photos For One – Portraits of Fianceé After Couple Splits

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On To New Adventures – Herriman, UT – Fujifilm X-Pr02 & 16mm f/1.4

I’m not a portrait photographer and I don’t usually do portrait photography, although I’ve found myself in that genre many times over the years. It’s simply not my forté and so I avoid it. Because I am a photographer, I get asked fairly often to do portraits, and sometimes I oblige. Recently I was asked to capture some engagement pictures for someone I know. The future bride and groom are big Disney fans and they had made arrangements to do the photo shoot at The Real Up House in Herriman, Utah.

You’ve probably seen the Disney/Pixar movie Up, where the grumpy old man and the tag-along Wilderness Explorer go on an adventure to South America by using a bunch of helium balloons to transport a house. There’s a home in Utah that closely resembles the one from the movie, even down to the smallest details. This is where the couple wanted to have their engagement photographs captured, and, for a fee, you can do just that. It was all set up and everything was good to go.

Except that the soon-to-be bride and groom called off their engagement a couple days before the photo session was scheduled to happen.

I encouraged the now-ex-fianceé to still go through with the photo session. I told her it would be therapeutic and empowering. I suggested that it might help her feel better about herself. She agreed, and so she kept her appointment and we went–just her and I.

It wasn’t the best time of day for a portrait photo session. The couple had scheduled the noon appointment before consulting with me. I did what I could with the light that was there. I used a Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a Fujinon 16mm f/1.4 lens and a Fujinon 60mm f/2.8 lens, as well as the Fujifilm X100F, which has a built-in 23mm lens. On both cameras I used the PRO Neg. Hi film simulation for these images.

The ex-fianceé had a good time. She said that she was very glad that she went and didn’t cancel the appointment. I think it was good for her to go. If anything it shows that happiness is a choice, and she chose to be happy despite the circumstance. That’s self-empowerment! That’s what these pictures are about.

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Waiting For Paradise Falls – Herriman, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm f/1.4

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Me – Herriman, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Letting Go – Herriman, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm f/1.4

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Float Away – Herriman, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Clubhouse Color – Herriman, UT – Fuji X-Pro2 & 16mm f/1.4

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Just Me – Herriman, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm f/2.4

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Squirrel – Herriman, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Squirrel Friend – Herriman, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm f/2.4

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Happiness Is From Within – Herriman, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm f/2.8

Photoessay: Antelope Island State Park, Utah – Part 3: Fujifilm X100F

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Great Salt Lake & Wasatch Range – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifiom X100F

Part 1 – Fujifilm X-E1  Part 2 – Fujifilm X-A3  

Antelope Island State Park is a special place, but I think it is especially wonderful near sunset. That’s when the rather ordinary rocks reflect the sun’s colors, becoming vivid and rich. It’s when you can really appreciate the reflections in the typically smooth water. The crowds leave and everything becomes peaceful. It is, hands down, the best place in Utah to experience the setting sun.

A visit to Antelope Island is like a taking a vacation. It’s stepping into another place, even though, for me, it’s only a short drive. It’s like travelling without all of the travelling. It’s a quick one-day staycation, if you will, but I always feel rejuvenated and more balanced when leaving.

The photographs in this article were all captured using a Fujifilm X100F. This camera is the perfect travel camera because it is small and lightweight enough to fit into a large pocket and it’s never in the way, yet it delivers exceptional image quality. A couple of these images received some very minor touch ups with Snapseed, but are otherwise all camera-made JPEGs using my different film simulation recipes.

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Sunset Rock – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Painted With Warm Light – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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The Cracked Earth – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Frary Peak Behind The Rocks – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Light Around The Corner – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Sun, Stone & Water – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Rocks Above The Lake – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Lake From Lady Finger Point – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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An Antelope Island Evening – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Island Joy – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Warm Light Over Antelope Island – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Sunset From Lady Finger Point – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Dipping Sun – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Three Gulls – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X100F

Part 4 coming soon!

Thanksgiving Point Ashton Gardens (Part 2)

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Caladium Leaves – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X100F

This is a follow-up to yesterday’s photoessay of the Thanksgiving Point tulip festival, in which I used a Fujifilm X-Pro2 and 16mm lens to capture blossomed flowers in the beautiful Ashton Gardens. This post has a Part A and a Part B. The first part features just a few photographs that I captured last fall at Ashton Gardens inside Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah. The second part features photographs that I captured of the tulip festival last year using a Fujifilm X-E1 with a Rokinon 12mm lens and an X-Fujinon 135mm lens.

Early last fall I visited Thanksgiving Point with my family. We went to a couple different museums and then, since my wife and kids had yet to see Ashton Gardens, we made a quick stroll through it. We didn’t stay long and I didn’t take a whole lot of photographs. The camera I used was a Fujifilm X100F, which I had only owned for a couple of months at that time. These photographs are straight-out-of-camera JPEGs.

I went to the 2017 tulip festival alone because my family was out-of-town. I was using a Fujifilm X-E1 at the time (this was several months before I purchased the X100F), and I had one wide-angle lens and one telephoto lens, although I used the 12mm lens twice as much as the 135mm lens on that trip. Carrying around two lenses was much less convenient than having just one lens attached to the camera (such as the X100F or X-Pro2 with the 16mm lens), but it allowed me to capture some images that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to. These photographs were post-processed using Alien Skin Exposure and Nik Collection software.

I shared this year’s Ashton Gardens tulip festival photographs yesterday, so I thought it was fitting to also show these other photographs captured at the same location. Enjoy!

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Delicate Pink – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Koi Pond – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X100F

Thanksgiving Point Tulip Festival 2017:

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Tulip Blossom Monochrome – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & 12mm

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Little Blooms, Big Blooms – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & 12mm

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White Bloom – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & 12mm

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Tulip Bloom – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & 12mm

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One Tulip – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & 12mm

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Tulips By The Creek – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & 135mm

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Garden Statue – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & 135mm

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Tulips – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & 135mm

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Pink Tulip – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & 12mm

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The Secret Garden – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & 12mm

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Tulip & Wall – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & 12mm

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Thousand Origami Cranes – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & 12mm

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Forest & Falls – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & 12mm

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Colorful Floating Umbrellas – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & 12mm

Thanksgiving Point Tulip Festival With Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm Lens

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Tulips In Acros – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

Lehi, Utah, is a suburb of Salt Lake City. Within Lehi is Thanksgiving Point, which is a not-for-profit farm, garden, museum, sports, food and entertainment complex. It was founded by Alan Ashton, who invented WordPerfect software back in the late 1970’s. Within Thanksgiving Point is Ashton Gardens, an incredibly beautiful 55 acre oasis that seems miles away from the hustle and bustle of the city that’s outside the gate. The largest man-made waterfall in the western hemisphere can be found here.

Every year in mid-April through early-May there is a tulip festival inside Ashton Gardens. It’s reminiscent of spring in Holland. In fact, the nearly 300,000 tulips found at Ashton Gardens are imported from Holland. It really is an amazing sight to behold!

As you can imagine, if you are a landscape photographer or love photographing flowers, there are very few places that are better for capturing great images than Aston Gardens in the spring. It’s such a lovely place! There is so much beauty around every corner. If you are in the area during spring, be sure to plan a visit to Thanksgiving Point.

I went to the tulip festival at Ashton Gardens with my newly acquired Fujifilm X-Pro2 and Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR lens. It’s a very good lens that I’ve been very happy to use, and its 24mm equivalent focal-length is great for this type of photography. The X-Pro2 and 16mm combination proved to be perfect for this photographic endeavor. All of these images are straight-out-of-camera JPEGs. I used Velvia, Astia, Classic Chrome and Acros film simulations for these pictures. Yes, the same recipes that I use on my X100F also work on my X-Pro2.

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Bright White Bloom – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Red Tulip – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Orange Blossoms – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Cherry Blossom – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Sun Flower – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Looking Up – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Blossoms By The Pond – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Flowers By The Stream – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Color of Spring – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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European Blooms – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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And It Was Called Yellow – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Blue Bloom – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Poppies Among Tulips – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Garden Flowers – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Flowing Water Feature – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Red Tulips – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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Paper Wings – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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3 Waterfalls – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro3 & 16mm

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Secret Garden Door – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

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White Blooms – Lehi, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

Photoessay: Antelope Island State Park, Utah – Part 1: Fujifilm X-E1

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Bison In The Road – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

The Great Salt Lake in Utah 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 the only thing that lives in it is brine shrimp.

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.

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 it was believed that 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.

The photographs in this article were captured using a Fujifilm X-E1. It was my introduction to Fuji X cameras. I bought it used about two years ago and kept it for a year. I loved that camera and didn’t want to get rid of it, but I used the money from selling it to help pay for my Fujifilm X100F. Without the X-E1 this blog wouldn’t exist. Some of these photographs are straight-out-of-camera JPEGs, many of them are not and were post-processed using Alien Skin Exposure and/or Nik Silver Efex.

Part 2 of this series will feature photographs captured at Antelope Island State Park using a Fujifilm X-A3. Part 3 will feature the X100F. And the final installment will feature the X-Pro2. Enjoy!

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Blue Umbrella At The Lake – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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The Vastness of the Lake – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Red Buffalo At The Great Salt Lake – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Boys Playing In The Salt Lake – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Buffalo Hill – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Area Closed For Bison – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Island Buffalo – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Deer Statue – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Ice on Antelope Island – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Ice, Lake & Mountains – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Frary Peak Reflected – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Light Streaming Over Antelope Island – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Wasatch Mountains From The Causeway – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

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Old Salty Stump – Antelope Island SP, UT – Fujifilm X-E1

Part 2 – Fujifilm X-A3  Part 3 – Fujifilm X100F  

Road Trip: Bonneville Salt Flats, Wendover, Utah

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Kids At The Salt Flats – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

The Bonneville Salt Flats are an otherworldly place in Utah near the Nevada border, just outside of the town of Wendover, along Interstate 80. It’s a remnant of Lake Bonneville, which was a giant lake that covered a significant chuck of Utah plus parts of Idaho and Nevada. The Great Salt Lake is also a remnant of Lake Bonneville.

You’ve likely seen this place before, even if you’ve never been there. Almost 50 movies, documentaries and television shows have filmed scenes at the Bonneville Salt Flats, including Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds EndIndependence Day and Con Air. Plenty of television commercials and advertisement shoots have taken place in the stark and salty landscape. Award-winning photographs have been captured there, too.

The Bonneville Salt Flats are perhaps best known for fast cars. The Bonneville Speedway is a section of the salt flats that has been set aside for motor sports. Many land-speed records have been set there, including a couple that exceeded 600 MPH! Even if you are not racing, many people take their cars out on the salt flats for fun.

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Bonneville Salt Flats – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

This was my second trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats and the first for my family. It might seem like this is just a flat and bleak desert, but upon close inspection there is plenty to find interesting. The kids had fun just exploring. The place is surprisingly photogenic, and it seems like every exposure is a keeper.

I used my Fujifilm X100F for a few of these shots. I was teaching my wife photography, and so she had that camera for most of the trip. The camera that I mostly used was my Fujifilm X-A3 with the 16-50mm zoom lens attached. Even though it is a cheaper camera model, it did just fine capturing great pictures.

All of these images are camera-made JPEGs. About half of the images captured using the X-A3 received some light post-processing using Nik Color Efex or Nik Silver Efex, and a few saw a little more robust editing. Many of them are straight-out-of-the-camera JPEGs using the different film simulations. I hope you enjoy these pictures that I captured at the Bonneville Salt Flats, an unusual place that’s unusually good for photography.

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Welcome, It’s Bright – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Salt Exploration – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Kids & Salt – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X100F

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Exploring The Salt Flats – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

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Deceiving Distances – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

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Baby On The Flats – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

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Mountains Beyond The Salt – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

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Salty Sasquatch – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

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45 MPH Road – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

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Racing Stickers – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

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Almost Flat – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

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Desolate Desert Wandering – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

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Hopeful – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

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Umbrella Boy – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

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Salt Water Reflection – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

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Hills Beyond The Salt – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

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Amanda, The Boys, Bonneville Salt Flats – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

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Joshua & Umbrella – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

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Stark Salt – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

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Bonneville Bright – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

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Jon & Joy Exploring Salt – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

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Salt Flat Fire – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

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Sky’s The Limit – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

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Sun Roof – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

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Salt & Light – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

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Inhospitable – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

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Rays Over Wendover – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

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Desert Circles – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

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Salty Tree Stumps – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

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Wendover Will – Wendover, NV – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

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Concrete Curves – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm

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A Sad State of Affairs – Wendover, UT – Fujifilm X-A3 & 16-50mm