Tuesday, December 19, 2006

On the road in the West

I didn't get a lot done today because I met one my old buddies for lunch and we ended up sitting there all afternoon talking. Lucky for us most restaurants these days in the States provide unlimited free refills on drinks. Which then, of course, leads to multiple trips to the restroom. :-)

In addition to travel abroad I sure like travel within the U.S. too. Over the years I have taken many road trips -- the longest was driving 12,500 miles (20,000 kilometers) in 9 weeks throughout the western States! It may be a cliche, but there really is a sense of freedom while out on the road travelling the highways and back roads with no particular destination in mind and no schedule to keep. At anytime you can get off the main road and take a sidetrip if the spirit moves you. Find a place you like? Stay a few days.

This first one is at Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. Have you been there? The national parks in Utah are truly awesome! Bryce, Zion, Arches, Canyonlands. If you haven't been to any of them yet you really owe it to yourself to go. For this photo I was hiking down into the canyon (it isn't actually a canyon, I think) with a bit of camera gear looking for photo opportunities. Nature photography isn't my primary interest, but when surrounded by such grandeur everyone becomes a nature photographer! As I walked, all around me the brilliantly colored orange rocks kept me in awe and then suddenly I came upon this wondrous scene with a tree growing up between the sheer orange rocks. There weren't a lot of people there that day, but it seemed people were spaced just far enough apart on the trail so that just about the time someone was about to walk out of my camera viewfinder someone else walked in. I admit I was getting pretty frustrated so I finally gave up and took a few shots with people in the frame. I envy photographers that seem to have so much patience that they can stay in one place for hours to get the shot they want! When I took this shot it wasn't really what I wanted, but then when I got home I decided I liked this photo better because the people provided scale and a good sense of the height of the tree and the massive rock walls.

This next photo is along the famous Route 66 in New Mexico while on another road trip. It was late in the day and light was starting to look really nice with a warm yellow glow and long shadows. Actually, I was getting a bit desperate, knowing this light wouldn't last long, as I was driving along looking for a good photo subject. Fortunately, just at the right moment I found this old, abandoned derelict of a gas station. The long shadows from across the highway and the spotlighted old sign and part of the building really caught my eye. Here again, the initial exposure was the score and the image you are looking at now is the performance.

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