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Natural Escape Archives

"The harvest of leaves is at hand in some valleys, and generally the young deciduous trees on hillsides have the brilliant tint of ripe fruits ... In that rainbow belt we have color, which is commonly so rare and precious and confined to precious stones, in the utmost profusion."

SELECTIONS FROM THE JOURNALS, by Henry David Thoreau


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One of the most challenging, and frustrating, aspects of landscape photography is to simplify the view that the eye sees into a scene that the camera can see and capture. When faced with a broad vista that fills the eye with wall-to-wall beauty, it's hard to remember that a picture of that scene probably won't look anywhere near as interesting when reproduced as a two-dimensional photo. This image is a good example; we were climbing along a hillside at Zion National Park enjoying a wide view of the fall colors, and I wanted to grab the whole scene. Instead, and with some prompting from the photographer who was leading our workshop, I simplified it into a view of this small stand of trees. It is a much more intimate view, yet it shows the colors, the density of the woods, and conveys (at least to me) a sense of what it felt like to be there.

"In Utah, we still have islands of visible, palpable uniqueness. Here you can taste and feel color; the sheer immensity of distance becomes intimate."

Ellen Meloy, in TESTIMONY: Writers of the West Speak on Behalf of Utah Wilderness


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A few of us left Zion for a day and went to Bryce National Park, a treasure trove of endless opportunities to use up rolls of film. The best part of Bryce for me has always been the chance to walk down into the amphitheater and be among the rocks that form the view seen from above. This scene is from an area called "Wall Street" on the Navajo Loop trail; the trunk of a tall pine tree nestles among the orange rocks and the top of another pine peeks out from behind those rocks. This is certainly a different view than we normally associate with the name "Wall Street"!

"And the river ... always the river ... or the sinuosity of the side streams - glinting, falling, rippled, moving water."

Katie Lee's review of GLEN CANYON: Images of a Lost World, by Tad Nichols.


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The river bends along the path it has created over millions of years here in Zion; it amazes me to think that the river carved the massive stone rock face above it so they both curve gently. A long exposure and a small aperture setting let me slow down that water and keep it and the rocks in focus. I can look at this image and hear the sound the river made that day...

(The images this month are the last ones I'll post from my trip to Zion and Bryce parks last fall; next month I'll start showing some from my late February trip to Joshua Tree and Death Valley National Parks in California.)

If you are interested in excellent landscape photography, take a look at NATURE'S AMERICA which captures images from around the US, or PLATEAU LIGHT which contains images from the Arizona-Utah redrock canyon country, or ARIZONA: THE BEAUTY OF IT ALL. All are reasonably priced for photography books of this type, and you'll find them endlessly enjoyable.

Also, there are many resources on the Web concerning various aspects of landscape and environmental issues, and more. Among the more interesting ones I can suggest are the Bureau of Land Management's Visual Resource Management program, the National Park Service, and the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance.


If You'd Like To Explore Some More...

There are several nature writers whose work I really enjoy reading, including Edward Abbey, Barry Lopez, Joseph Wood Krutch, and Henry David Thoreau and Everett Ruess. To see a list of their writings, please visit the Natural Escape Writer's page, and spend some time browsing through the titles.
Entire contents of this website Copyright © 2007 Gil Gordon Associates