My spouse and I toured five western U.S. states (Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, California) in 13 days in October 2019. I walked over lands and under skies that I had seen only in others’ photographs. The above images are just a sample of the stunning views we were fortunate to see.
I am not a landscape photographer and did not travel with equipment that pros would use. So these photos represent a intentionally different take on what one might see out west. Some were shot from the passenger seat of a moving car at fast shutter speed. Others (like the bighorn sheep) were a matter of being in the right place at the right time. In the end, it was hard to select only 12 images from the 1,000-plus shots I took over those two weeks. But here they are:
• Overlooking Grand Junction — Colorado National Monument.
• Bighorn Posing — Colorado National Monument. While I was busy focusing, our friends got a better, more classic, shot of a curly-horned ram.
• Weeping Rockface — Colorado National Monument.
• Fisher Towers Framed — on our morning drive along the river road to Moab, Utah.
• Queen of Arches — a formation alongside the entrance road to Arches National Park.
• Arches Chessboard — It has been so long since either side made a move here, someone should declare a stalemate.
• Pterodactyls Forever in Battle — I felt obligated to include at least one photo with an arch. This is the one called Double Arch. For perspective, note the two people standing below it.
• Arches Moonscape — This is the so-called Park Avenue area of Arches National Park. As it is probably one of the most photographed scenes in the park, I decided to re-imagine this as if it were some other place in the solar system.
• Storm on Buckman Road — Buckman Road runs just north of Santa Fe. I was driving around looking for something interesting to shoot and encountered these atmospherics.
• Pilot Knob and Algodones Dunes — These stark contrasts in geology can best be seen from Interstate 8 near El Centro, California.
• Madera Canyon Road — a quiet scene from a birding outpost halfway up the road, near Green Valley, Arizona.
• Tanque Verde Ranch — east of Tuscon, Arizona, where one of us enjoyed a horse trail-ride and the other did not. In any case, I can finally cross saguaro cactus off my iconic-things-to-see bucket list.