fbpx

Desert Solitaire

The desert’s of Utah provide some of the most diverse landscapes fit for photography than most any other place in the United States and possibly in the whole world.

I may be a bit biased as the Utah wilderness deserts and canyons have become a part of who I am through years of hiking and exploring. Through years of exploring I’ve developed an understanding of these unique landscapes.

I would call this an abstract. There’s no references within the photo to give the viewer scale. It’s more about tones and patterns in the landscape than it is a representation of the whole of the scene. It gives no indication of where or when it was made. It’s not about documenting. It’s about using a small component of a grand landscape to give the viewer more to imagine or to ponder. The end goal of this photo is to provide something aesthetically pleasing to view.

This photo was made using my 70-200mm lens at 140mm. I was perched high on a 400 foot edge looking over this incredible desert floor.

Nikon D850 – Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8 VRII
Focal Length – 140mm
Shutter Speed – 1/80 sec Hand Held w/stabilization
Aperture – f/8
ISO – 800

Factory Butte Utah

Situated between Capitol Reef to the west, the Henry Mountains to the south, the San Rafael Swell to the north and the San Rafael desert to the east. This butte is a popular spot for both Photographers and OHV (off highway vehicles). This situation has created a conflict of sorts as the landscape has tracks through it. This causes a challenge in the hope of getting a pristine photo of this location.

The most common method of photographing this beaut of a butte is from the air via a drone. From the air the tire tracks are plain to see. It takes some time to repair the photo by cloning out the tracks.

This is a scene that I have been wanting to photograph for a while now but with this being a pretty common location for landscape photographers, it’s a little difficult to create something unique.

I had the opportunity to go there last week to photograph this area, including Factory Butte. Because I only had a couple of days there I didn’t have the epic skies that I had hoped above this landscape.

I brought this photo up and decided to try to process it into something, anything to justify the time that I spent there – and the time spent repairing it. I took a lot of time working on the foreground but when I was done that plain, blank sky stared at me. I almost hit delete.

Now I have always said that the reason people will drop in a sky is because their time is limited and the time spent at a location didn’t produce the results that were hoped for. This was the exact situation that I was in with this image. As I sat there carefully brushing out tire tracks that blank sky taunted at me.

Once I was done with the foreground repair I saved the file and then decided to play with some different skies and boom. I saw this.

I have always said that if a photo is a composite I’m just fine with it as long as the artist is honest and transparent about it being so. I’m not one to criticize a person’s creative expression. All I ask for is honesty.

And so in my attempt at transparency, I explain the process that I went through to create this image for you. This is a composite of two images combined to create the image that I had hoped to create naturally.

I hope that you enjoy it for what it is.