June 2012 Desktop Wallpaper – Death Valley

Every time I’ve shown this photo, I’m always met with extreme curiosity about why the rocks slide across the desert. Is it weather? Humans? UFOs? The truth is no one really knows. The phenomenon has never been captured on film, but scientists speculate that the rocks slide across the desert floor by high winds that are timed perfectly after a rare freeze. The icy surface makes it easy for the 80 pound rocks to glide before settling back down to rest until the next weather pattern blows through. I definitely recommend visiting Death Valley. It is, by far, one of my favorite national parks in the US.

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January 2012 Desktop Wallpaper – Behind Delicate Arch

January 2012 Desktop Wallpaper Utah Night

This past week I made a trip to shoot Delicate Arch, the popular photography location in eastern Utah. Having never been to this location when there are less than 50 tourists gathered around the feature, I knew that I would have to get creative if I wanted to come back to Colorado with something I was proud of. Thus, I didn’t shoot the arch at all. This photo was taken looking in the complete opposite direction of Delicate Arch. Sometimes at beautiful locations it pays to look behind you as well.

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December 2011 Desktop Wallpaper – Zion Narrows

December Wallpaper Zion Narrows

As much as I love winter in Colorado, Utah provides a stark contrast in scenery while waiting for the mountains to be covered in snow. After spending all day in The Subway two days prior, our group opted to rent drysuits for an all-day excursion into the Narrows, a slot canyon in Zion National Park. It turned out to be a great decision and the 42 degree water was actually semi-pleasant. This photo of a particularly high area of the canyon walls was shot early in the morning when the light hit the walls perfectly.
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Death Valley (part three)

At 282 feet below sea level, Badwater Basin is the lowest point in North America. The pool contains less than an inch of water and is covered with a layer of salt that rises above the basin floor in a multitude of hexagon patterns. The repeated cycles of freeze/thaw creates the hexagon shapes.

The water is, like the name states, unacceptable to drink, and during most times of the year when the basin is low, visitors are able to walk on the surface, often leaving deep footprints in the salt. My friends and I walked beside the salt flats where the basin meets the dirt of the desert in order to minimize the impact of footprints through the middle of the delicate honeycomb shapes.

Badwater in Death Valley, California

Death Valley Badwater Salt Crystals

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Death Valley (part two)

Hoping to find a perfect place for a morning sunrise, we left camp for the Mesquite Flat sand dunes around 4am. Hiking through deep sand is difficult enough during the day time, but struggling to see where you’re going makes it seem very “two steps forward, one step back.” Luckily, night-time made for a pleasant hike before the afternoon heat took over.

When the winds pick up, these dunes are one of several across the world that experience the singing dunes described in the video below. It was perfectly still on the morning we visited, so unfortunately we didn’t experience any songs, but I did manage to capture some great photos.

Mesquite Flat sand dunes in Death Valley

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Death Valley (part one)

This past week I spent 5 days hiking and trekking through Death Valley National Park. Despite temperatures that ranged from the low 90s during the day and the low 20s at night, I had a great time seeing a part of the country that I had yet to experience. My favorite part of the park was the Racetrack Playa, a dry lake bed covered with sailing stones.

When the lake bed receives rains that cover just enough of the playa’s clay surface to make it slick, strong winds upwards of 90 mph push the rocks across the desert floor, leaving trails behind them. Some of the heavier rocks with rough bottoms leave a very deep trail that makes the Racetrack a photographer’s playground.

A path behind a sailing stone on Racetrack Playa in Death Valley National Park

Racetrack Playa in Death Valley National Park at night.

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