An Alien Landscape – Grand Staircase National Monument

I captured these landscapes a few years ago out by Big Water, Utah on the way to Lake Powell, just after sundown.

In the early 1990s, Bill Clinton, President of the United States declared this national monument a rare treasure and designated over 1.7 million acres of land in Southern Utah off-limits. It stirred  a noteworthy controversy with local ranchers who have worked on the land for generations. On the other side of the token, there are countless historical Indigenous cultural and archeological sites inside the monument as well as an unknown treasure trove of undiscovered dinosaurs and other prehistoric life.

I do empathize with the ranchers and people whose livelihoods were affected by the monument’s creation, including my own family, but it was worth preserving these irreplaceable and priceless resources.  These sacred places do not belong to us; they belong to the future generations who have yet to be born and these histories cannot be rewritten and can easily be lost in time, forever, with any sort of carelessness.

As a photographer, the landscapes of the Grand Staircase remind me of another planet – a strange alien world in another galaxy and that is an amazing feeling to tap into. Places like Big-Water can heal the soul with its sheer beauty and you can feel the ancient ones (historic tribal peoples) whom once used this land. Traces of their long existence are found all over the monument.

I’ll be returning to Grand Staircase pretty soon with a Sony A7R and capture much more details photos of these alien landscapes.

 

Cedar City in Fresh Snow

This is what my hometown of Cedar City, Utah, looks like in the fall and spring. This was captured in the historic downtown area on Main Street just shy north of Historic Cedar Theatre.

The Latest-Greatest Cameras Will Not Make You a Better Photographer

I love hearing about photo junkies spending thousands of dollars on the greatest and latest cameras knowing for a fact that having the latest-greatest fancy-pants camera will STILL NOT MAKE YOU A BETTER PHOTOGRAPHER. Remember this and save thousands of dollars! That being said, if you are going to invest thousands of dollars spend it on glass (camera lenses) because good glass is still key to higher quality, and not necessarily the newest cameras along with their marketing hype. Cameras depreciate faster than lenses and the latter hold their value longer. I’ve been with Micro Four Thirds for 8 years now. That’s a pretty good track record. Why do I recommend this format? Because it’s dirt cheap, affordable, excellent image quality, and the fact that it works well, being mirror-less technology. In the end, It’s going to be the practice and passion that you put into composing images that will help you grow to become a better photographer. Remember that and avoid the marketing hype. I purchase old discontinued camera bodies at steeply discounted rates and invest the money in glass instead. It’s been a while since I’ve purchased gear and I’m happy with my choices. Practice makes better photos!