Thursday, December 26, 2013

Arches National Park, Utah

This is a flashback to a trip Linda and I took to southeastern Utah last October.  We were exploring the red rock country from the Green River area to Monument Valley in northern Arizona.  One evening we drove into Arches National Park to photograph the late light.  Arches is located near Moab, which is the perfect place to stay to explore several state and national parks.
It is nearly impossible to find unique photos in Arches National Park.  The place is so beautiful that I can't imagine how many photos have been taken there.  After entering the park, there is a steep hill to ascend, followed by this magnificent sandstone ridge called Park Avenue.  As the sun descended in the west, shadows from another ridge were outlined on the huge formations of Park Avenue.
Continuing on, we soon came to Balanced Rock, another site that has been photographed thousands of times.  As the sun continued to drop in the west, the rock took on a bright glow.  Pretty, but what could be done to make it different from the average tourist photo?  I decided to fill the sky with this rugged old tree as a companion to the beautiful red rock.
We really weren't very far into the park when we turned down a side road to the Windows area.  The scene was changing fast as the sun nearly touched the horizon.  When I got to North Window there was a crowd there watching the moonrise through the arch.  Just a couple of years earlier, I had the good fortune to photograph a sunset here when I had the view to myself.  Anyway, I kind of like having people in the picture to add human interest and scale.  By now, the very low sun had turned the reddish brown rock a glowing orange-red.
Just a few minutes later the glow was gone.  I turned and looked toward the west in time to see the sun disappear, giving me a quick silhouette of Turret Arch to photograph.  Magnificent!

I barely scratched the surface of all there is to see in Arches National Park.  The road goes on for miles past several more arches, and there are trails to many more.  I've learned from experience that this is one place where early or late light is the only way to go for most images.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Firefighter Training, Montpelier, Idaho

I noticed smoke coming from a red metal box in a vacant lot near the edge of town and stopped to see what was going on.

Volunteer firefighters from the Montpelier Fire Department were training in a flashover box.  Sensors showed that the temperature inside was 298 F, while outside it was below freezing with light snow.

A fire was started inside the box and controlled by opening and closing vents.  Notice the fire hose going into the box through a hole on the right.  The men entered the box in full safety gear and learned how to read the behavior of the fire and smoke.  Once in awhile I would hear an alarm go off that meant someone had run out of air, and they would leave the box.
Other fire agencies were invited to participate, and several were there.  These guys are volunteers, and I am amazed at what they do to protect the community.  I want to thank them for allowing me to hang around and take pictures.