Arch Angel Falls
Toward the end of one of the great hikes in America - the “Subway” in Zion National Park Wilderness Area – you will be rewarded with this peaceful little cascade know as Archangel Falls.
This simple water flow from the North Creek, just half mile from the Subway, is set in a bed of crimson shale that reflects a stunning red hue from sandstone walls on either side. This place is truly an oasis in the desert of the surrounding Zion wilderness.
A Room With A View
Timeless, peaceful, breathtaking… It is hard to fully describe the view from inside this simple alcove located in a very remote place deep inside the Canyonlands National Park.
Surrounded by the unspoiled beauty of the desert with magnificent mesas and buttes – to me this magical spot captures the essences of our great Southwest. Few places have I visited where I felt this complete sense of peace, serenity and wonder as I did when standing here.
Another perfect creation by Yahweh
Fifty miles from nowhere - in the northwest corner of New Mexico - you will find the mystifying Chaco cultural ruins. This intriguing four-story comple, built by the Anasazi people over 1,000 years ago, contained up to seven hundred rooms and dozens of kivas.
In one of the inner rooms of the community center you will find this fascinating spot - where each morning the back room glows with the sunlight off an adjacent wall. When standing here, it hard to believe that this was built so long ago. The engineering, the materials, the structure, the design, the people.
Like most things in Death Valley the Eureka Dunes are something you will not find anywhere else in the US. These massive 700 ft. dunes, found in the northern most part of the park, quickly rise from the surrounding valley floor and seem out of place in the surroundings. Without notice winds can reach up to 60mph.
While climbing to the top and found myself lost in a middle of a sudden wind storm that felt like it was going to peel off my skin. The only thing to do is hunker down and wait it out. Once the winds died down I started back to the camp site and stumbled upon this interesting dune formation.
Death Valley is the most barren place I have visited and for the most part completely un-photographic. But then you come upon jaw dropping area like the Joshua forest around Lee Flat.
In the middle of absolutely nowhere appear thousands of these beautifully odd shaped Joshua trees. The lights behind the tree are from nearest town which is Barstow, CA – some 100 miles away.
Last Light Over Monument Valley
Monument Valley provides one of the most enduring and definitive imageries of the American Southwest. The immense red mesas and buttes capture ones imagination and wonder of the creation around you. At center stage of are the twin mittens that stand 1,000 ft. above the sand floor. The wonder of how these almost perfect structures were created can be difficult to reconcile. This special place is best witnessed at sunset as the red and purple hues of the sandstone are amplified by the last moments of the setting sun – revealing yet another of Yahweh’s perfect creations.
First Light Over Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend is one of the more iconic places representing the great American southwest. This special location, just south of the mouth of the Grand Canyon, is best witnessed in person. Standing on the edge of the 1,000 ft drop looking at the meandering Colorado River always reminds you of how small you are in the grand scheme of the world around you.
This spectacular location is found 3 miles south of Page, AZ and faces due west. It is best photographed either at sunrise or sunset (depending on time of year).
This image was taken under a full moon at White Sands, in southern New Mexico. White Sands is one of the great wonders of the American Southwest and covers over 250 square miles of wave-like dunes of gypsum desert.
The dunes offer a simple beauty and stretch for miles, but are difficult to capture as they are much smaller in height and often times are full of foot prints.
Mesa Arch is one of those wonderful places where you ask yourself "how did this happen"? A perfectly placed arch, in a perfectly placed location, with a perfectly placed backdrop where the sun just happens to create a supernatural glow each morning at sunrise - all of this in the absolutely middle of nowhere.
In Canyonlands National Park, the arch stands just 20ft above the surrounding dessert but hangs percariously above a 2,500ft straight drop to the canyon floor below. This glow is created each morning as the sun reflects light off the red sandstone below the arch.
It is a wonder beyond belief until you witness it in person and truly understand the magnitude of what created this glorious spot. The closest town is Moab, UT some 35 miles away.
This image was taken just after sunrise in an area north of Horseshoe bend. The early morning hues appear like a mirage and only last for a few minutes before quickly giving way to the harsh sunlight of the desert. For those few moments, the beauty takes you to another place and reminds you of the peace only nature can produce.
Owens River Glow
This image was taken on a very cold winter morning along the Owens River a few miles east of Big Pine, CA. Standing here at sunrise by this small river, that lies between the Sierra and White Mountains, takes me back to a simpler time.
The American southwest is filled with unique shapes and structures. Balanced Rock, in Arches National Park - just outside Moab, UT, is one of the most memorable. This “how did that happen” rock structure stands about 130 ft, with the top balanced rock more than 50ft tall.
I took this picture on a bitterly cold morning in the middle of January with my good friend Jim Kegley. The silhouetting profiles of the tilting rock and the man’s profile mixed well with the wonderful pre-dawn colors. The American southwest forever amazes.