After our first night staying over in Page (at the Page Boy Motel), we got up at sunrise to shoot Lake Powell. I mentioned the difficulties of shooting an early morning sunrise? I wasn't particularly pleased about my efforts here.
What do you do when you have a major hydroelectric dam in town? Build a coal-fired electricity plant.
Lake Powell is huge for boaters, and this shot is of the Wahweap marina.
And if I'm getting up for sunrise, you better believe that Domo is going to as well! The sunlight makes his fur shine pink...
So after this effort, we decided to grab some coffee and breakfast from Safeway in Page, and then had to the Paria Ranger Station to enter the lottery to photograph the Wave the next day. The Wave is a bizarre striped sandstone formation in North Coyote Buttes. They only allow 24 people to travel there a day (under permit). 12 are picked from an internet lottery, and the other 12 are picked from a lottery that takes place at the station at 8:30. Utah time, that is... Because Utah and Arizona are in different time zones during this part of the year (Arizona doesn't recognize daylight saving), it gets kind of crazy keeping track of things. I'll give Rick full credit—we were never an hour late (or an hour early) for anything we did while we were bouncing between the two states.
So, the lottery has space for 12. There were around 100 people putting in for it. No luck here, but at least Domo got to check out the place. He's sitting on a memorial for Paria Skip, a ranger who's truck rolled off the road between Page and Kanab UT in 1997.
While we didn't win the lottery for North Coyote Buttes, we did get in to visit South Coyote Buttes. This area is also subject to a lottery, but there wasn't enough demand to run it so we got in straight away. Kendall was joining us this evening, so we looked forward to exploring the area with him. The reason it's not as popular is that it's harder to get to (4WD is necessary) and a larger area. We found it spectacular, but that's for an upcoming post.
With permit in hand (for tomorrow), we then headed to Coyote Gulch, a place that Rick has shot before. What was amazing about this area is the incredible white sands. We've vacationed on St. George Island off the Florida Panhandle, and it's known for it's wonderful white beach sand. This stuff was so much better (except there's no water anywhere near it. Amazingly fluffy and fine, it reminded me of confectioners sugar. Domo had a great time in this area! He found his own arch:
And he played hide and seek in the formations. You can see by the comparison of the two photos how different sky is when you're pointing towards the sun versus away from it.
I need to practice my consistency for white balance...
These rock formations were great and we could have played forever, but the combination of color (white) and overhead sun made for less than ideal photography. We thought about coming back at some point for a sunset (we never did—something for a future shoot).
We traveled around on a sand road and checked out the local rock formations
Here's Domo doing a little climbing. It's hard to get a sense of scale of the rocks on this one...
But this better represents scale. This formation was somewhere between 100-200 feet tall.
Lots of great flowers in the shaded area around here. Those yuccas really chewed my legs up over the two weeks.
We moved yet again to another part of the canyon to shoot some rock formations and flowers. Once again, this desert was in amazing bloom. I don't know if it's like this every year, but this was outstanding!
OK, that's it for the rocks. All flowers after this. Rick had mentioned a day or two prior that he wanted to find a yellow cactus to shoot. So we found one out here. And the pink cactus. And a rosy-gold cactus. And a bunch of other stuff...
Some highlights that weren't captured: we had either a pronghorn antelope or mule deer (I think the latter based on the rack) jump out and run along one of the rock formations right in front of us. He hopped and bounded for nearly a half mile to get out of range. Of course, I had the 10-20 mm on the camera and although I tried to slap the 70-200 on, I decided instead to just watch. And as we were driving out, we got an interesting amount of overcast clouds that made magical light (all the foliage turned bright green, and the sands were glowing!). We tried to follow a cattle road to an area we wanted to shoot, but 'you couldn't get there from here...', so we ended up turning back.
After this shoot (later in the afternoon) we headed back to Page and checked into Debbie's Hide-A-Way motel, a great spot for what would soon be three guys. Three bedrooms, a living room and kitchen for $79/night (off-season)! Kendall made his trip in safely from Colorado, and we went shopping for dinner (forgoing a sunset shoot). Yams, corn-on-the-cob, chicken, and some other stuff. Yum!