USA National Parks Road Trip – Intimate Landscapes

The disappointment of being unable to visit Zion, Death Valley, Kings Canyon and Yosemite National Parks that I wrote about in Part 1 and Part 2 of my road trip was partly softened by being able to capture many detailed landscape images in the alternative locations visited.  Whether it was the change from the wide-open vistas of the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell and Monument Valley to amongst others the relatively more confined spaces of the State Parks of Nevada I am not sure but the opportunities were far greater.  You will notice from the title of this post that I have also taken this opportunity to rename my collection of detailed landscape images to what I feel is a more appropriate “Intimate Landscapes” where the images from here can be seen along with others from the trip and my earlier “Landscape in Miniature” collection.
 
Having said about there being greater opportunities in the more confined landscapes I will start with an image from a magnificent vista in Dead Horse State Park in Utah.  I found the vivid shades of blue and white in the background such a contrast and unusual in a desert of mostly browns and reds that I just had to zoom in closer to capture more of the detail.
 

“Out of the Blue”

It had been the intention after the Grand Canyon to visit the Petrified Forest NationalPark but time did not permit so whilst travelling from Moab to Bryce Canyon National Park we took the opportunity to stop off in the Escalante Petrified Forest State Park and whilst the petrified wood here is not as extensive to be able to see the 160 million-year-old wood that has been turned to rock creating such amazing colours made the stop worthwhile.
 

“Petrified”

Coral Pink Sand Dunes were next on the list of locations with its shifting sea of red sand.  Changed by winds, these mountains and hills of sand can move as much as 50 feet per year.  The big downside for me here was that 90% of the dunes are available for off-highway vehicle enthusiasts which not only disturbs the peace of such a wonderful place but also could be rather dangerous when focussing on capturing the landscape only to be startled by an all-terrain vehicle suddenly heading for you over one of the dunes.  I suppose its only fair that these Parks are made available for all but this for me was a step too far.  I did, however, manage to find a quiet spot to capture these as yet undisturbed plants.
 

“Struggle for Life”

The last three images were all captured in Nevada’s Valley of Fire State Park.  Amazingly only one hour drive from Las Vegas it can get quite busy in the peak season, when fortunately we were not there, although believe it or not there was a wedding taking place in the late afternoon sun.  Certainly not your typical wedding photos for that couple.  Mouse’s Tank named for a renegade who used the area as a hideout in the 1890’s is a natural basin in the rock where the water collects after rainfalls, sometimes remaining for months.  Although there was some water in the Tank it was a pattern in the sand on the way out of the canyon that drew my attention as the ripples caused by the wind came to an abrupt end exactly where the sunlight stopped and the shade started.
 

“Wind Shadows”

The next two images are favourites of mine and the first was captured on the walk to the Fire Wave.  What drew my attention to this, apart from the side light emphasising the gaps was that the striations and gaps in the sandstone formation were perfectly uniform giving the impression of a man-made garden wall which had then been planted.
 

“In the Groove”

Finally, for now, we are in the White Domes area of the Valley of Fire where you find sandstone formations with brilliant contrasting colours.  An often overlooked slot canyon was the location for this image.  Researching this area I came across many folks, who despite their attempts, have never found its location to be able to capture this detail.  I must have add luck of my side for a change. Of the images captured here, none are likely to be the same as each flash flood completely changes the look of the place.
 

“Stonewalled”

I’m convinced that a photographer, should he want to, could spend the rest of his life shooting such detail at the Valley of Fire and never come close to exhausting the possibilities.  Unfortunately, we only had one day however other images from there and other locations can be found in the “Intimate Landscapes” collection where some from this trip remain untitled. I would welcome suitable suggestions from anyone who cares to take the time by replying to this post.
 
I hope you have enjoyed joining me on this “once in a lifetime” trip and I hope that you one day may get the same opportunity.  That’s of course if you haven’t already.  Now back to the British landscape.
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