Friday, April 15, 2011

Jay Goodrich's 5-day trip to the Escalante region of Utah strikes a mother lode of fresh images

"The sea was angry that day, my friends, like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli."
George Costanza, in "The Marine Biologist" episode of the TV show Seinfeld

Washington State photographer Jay Goodrich says,"That’s what it felt like when I headed out to Las Vegas for only my second trip to the Escalante region of Utah. The reports were for winter weather and terrible skies for the entire 5-day trip. So much for the amazing landscape images I hoped for. Oh well, the flights were made, hotels booked, cars rented, so we were going. All I wanted to do was explore a region where I had very little experience, but I knew, due to the recommendations of friends, that there was a mother lode of photos to be had in this somewhat remote region of Utah. There just aren’t a ton of people here, and that translates to uninhibited wilderness.

"We pulled into Bryce Canyon just as the sun was beginning to set and BAM! We found crazy color. Umh, excuse me mister weatherman, I think you were a bit off? As soon as we had a signal on the trusty iPhone, a weather briefing had it in for us that night. The next morning as we drove south from the town of Escalante along Hole-in-the-Rock Road, headed towards Lake Powell, I could see through the beginning hints of light that this was going to be the sunrise most photographers would die for.

"What??? This wasn’t possible! The weather reports were all saying we were doomed, but as that sun rose, I couldn’t believe my eyes. We had nothing but sunshine for the next 3 days, I was wearing the only pair of shorts I brought with me every day because it was so warm and beautiful out. I finally came to the conclusion that weathermen can’t predict the desert weather just like they can’t predict the weather in the Pacific Northwest, where I currently live.

"Then... suddenly we have a problem. Mother Nature whipped up a disbeliever's welcome party. A serious snow storm was finally showing up. The difference here was that I finally got to wear my GoreTex. Yay for Jay being prepared for once! I love snow. I live for it. My friend Brendan who was with me on this trip, not so much.

"The heavy weather had absolutely no effect on me though. I went out and shot more and more desert winter images than ever before. Brendan joined me in between warming his fingers in the nicely heated car to which I gladly resorted when I needed a bit of thawing.

"I finally got to use my new Singh-Ray Vari-ND filter to slow those fast moving storm clouds that -- as you may have guessed -- cleared out after only a half day of winter. The amazing thing was in that short span of a time, the storm left about 12 inches of snow in the upper elevations of Zion National Park, which happened to be the last place on my list to photograph before we drove back to Las Vegas for a late evening departure back to the land of rain. This was my first experience in Zion with snow and it was a truly magical place.

"I got to use all of my Singh-Ray filters on this trip, the Graduated Neutral Density filters, LB Warming Polarizers, and of course that new Vari-ND. I'm including several images from the trip to to highlight this unbelievably scenic place. I already know that I will be back there next month -- and later this fall -- to push the limits of my creativity and perhaps get chased again by the ghost of winter."

Jay Goodrich is a writer and photographer in Washington State. He writes regularly for Outdoor Photographer Magazine and teaches workshops all over the world. As a matter of fact he is traveling to China as he is writing this. He still has room available in three of his upcoming workshops to Chile, Seattle, and Alaska. To learn about these workshops, and much more, visit the links below. | Blog | Facebook | Google+ | Twitter | Flickr | Vimeo | LinkedIn


Patricia Anne McGoldrick said...

Stunning vistas!

Russ Bishop said...

Awesome images Jay. Love that snow on Utah sandstone.