Tag Archives: Utah

The Bonneville Salt Flats are Dying

 

Tire tracks on the Bonneville Salt Flats.
Tire tracks mar the salt near the Bonneville Speedway. Drive at your own risk.

It seemed like I’d been walking for hours. I couldn’t tell. I lost track of time, long ago. There were signs that others had been here before me, tracks in the salt, but I was alone.

I thought I heard something and stopped to listen. Were my ears playing tricks on me, inventing sounds in the stillness that weren’t there? I couldn’t tell.

My pounding heart was the only sound. All else was stillness. Oppressive, silence.

I was alone.

I began again, and the muffled shuffle of my shoes in the salt beat eighth notes to the sixteenth notes of my heart.

I was thirsty. I needed water.

The Sun glistens on water covering the Bonneville Salt Flats.
The setting sun glistens on the water covering the Bonneville Salt Flats.

I had run out . Yet, I could see it on the surface of the salt, shimmering, teasing, taunting. The closer I got the farther it seemed to be.

If I could  just make it to the mountains.

Bonneville Salt Flats reflections.
Water covering the Bonneville Salt Flats forms a near perfect mirror.

Splashes, suddenly. The sound was refreshing. My steps disturbed a sea of glass. The mirage had not retreated. It was real. The surface stretched for miles. My footsteps sent expanding ripples across the glassy mirror, distorting the sky below me.

Bonneville Salt Flats under water.
A thin sheet of water covers the Bonneville Salt Flats at certain times of the year.

I took two more steps and stumbled. The salt gave way to mud beneath it and my shoes remained behind. I fell to my knees and my pants sucked up water, wet coolness, rising slowly up my thighs. I watched the khaki darken with curiosity, as if my clothes were trying to suck waning life back into my body.

Water covering miles and miles of the Bonneville Salt Flats is only a few inches deep.
Shallow water covers miles and miles of the Bonneville Salt Flats at certain times of the year.

Somewhere inside my head I sensed, maybe even knew, I should not drink this water. It renewed these salt plains. But it was so blue, so clear, and the need was so great. My lips were cracked and my tongue was dry.

I could not resist.

Salt Flats mountain reflections.
A distant rocky mountain reflects on water covering the Bonneville Salt Flats.

I cupped my hands and scooped up the water.  It felt cool on my skin, wet. I opened my mouth and slurped it in. Again, in my head, I knew. I should not have done this.

I was consumed by greed and the reaction was violent. I sputtered and spit. My throat burned. When the brine reached my stomach I retched.

A distant rocky mountain reflects on water covering the Bonneville Salt Flats.
It can be difficult to determine where the earth ends and the sky begins in the perfect reflections of the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Falling forward, my body pushed a large wave across the glass and I broke the surface. The water was not deep. Just enough to cover my face. Salt surrounded me and I looked upon my body, reflecting through the glassy side of a mirror.

When these waters withdraw, others will find evidence that I have been, preserved by salt.

The Bonneville Speedway on the Bonneville Salt Flats used to be thirteen miles long. Now it is only seven. It is not known if the cause of the shrinking salt is due to the depletion of the aquifer as a result of nearby mining, or, from seasonal heavy rains. Nevertheless, the land speed records which have been set in years past must now be accomplished in  shorter distances, as time may be running out on the Bonneville Salt Flats.

Stopping by Woods…

I lived in New England for two years. My first winter was spent in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, my second winter in Maine. Both winters were brutal. I was cold all the time. Nor’easters or down’easters were common. I survived the blizzard of ’78. One storm was so bad we couldn’t open our apartment door because the snow drifts were too high. We had to climb out the window and dig out the snow so we could open the door. Another time, we lost power for days because the ice storms had stripped the power lines and trees. The damage was horrific. But the world was sparklingly beautiful. It was during this time that I fell in love with the poetry of Robert Frost. His words evoke imagery and meaning with powerful poetic device which transcends place.

DSC05228_29_30_Mountain FenceI no longer live in the east. Yet the seemingly simple home spun lessons of the New England poet stay with me. The words resonate in my western surroundings in spite of their New England sensibilities. Frost’s poetic imagery transcends time and place. The inspiration I found in the New England woods is also to be found in the Wasatch Mountains.

STOPPING BY WOODS ON A SNOWY EVENING

by Robert Frost (an extract)

DSC05253_4_5_Snowy WoodsWhose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow…

…The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

MENDING WALL
by Robert Frost (an extract)

DSC05207_Snow Fence…He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, “Good fences make good neighbours”…

Transcendence, Capitol Reef in HDR

There are moments in life which transcend expectation, which transcend time. And there are places in life which transcend those moments. Transcendent experience is something to hope for, even, to seek after. Yet, the fleeting nature of transcendence reveals an existential quality of mortality.

Grand Valley
The road through Grand Valley, Capitol Reef.

Transcendence can not be achieved, it can only be experienced. And, the experience of transcendence  comes when least expected.

It may be that transcendence is only possible when the imposition of expectation has been removed. Perhaps, in those moments, there is a void which only grace can fill. As grace reveals divinity, divinity reveals truth. Truth transcends the moment and our understanding of existence, who we are, where we come from, what our purpose is, becomes clear, or, if not clear, at least implied. In transcendent moments, inspired questions transform the heart. The sacred nature of transcendent transformation ennobles the soul.

Chimney Rock.
Chimney Rock from a distance, Capitol Reef.

Capitol Reef is such a place–a place of transcendent transformation; transcendent because it exceeds expectation; transformative because it is slowly, yet contagiously transforming.

I have , purposely, waxed philosophic. Indeed, the loftiness of the ideas expressed can not compare to the actual grandeur of visiting Capitol Reef, however briefly I was there. In geologic terms, any time that I could spend there, however long that might be, would be brief. Nevertheless,the time I spent in the park was transcendent.

It is impossible to capture the essence of the place, nevertheless, the  majesty of the rocks cried out for something beyond the ordinary. So, forgive, if you will, my HDR sensibilities. While the images presented may lean toward hyper-reality, the actual experience of moments in Capitol Reef transcends the ordinary and claims the extraordinary.

Besides that, it was a lot of fun 🙂

Winter Wonderland

A powerfully frigid cold spell set in when the magic of Christmas Eve brought a white Christmas. While it is no secret in my family that I don’t like to be cold, I still try to see the beauty around me. With my boots, gloves, hat, parka, snow suit and camera, I don’t mind, much,  walking in a winter wonderland. It was too cold to take many pictures, so, I only took a few.

Happy Holidays!

The Apocalypse is Coming

Some say the world will end in fire,
some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
                                 Robert Frost

_MGL6677Drought conditions, high temperatures and low humidity contribute to apocalyptic sunset conditions in Utah County. On July 21, it felt like the end-times had arrived. While Robert Frost went on to suggest that ice would also suffice, the state with the Greatest Snow on Earth was  and is far removed from ice-like conditions.

In 1989, Billy Joel intoned, We didn’t start the fire.

_MGL6636_POM SunsetIn this case he may be wrong. It is entirely possible, excepting Mother Nature’s lightning strikes, that we did start the fire. According to Kate Galbraith of the New York Times on September 4, 2013,

Increasing incursions by humans into forests, coupled with altered forest ecology and climate change, will make fires bigger and more destructive, with implications for air quality as well as homes and infrastructure.

_MGL6664_Highland SunsetI can’t speak for the globe, although, in the last three years I have visited every continent. What I can say, is, IT IS HOT. And, I can say, along with Robert Frost, that I favor fire. I don’t mind the heat: although, when I see the sky, the sun, the clouds, changing to apocalyptic red, with smoke tendrils ominously reaching out, I’m chilled, the hair rises on the back of my neck, and I think, along with Frost, that ice…would suffice.

We didn’t start the fire
But when we are gone
It will still burn on and on and on and on
And on and on and on and on…
                                           Billy Joel

Goblin Valley

Not long ago, a group of scouts ignored the prime directive and damaged one of the non-carbon based life forms. The results went viral. We were investigating. Goblin Valley.

M class. The air was still. Breathable. Quiet. The terrain was foreign. Alien. Forbidding. Frozen figures watched, waited. Goblins.

Would they come to life? Would they reap havoc in the night? Best to visit in the light.

I can not say if a captured image contains a portion of the subject’s soul. The rocks must answer the query when sentience returns. Or perhaps sentience remains and only mobility has been taken. I could not tell. The figures were staring, watching. The hairs on the back of my neck stood. Chills. I was moving too fast. I perceived that age had slowed their movement, but not their purpose. Perhaps if I was careful, reverent, I could take with me their spirit and they would not bear witness of my own destructiveness. For, it would seem, that with more visibility, their demise is assured.

 

Sunset over Lake Mountains, Utah

As a film maker and photographer, I am constantly in search of light. I study light, the quality of light, the direction of light, the effects of light. I work diligently to capture the light, practically and metaphorically. Yet, I stand in awe of the Master of Heaven and Earth and Sky. I am continually inspired and surprised by the majesty of his ‘lighting design’. I realize that I have so much to learn. As we approach this Easter Season, I am led, as Moses of old to exclaim,

Now, for this cause I know that man is nothing, which thing I never had supposed. Moses 1:10

Yet, the Master knows each of us by name. The light which lighteth the world giveth light to our minds and comfort to our hearts. There is light in Heaven. Angels surround us. In the sky above and the earth beneath, the day of miracles has not ceased.

And, this sunset was incredible. 🙂

Lake Mountains, Utah
Sunset over Lake Mountains and Utah Valley, North Utah County.

Utah Travels Photography Exhibit

Mud Bath
The secret to such smooth, smooth skin could be found in the mud of Lubumbashi River.

I am excited to announce that two of my photos, The Tree of Life and Mud Bath, were selected for the Utah Travels Photography Exhibit. The exhibit runs from March 7 through April 30, 2014. There is an opening reception Friday, March 7 from 6:00-8:00 pm. Come see a great exhibit and say hello. The reception is open to the public.

The Tree of Life
The legendary tree of life thrives in Africa.

Utah Travels Facebook

Utah Travels is a photo exhibit highlighting remarkable photographic images captured by Utahns during their diverse travel experiences.  These photos reflect the beauty, richness and diversity of people, events, nature, culture and all that celebrates humanity and planet earth.

Utah Cultural Celebration Center
1355 West 3100 South
WVC, UT 84119

www.culturalcelebration.org

Photos From Around the World

I thought, since it is New Years Eve, I would post a photo gallery of shots from some of the places I’ve been around the world. Sort of a “Best of” gallery from previous posts. I’ve been only blogging since August, so I have yet to post shots from everywhere I’ve been. And, I have yet to even start posting video from all of these places. That is what 2014 is for. Resolution 🙂

The world is a big, beautiful place, filled with interesting people, amazing sights, random coincidences and occasional tender mercies. I have been blessed to travel. I have been blessed to make friends on every continent. I hope to keep the friends I have made and make more as time goes by. However, my greatest blessings are found at home, with a warm fire, a good meal and my family, who love me.

I hope you enjoy the photographs. Happy New Year.

Come to the Meadow

If you’ve listened to selected shorts on PRI for awhile (http://www.wnyc.org/shows/shorts/), you’ve heard Roger Kellaway’s, “Come to the Meadow.” The music is lyrical, whimsical and evocative. I can see wildflowers and feel the wind in his composition. The music, for me, paints a spring song in the meadow, evergreen and blooming. Yet, when I found myself in The Meadows on a cold November morning, I was captivated by the patterns, shapes and lines of summer grasses, now glowing golden in the glorious morning light. Come to the meadow with me, on a glorious autumn morning. Bring Roger Kellaway, if you can. There are more seasons in the meadow than you might expect.