Behind the Shot #2 Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Utah

Behind the Shot #2 
 Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Utah

Canon 5D Mark 3, Canon 70-200mm 2.8
 Iso:800 SS:1250 Fstop: 6.3 
Time: 5:58pm

Back in March of 2018, I moved into my Honda Hrv and lurked around the four corner states for two months. This image was from one of my earlier stops in Utah. 

Coral Sands was supposed to be a quick over night stop in between Lake Powell and Zion/Bryce Canyon. My plans to hike some slot canyons along the way quickly got deterred as
 heavy rains came through. 
New plan: wait out the incoming early afternoon storms.
 I slept in a McDonald's parking lot as it poured, edited photos at my steering wheel and graciously helped myself to their wifi.

^Not always a pretty sight but that's ok too.^

Your will to be flexible and adaptive gets tested often on the road. There's so much shit out of your control but that is what makes this so alluring all at the same time. 

I try not to spend too much money going out to eat during solo travels but on days when its cold, rainy, and you have no food, scope out multiple local establishments.
Which was totally worth it when visiting Kanab, Utah:
Rocking V cafe: 
Kanab Creek Bakery 
 The foods is fresh, home cooked, great service and environment.

As the skies begin to let up and show some light shining through, I start making the drive back to Coral Sands for the rest of the day.
And then the clouds role right back in.... Grey patches at first morphing into a gray quilt thrown over the last bit of light struggling to peek through.
 I don't pay to much mind and venture further into the dunes.
Winds pick up.
Oh look hail.

Now, I'm not prepared for this at all. But this is part of the art of experience. 
Yes, i'ts cold. Yes, I will get soaked. Yes, I will have to go into my small vehicle where I sleep completely soaked but who cares? All of that passes. You will dry off but that brilliant moment when the sky clashes with ferocity against those glowing red hills, that wont last forever. 
You say yes and keep going even when you don't have
 all the tools to move forward and simply find the courage to learn along the way.

The white & reds blending together 🎔

*Now how many other hikers will come out wandering through a hail storm?*
Fingers are frozen. 
Luckily, I see a few people making their way across the dunes. 
I typically use random hikers as silhouettes in my images. This ongoing project titled "Ant Farm" is a collection of images that are all synchronistic  moments in time. Typically disappearing as fast as they came to be.
Basically, Im just your average woman peeping tom running around with a long lens following people from a distance. 
What a life. 

The initial results are mediocre. The photographs don't match the dazzling 
conditions playing out in front of my iced over eyelashes. 
When is it safe to say "I tried",  then give up and blast the heat in my car and 
find some warm tea? I think to myself numerous times.
I'm often dealing with self sabotaging thoughts through physically or creatively straining conditions.  I want to give up, say screw this and go be warm and comfortable but something always stops me.   You learn to weed through the voices in your head all the way to the little seed of truth we all carry deep within us. An ember ever burning, ever yearning for whats around the next corner.  

These scenarios are good learning experiences to decipher what to do when something creative is not happening fast enough. I've learned you basically keep moving to stay warm and keep shooting. 

This storm is now supposed to last well into the night.
^ My grey steed waiting for me. 

When I am in a very remote area or weather conditions are harsh like this, there tends to be less people around. In those cases, I will fill in as a silhouette. I dress in all black, set my tripod up and use the wifi on my camera. Below is my camera wrapped up in a old cheap poncho I covered gear with once. No time to get back to the car so this will just have to do. 

An hour goes by. 30 more minutes. 
I'm drenched. 
Some hooded man appears with his dog and is staring me down. 
Ah, the joys of being a solo blonde woman on the road. 
I roll my eyes, put on my screw off face while simultaneously a slight wave of panic sets in.
My set of rules to live by when I am traveling alone:
 Always be aware of your surroundings. 
Never tell anyone you are alone. 
Trust your gut( It literally cant lie to you) 
Leave if it feels weird (because it probably is and getting the photo isn't worth your safety)
Get some mace
Text someone your location.

Crisis averted. He eventually leaves. 

The winds flinging around hail begin to simmer down and alas, there in the distance, there she is. 
A photo.
Taking form right before me. 
 Mesmerizing white patterns of hail criss cross and intertwine themselves
 through the coral dune floor.  
Now slowing down their maddening decedent to their eminent doom against the sand all the while knowing they will eventually reincarnate back into the heavens above. 
A hiker is braving the remains of the snow, eager to reach at least one dune and bring back the vibrant memory of conquering this landscape through a stormy evening. 

Camera on. Feet somewhat unfrozen. Eyes focused. I am off .

Tea time at last

^ 5:00-6:00am. Around 8 degrees by 4am 
Last evenings hail storm left the trees, road and the inside of my car windows a crystallized wonderland. My sleeping quarters for the evening were the parks campgrounds ( which were quiet nice!)
I am sleeping on 4 inch memory foam, folded in half, sleeping bag and an additional down blanket for nights like this, as well as being fully clothed. The cold definitely woke me up earlier than normal that morning. A luxury to have a vehicle to keep warm (ish) in. 
A memory flash of the previous days male figure gives me chills down my spine that Im being watched. I look around and its beautifully silent and peaceful. I am indeed alone.  

Start the car
Warm up
 Put my cold contacts in 
Brush my teeth
 Scrape off the frost on the windshield 
Breathe in the dazzling night sky hovering above me 
and set off. 
 Onward North. 


Popular posts from this blog

Behind the Shot #1 West Fjords, Iceland