I am one of those people who have registered for The Wave (North Coyote Buttes) lottery dozens of times and have never won a golden ticket. On the other hand, South Coyote Buttes is much easier to obtain a permit for, especially in the winter. I watched the forecast in early and mid-January 2023, hoping for a good chance of snow in the Buttes area AND with enough notice to get a permit and book a tour. (I didn't have 4WD at the time).
Everything worked out perfectly. The forecast was pretty solid for overnight on January 16th, and there were available permits, so I snagged one. I then made the trek out with one of the terrific guides at Dreamland Adventure Tours in Kanab, Utah (where I am based). The buttes had received about 3-4 inches of snow overnight, and the warming temps generated a lot of ground fog. The guide kept mentioning/apologizing that the fog was less than ideal, but I didn't mind a bit. Photography in this area is beautiful any time of year, but fog and snow are quite uncommon, so I was sure to get some unique images!
The guide refers to this particular rock formation as "The Leaning Tower of Pizza... Boxes" but is more commonly known as "The Control Tower". The fresh snow and moderate fog allowed for visual isolation of the individual rock towers as well as the sparse flora, giving the composition what I feel is like a holiday greeting card done in watercolors. I pushed the whites as high as possible while allowing a hint of detail to remain in the blanket of snow. A shallow depth of field puts the emphasis on the central tower itself, the star of the show.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor