Deborah Hughes shares an experience that aside from the humbling, taught her much about herself and the tools and preparation needed to keep her safe when hiking alone
The desert is a land of extremes. Miles of parched, dusty dunes interrupted by vertical sandstone walls can shape-shift in an instant when a microburst storm turns dry washes into rivers. Blistering heat dries the receding waters and quicksand into ridged mud flats. In winter, canyons hold the cold with morning fog coating every surface with the promise of an ass-over-teakettle trip. It is these wild and varying weather patterns and the remnants of their impact that lure the wandering photographer to the desert’s bed.
To be taken in by the light and novel scenes afforded on a trek into southern Utah's backcountry is easy. With or without a camera, the experience of travelling on foot down steep rock falls and across open mesas with few trails or footprints connects one’s humanity with the earth and other living species in ways most never experience. There are growing numbers who visit wild places however, and along with pressure from those desiring motorized access and new roads cut through the middle of nowhere for the extraction of oil and gas resources, the photograph is quickly becoming an historical document of landscapes lost. What most viewers fail to see in the recent photograph of dreamy light rays streaming into Antelope Canyon in Arizona, purportedly sold for $6.5 million, is the …
Read this and many more articles in High Definition inside Issue 52 of Landscape Photography Magazine.