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This image was the period at the end of a photo outing session at Dead Horse State Park, Moab, Utah, USA. I had spent the better part of 2 hours waiting for sunset to arrive. My objective was to capture the curve of the Colorado River deep below in the red rock canyon. Sunset turned out to be pretty mediocre. I began to pack up when I noticed this juniper tree a bit above me silhouetted against the soft sunset sky. It was one of the few surviving trees in this desolate high desert landscape. It had character. It was a survivor. It managed to put roots down and grow despite the fact that there was no soil to speak of.
I immediately decided I wanted to create an image that portrayed isolation and survival. There was much more foreground than the image reveals. I framed it so that the tree was the center of attention and in isolation. So, I took the photo from where I stood lower than the tree and a distance away. Using a telephoto lens I framed it against the sky. It was windy and it occurred to me I might be able to smear the clouds with a longish exposure. At ISO 80 2.5 seconds was the best I could do with the light quickly waning.