Capitol Reef NP, Utah, USA by Betsy Botsford

Picture Story

I went out to Capitol Reef National Park in the spring of 2018 with no agenda except to try to capture something unique and not shoot the iconic locations. This was my second trip to Capitol Reef. I did very little research prior to the expedition so I would have no pre-conceived images. I just wanted to find something new, something unique that would be my image. I didn't want to copy anyone else's work. I stopped at first at the Chimney Rock Loop trailhead. I was with my father, so we didn't go up the trail far, only enough to find a nice viewpoint. I set up my camera, but there was a heavy bank of clouds along the western horizon and the sunset in the west fizzled.

It was windy and cold that night. My father retreated back to the car. Just as I was too cold to continue, one small stream of light broke through illuminating this dead tree. The storm that was in the east looked ominous behind that magical light. The zigzag of the form of the tree captivated me, so I immediately changed my focus away from the west where nothing was happening and spent a quick happy couple of minutes capturing the dynamic contrast of the storm and the exposed tree. The light was brilliant but short lived, so I had to work fast. This image reminds me of the thin line that exists in the desert between life and death. It provides the reminder that without water life doesn't continue and only the bones remain. This image has since become a favorite on my website and has sold many copies, much to my surprise.

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