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Over the years I find that I am drawn to the lesser known places when I go out to make photographs. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy taking the grand vistas at popular locations, and have taken my share of images at these iconic locations, but I find it harder and harder to find the inspiration for unique compositions with social media inundated with photographs of these places.
In the mid 1990s while on a family vacation in southern Utah, we happened upon Kodachrome Basin State Park while on the way to another location. Kodachrome Basin is just to the east of the more popular Bryce Canyon National Park in southern Utah. Spaces were available in the campground so we stayed there overnight. I was fascinated with the geology and geography of the area and spent time the next morning hiking around the trails surrounding the campground. I did not get any images of the park because we were moving on to a new location that day. As we left, I vowed to return for some serious photography.
Fast forward twenty-five or so years and we were planning a trip to southern Utah with our daughter and son-in-law. They invited us to meet them in Kodachrome Basin. I said “yes” before the invitation sentence was completed. This time I was not going to leave before taking some images!
This particular image was taken just after sunset on our second day in the park. It is not the one I planned on taking, though. What I wanted was an image with the last light caressing the very tip of the pinnacle in the center of this photo with the surrounding sandstone ridge and cliffs in shadow. My son-in-law and I set up in another location nearby to take that image and waited for the moment. Just as it was about to happen, the light was extinguished in the blink of an eye. I should have done more research before arriving at the park because a ridge between the setting sun and this formation had blocked the soft evening light of sunset. The photograph I wanted would not be this time (it needs to be taken during winter when the sun is oriented more to the south as it sets).
Following the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” we frantically searched for a new composition not willing to call it a day and go back to camp quite yet. The light was fading very quickly as we scrambled around. My son-in-law spotted this view first and began to take a series of images. Following him I set up and composed this shot as quickly as I could. I was able to take a series of images as the light slowly faded into night. This one is the second in that sequence.
Each time I look at this image, I can still remember the soft breath of a breeze and utter quiet of that evening. This is what photography is all about for me: being out in beautiful locations; soaking up the sights, sounds, and feelings of the moment; and then trying to capture those emotions in an image.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor