Monday, October 12, 2009

Capital Reef National Park, Utah ~ Days 1 & 2

The last time I was in this part of the world I was on a quest to cover as much sightseeing as possible with my travel companion that is now my wife. I unfortunately only took a few pictures on our journey and I was shooting film those days. I really did not have the skills to produce any pictures that was able to capture the vastness of the landscape nor the incredible beauty.

This trip was to hopefully settle my score with my past regrets of not having the ability to show you what I see in this incredible part of the world. What better way to do that than to go with a Marc Muench Workshop. This was the third trip that I have enjoyed working with Marc. I have been known to be very critical and disappointed of photo workshops but with Marc and his entourage I have nothing but overwhelming praise.

One the way to Grand Junction to meet up with the gang of photographers my connection flight in Denver was delayed an hour with my already a 3 hour layover. This seems to be a common theme for me when I go through Denver. Instead of sulking, I decided to walk around the terminal. I heard some music being played a few gates over so I decided to sit and listen to the entertainment. After listening to these guys for awhile I was able to muster up the nerve to go talk to them and ask if I may take a photo of them while playing. They introduced themselves as the Blue Canyon Boys and agreed to allow me to take a shot. I must personally thank the Blue Canyon Boys for their terrific entertainment in what could of been a very long, tedious and boring time waiting for my connection flight. Instead, I was thoroughly entertained with many others by the great bluegrass music that was filling the terminals.

By the time I arrived in Grand Junction I was ready to go out and shoot. The only problem is that I had to wait until the next morning before I start my adventure into and around Capital Reef National Park.

The group started off early (5am) to try and capture views from Colorado National Monument before sunrise. I failed miserably with this task. My composition missed by a mile. It was a little dark to compose, focus and guess what the correct long exposure will be. First day shooting was more of a lesson than getting a great shot. Thanks to Marc for the quick tip on how to focus in dark situations using a wide angle lens. He suggested focusing in the dark by aiming at something bright, adjust the focus to achieve sharp edges and then realign to compose the shot I originally wanted. The technique worked, but the photographer failed. Oh well, lots more practice in the coming days.

Mis-composed and under exposed shot of Independence rock and the city view of Grand Junction from the Colorado National Monument.

After my first disappointment, I started to get a hang of composing in the dark, correct exposure and to achieve what I was envisioning.

Here are a few sunset shots from Grand View in Colorado National Monument.

One of the great highlights of day 2 besides the great scenery was where we had dinner. One would not think such a restaurant like Cafe Diablo would exist in a such a small town like Torrey, Utah population of only 120 but you would be very wrong. The food and presentation was superb and a great surprise for a self proclaimed foody like myself.

I ordered a couple of appetizers rather than an entrée just so I could try as much variety as possible. Everything I tasted was excellent and every dish I saw was a piece of art on a plate. I even had my G10 to be able to capture some of the food art on our plates.

I only was able to catch some of our plates but you get the idea.

Firecrackers ~ Ladyfingers, Cherry Bomb and M80 , VERY HOT!!!! yummy

Cobb Salad

Rattle Snake Cakes

Beef Flank Steak Carbon

Pecan Chicken

After Day 2 was over, I started to feel a little more confident but not near where I wanted to be with my photo taking of such awe inspiring scenery. As the days progressed, I not only felt more comfortable but started to actually feel as if my shots were progressing to a state of respect that Capital Reef National Park demands.

Day 3......cont.

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