Category Archives: Utah

La Sal Mountains

The La Sal Mountains are a prominent feature in the desert landscape near Moab, Utah and act as a stark contrast to the sandstone and canyons surrounding Moab. This past winter as we were driving down the Potash Road the La Sals stood out fully covered with snow as the foreground leading up to the mountains were still filled with fall colors and the different textures of the sandstone and canyons leading up to the magnificent range of mountains.

La Sal Mountains

Capture Notes:

Also posted in Fuji X-T1, La Sal Mountains, Moab Tagged , , , |

A River Runs Through It – Dead Horse Point

This is Dead Horse Point at sunrise. One of my many wonderful trips with Ryan Wright over the past couple of years. This is one of the most amazing places at sunrise. This image captured some of the detail along the bottom of the canyon at Dead Horse point, where the Colorado River carved out its curve through the canyon.  It’s one of many horse shoe curves along the river as it runs south. The reflection below of the canyon walls in the river caught my eye and it’s most noticeable in the morning light. It is such a beautiful site and one I’m itching to get back to soon.

A sunrise reflection at Dead Horse Point State Park near Moab, Utah

Sunrise Reflection at Dead Horse Point | Click to Enlarge

Capture Notes:

Also posted in Canon 5D Mk III, Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8L USM, Colorado River, Dead Horse Point State Park, landscape, Moab, VSCO Tagged , , , , |

12 Best Landscapes 2013

Starting today I’m giving you a look back at my year and giving you my 12 favorite landscapes for 2013. I’ll be posting two of my favorites each day, except on Christmas, from now till the end of the year with a special post on New Years!  Let’s get started with the 12 Best Landscapes 2013!

The journey began this year with one of my favorite locations, Moab, Utah.  Moab is located just outside two National Parks, Arches and Canyonlands and some of the most scenic places in the county.  This year it was the host location for the NXNW photo blogger’s tour and Justin Balog and myself were host to some great photobloggers.  Be sure to check out their blogs and  their beautiful work. (Michael Criswell, Mark GarbowskiBob Lussier, Chris Nitz,  Dave Wilson). Yes we experiences some amazing scenery, but mostly creating friendships that will last a lifetime.

One of the iconic locations we visited was Delicate Arch and so we wanted to capture it at sunset and then hang around and so some light painting of the arch. We happened to run into another tour group that was going to light paint the arch as we’ll  and it just happened to be led by non other than photographer Dave Black. Such a fun evening outing in the desert southwest.  Here’s the result of that evening’s excursion, a light painting of Delicate Arch.

Delicate Arch Light Painting

Delicately Glowing – Click to Enlarge

My travels this year then took me back to Grand Teton National Park with photographer Ryan Wright.  We hit Grand Teton early in the summer and was able to capture much the Tetons with snow-capped peaks. The Tetons are such a spectacular mountain range and so different front the mountains here in Colorado. There are no foothills and the peaks just rise straight up in dramatic fashion.

One of my favorite icons is along Mormon Row and the iconic Thomas Moulton Barn. It’s just spectacular at sunrise and develops this patina finish as the sun rises in the morning. The Thomas Alma Moulton Barn celebrated its 100th Birthday this year! It’s such a beautiful site.  I never get tired of looking at it.

T.A. Moulton Barn

TA Moulton Barn – Click to Enlarge

Also posted in Arches National Park, barn, Canon 5D Mk II, Delicate Arch, Grand Teton National Park, Moulton, Wyoming Tagged , , , , , |

Moonrise over Arches

One of the things a full moon is not good for is capturing stars.  The full moon is like the sun and blows out the sky around it. I was in Arches National Park last year with the SWSX Photographers tour group back in April and it was a few days prior to a full moon.  We only had a few hours of night-time sky to capture the stars before the big moon came out.

Once the moon came out the stars began to dissipate, but I decided to shoot directly into the moon rise just over the arches and capture it like similar to a sunrise just as it peaked over a opening in the formations. The stars were still somewhat visible but it the bright moon created a silhouette affect for the formations and haloed over the rock formations like a sunrise.

This image kind of reminds me of the Christmas Star over the baby’s manger.  I hope you are all having a wonderful Holiday season! I’m rather enjoying some time off and spending time with my family and I hope you get to do the same.  Have a great week everyone!

Moonrise over Arches

Moonrise over Arches National Park, Moab, Utah

Capture Notes:

Also posted in Arches National Park, astrophotography, Canon 5D Mk II, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, moon Tagged , , , , |

Public Restroom Cisco Utah

Here’s a little change of pace today from Cisco, Utah.  Cisco is a ghost town in Utah near the junction of SR-128 and I-70. At one time the town served as a saloon and water-refilling station for the Denver Rio Grande Western Railroad. The town has many remnants of the railroad glory days, but now has been filled with abandoned vehicles and has become victim of vandals and heavy damage. This town is perfect for a little HDR photography and shooting the town at the high noon hour it’s also a chance to use your black and white photography to capture contrasts.

I decide to mix the two today and create a little piece of Americana today. Here’s my artistic vision on the town’s public restroom (outhouse) that sits on the edge of town with the La Sal Mountains as a backdrop. I wanted to give this image an old yellowed film image look. This is a 5-image HDR processed in Nik Software’s HDR Efex Pro 2 and then finalized it in Silver Efex Pro 2.

Public Restroom - Cisco Utah

Public Restroom – Cisco Utah – Click to Enlarge/Purchase

Capture Notes:

Also posted in Canon 5D Mk II, Canon EF 24-70 f/2.8L USM, Cisco, HDR, La Sal Mountains, Nik Software, Silver Efex Pro 2 Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Textures of a Canyonlands Sunrise

There is something awe-inspiring about the textures, layers and tonal compression created by a Canyonlands sunrise. This last trip to Mesa Arch I ventured off for a little perspective of a Canyonlands sunrise and captured this image just after the sun rose above the horizon. I used a Circular Polarizer and a Singh-Ray 3-Stop Graduated ND to tone down the sun and then texture blended 3 exposures to create the textures and a hint of some God beams across the canyon buttes. I considered a black and white image here, but there was something about the warm textures in this color swayed me from converting it to monochrome.

The Textures of a Canyonlands Sunrise

The Textures of a Canyonlands Sunrise | Click to Enlarge/Purchase

Capture Notes:

Also posted in Canon 5D Mk II, Canyonlands, Color Efex Pro 4, landscape, Mesa Arch, Moab, nature, Nik Software, southwest, sunrise Tagged , , , , , , |

Double Arch

The NxNW Crew had such a good time light painting Delicate Arch we decided to head to a new location. After navigating down the path from Delicate Arch with headlamps we ventured over to Double Arch, which is in the Windows area of Arches National Park. We interrupted a couple doing some time-lapse work and so we waited patiently for them to finish and hoped that we could light paint Double Arch before the Full Moon rose that evening.

I was finally able to test out the Brinkmann Dual Xenon Spotlight. Let me just say this thing has some intense power and was more than enough to light Double Arch. I had actually tested it a few times at Delicate Arch and was able to light the arch with a single beam from 50-75 yards away. I’m sure that with both beams active the light is really intense. It’s a fantastic light for light painting and it’s also rechargeable so you don’t have to constantly feed it batteries. It come’s with a car charger so when you are in remote locations you can just plug it into your car’s cigarette lighter and don’t have to look for a plug.

With some experimenting and advice from Dave Wilson we realized that hitting an object straight on from the camera’s perspective gave the Arch a flat look. Chris Nitz was kind enough to take over the reigns and did the light painting honors from the left side of the arch. He climbed up into a clearing and painted the arch while we triggered our cameras. Lighting an object from the side allows the object to still show its texture and shape and give’s it a much more natural look.

Double Arch by Rick Louie Photography

Double Arch – Click to Enlarge/Purchase

Brinkmann Dual Xenon Spotlight by Rick Louie Photography

Brinkmann Dual Xenon Spotlight

Capture Notes:

Also posted in Arches National Park, Canon 5D Mk II, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, Double Arch, Light Painting, long exposure, Moab, stars Tagged , , , , , , , |

Light Painting Delicate Arch

One of my goals this NXNW Photography trip to Moab was to do some light painting and so the group decided that the first spot would be to Delicate Arch for sunset and then hang around for the sun to go down and to paint the famous arch. If you have never been to Delicate Arch it’s a strenuous 1.5 mile hike up slick rock and I found out that carrying a large backpack with multiple lenses and lighting gear that I wasn’t in much in shape as I was the previous time.  It’s definitely something I need to work on and one of my goals for this year.

We arrived to find a large crowd waiting for sunset.  It was like a party except there wasn’t a feature band there ready to play.  People had wine and cheese, just sitting around for the sunset. It’s definitely more crowded during this busy season than in the Winter when I like to go out to the Moab area.

When it finally came time to light up the arch there was another group there doing a workshop and it was led by non-other than the exceptional sports photographer Dave Black.  We had run into Dave Black and his workshop group the previous day while we were at Cisco, Utah so it was coincidence that bumped into the group again. I had hoped to tryout my new Brinkmann Dual Xenon Spotlight in light painting Delicate Arch, but allowed Dave to do the work.  He was kind and allowed us to participate with his group since we had gone up for the same activity.

I did come away with the image I was looking for which was a bonus. I call it Delicately Glowing. Tomorrow I’ll share with you Light Painting at Double Arch again and with the use of the Brinkmann.

Be sure to check out the blogs of the other NxNw Photographers.  They are sharing their images from Moab as well.

Justin Balog Michael Criswell Mark Garbowski Bob Lussier Chris Nitz Dave Wilson

Light Painting Delicate Arch by Rick Louie Photography

Delicately Glowing – Click to enlarge/purchase

Capture Notes:

Also posted in Arches National Park, Canon 5D Mk II, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, Delicate Arch, Light Painting, long exposure Tagged , , , , , , , |

Fisher Towers

This past weekend I went out to Moab, Utah with the North by Northwest group of photographers. It was a great time and we captured some amazing images, but mostly it was time we spent creating good friendships and memories that will last a lifetime. I can’t wait for the 2014 trip!

We drove from Colorado to Moab and went in along the scenic River Road (SR-128).  Along the route are the Fisher Towers which are about 20 miles southeast of Moab, Utah and some of the most scenic landscapes along the Colorado River. The rock formations of varying colors of red, brown, maroon created from the iron ore content continue to erode and create new shapes and spires in this ever-changing landscape. The snow-capped La Sal Mountains and created a nice backdrop for the sandstone spires jutting up from the Professor Valley. I ultimately decided to process this image in black and white. The mid-afternoon sun seemed to washout the colors for me and a monochrome image gave me the contrast I was looking for in the image.

Fisher Towers

Fisher Towers – Click to Enlarge/Purchase

I will be sharing more of the images from this trip over the coming weeks, but be sure to check out some of my fellow photo bloggers sites for their images and perspectives from the trip.

North X Northwest Photographers:

Justin Balog

Mike Crisswell

Mark Garbowski

Robert Lussier

Chris Nitz

Dave Wilson

Capture Notes:

Also posted in Canon 5D Mk II, Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS II USM, Color Efex Pro 4, Fisher Towers, La Sal Mountains, Nik Software, Professor Valley, River Road Tagged , , , , , , , , , |

Merrick Butte

Monument Valley has been the location for many western films and is the vision of what people think of the American Southwest. This image here is of Merrick Butte with the East Mitten Butte to the left of Merrick. The famous triangle of buttes is in this same location which include these two buttes along with a third West Mitten Butte and can be seen in the Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. The harsh sun wasn’t ideal for images, but I was able to use the wispy clouds and use the contrast for the shot of Merrick Butte. I didn’t get enough time to really explore the area this trip.  I plan on coming back with a more strategic plan next time and hopefully capture the area during the light at sunrise and sunset.

East Mitten and Merrick Butte in Monument Valley, Utah

East Mitten and Merrick Butte in Monument Valley, Utah | Click to Enlarge and Purchase

Capture Notes:

Also posted in Arizona, b&w, butte, Canon 5D Mk II, Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM, clouds, desert, East Mitten, landscape, Merrick Butte, Monument Valley, Nik Software, Silver Efex Pro 2 Tagged , , , , , , , , , |