• flowers,  Landscape,  Travel

    Blossom ends, friendship lasts

    It’s been for two weeks and two days, every day very special and filled with exciting photographic moments. Two men got closer about photography, art and life. It’s over now. We had to go home.

    On a turn-out along the I5 near Lost Hills we stopped to change drivers. There we found fields of blooming almond trees with a lovely and sweet fragrance in the air. Following a verdict attributed to John Wayne („A man’s got to do what a man’s got to do“) we immediately grabbed our cameras and did what photographers have to do.

    Almond trees in bud © Julian Köpke

    After a certain amount of time, when the almond blossom is over, Harold’s and my friendship will last and life gets even better. Provided you like almonds and you don’t have any dietary restrictions.

  • Landscape,  Travel

    Zion

    The region around Zion National Park is already more and more beautiful. Taking a short hike to the overlook and finally to Virgin Narrows were our last spots for this travel.

    Zion Canyon overlook © Julian Köpke
    Virgin narrows trail © Julian Köpke
  • Landscape,  Texture,  Travel

    Road to Kanab

    Farewell to Maob, farewell to Eric. He knew every inch of this place like the back of his hand. Everybody goes in his direction. New friends, few words.

    Our destination for the day is Page, we finally reach Kanab. Short branch out to the Valley of the Gods. It’s a lovely place, a bit of haze, not the best of light.

    Valley of the Gods © Julian Köpke

    Before the border to Arizona the rocks of Monument Valley build up and we let it pass us over a pass road.

    Monument Valley pass road © Julian Köpke

    This region belongs to the Navajo nativ Americans. A tribal park is signposted. A packed car stops beneath us, a young man likely nativ steps out and begs for money in obscure language. His tongue is lame, probably due to the long-term effects of incorporated substances. Sad.

    Monument Valley pass road © Julian Köpke
  • Landscape,  Travel

    Tower Arch

    It is not the worst thing to have a light and variable cloudiness with sunny parts dominating the day. Our first stop is Needles Overlook, which offers another opportunity to see the erosion of Colorado River.

    Needles Overlook © Julian Köpke
    Needles Overlook © Julian Köpke

    In the afternoon we drove our car, which had been baptized Blue Ganesha, a road to Tower Arch that was only approved to 4WD. Thanks to the excellent driving skills of our driver Eric, we not only reached the finish line, but also found our way back to the hotel. He was entitled for a free dinner.

    Tower arch is a rock formation that resembles an islamic fortress. Only few reached this place. Good for photographers.

    Sunset at Tower Arch © Julian Köpke
  • Landscape,  Travel

    Arches National Park

    In Arches National Park one is ubiquitously filled with beauty. Unfortunately not everything can be reproduced photographically. Only some things lead to beautiful images.

    The raven was not alone. The birds had specialized in parking lots. They should not be fed, of course.

    Raven at Balanced Rock © Julian Köpke

    The red rocks ar richly structured. Some structures were created in millions of years by the erosion of the water, some by rockfall. The Green River and the Colorado River meet here and form a confluence.

    Arches National Park © Julian Köpke

    Famous became Balanced Rock. The picture explains everything.

    Balanced Rock Moab Arches Ntl Park © Julian Köpke

    Near the Courthouse Tower. You can guess how judges deliberate.

    Courthouse Towers Arches Ntl Park © Julian Köpke

    The Arches National Park is located between the Henry Mountains in the west and the La Sal Mountains in the east.

    La Sal Mountains © Julian Köpke
  • Landscape,  Travel

    Moab

    Who’d thought it ? The company that supplies me with printerpaper named itself after a place in Utah, which is located in Arches national Park. There is certainly no deeper wisdom behind it. Leaving Escalante via Capital Reef National Park. There one could marvel at petroglyphs. If you turned around, wonderfully white trees shone towards you.

     

    Capital Reef Trees © Julian Köpke

    Similarly, the name Dead Horse Point does not make sense for a geological formation of the Colorado River, which shows a footpath near a bend of the river that runs together with the river. These tracks will certainly be less persistent and pass away faster than the whole valley.

  • Landscape,  Travel

    Grand Staircase – Escalante

    From the beginning we had to reveal how long we would stay in Escalante. A hike to the slot canyons Peek-a-Boo, Spooky and Dry Fork put a quick end to all wishful thinking. Very narrow Canyons, little promising light and sometimes difficult climbs made this clear to us.

    On a pleasant morning we got first to Devil’s garden.

    Escalante Devil's garden © Julian Köpke

    The narrow canyons were the work of erosion caused by water flowing fast for a long time – long ago. The reflections of sunlight on the walls of these aka slot canyons occasionally created a shimmer of orange and rosé at the bottom which was promising to photograph.

    Dry Fork Canyon Escalante © Julian Köpke

    At the end of the day we were given the best light in the world. Grand Staircase is a great natural spectacle that surprises again and again. Don’t count your chicken before they hatch.

  • Landscape,  Travel

    Death Valley to Escalante

    Early morning at Zabriskie Point before leaving for Escalante. Many photographers with us. It is cold. No flashes so far. A women sits on a camping seat enjoying the scene with her eyes only.

    Zabriskie Point at sunrise © Julian Köpke
    Zabriskie Point at sunrise © Julian Köpke

    A long drive to Escalante follows. Along the borders of Zion. More and more snow. Camping in wilderness wouldn’t be fun. Dixie National forest welcomes us.

    Thirty years ago we came over from Arizona to hike in Bryce Canyon. At that time our hike was very extensive and lasted one day. We took an overview at the end of the day which was sobering, almost disappointing.

    Today was no time left for a hike. At Sunset Point we made some photographs with snow and a path downwards not showing where it is heading to.

    Bryce Canyon Sunset View © Julian Köpke
  • Landscape,  Texture,  Travel

    Getting into Death Valley

    We had a whole day available to drive from Mojave to Furnace Creek. The morning began hazily and with scattered dust devils. At the Pinnacles we go a real sandstorm.

    The long straight streets with poles often make me dream of an infinite world.

    Poles © Julian Köpke

     A sandstorm lets you stop all thoughts about infinity. Suddenly the safety of the equipment becomes much more important.

    Sandstorm near Pinnacles © Julian Köpke

    This train is on a siding for decades. The diffusion effect of the sandstorm showed the abandonment nicely.

    Train on a siding © Julian Köpke
    Sandstorm at pinnacles © Julian Köpke
    Pinnacles © Julian Köpke

    After check-in in our incredibly expensive, but the only hotel in the area we immediately headed for Zabriskie Point. These structures show no scale at all and allow the imagination to run wild.

    Zabriskie Point at sunset © Julian Köpke
    Zabriskies Point at sunset © Julian Köpke

    Personally I liked most a wild boar at the south end.

    Sleeping wild boar at Zabriskie Point © Julian Köpke
  • Travel,  Yosemite National Park

    From Yosemite Valley to Death Valley

    Today gusty winds at Tunnel View. I didn’t feel challenged to leave a fully extended tripod to the gusts. With low setup and the cheaper camera with long focal length I made a composition of the valley. We only had one hour, which was far too short at the end. It was, so to say, the last elephant of this safari.

    Tunnel view at Yosemite Valley © Julian Köpke

    The violent gusts the night before had toppled many trees. Over Route 140 we could still leave the valley and drove via Fresno and Bakersfield to Mojave. Behind Bakersfield we drove through a gentle hilly landscape with green meadows. Often only the hilltops were inhabited and the beautiful houses were surrounded by trees.

    Gentle green hills © Julian Köpke
    Near Caliente © Julian Köpke

    A single tree seemed to stand out in the skies.

    Tree in the skies © Julian Köpke