When I thought about Zion National Park, what came to my mind was the grand vista of red rock mountains. Yes, those mountains are truly breathtaking. But after spending three days in the park last October, I realized that it was the Virgin river that kept my imagination flowing. I spent two entire days wondering along the river bed to observe those magical reflections.
Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park is such an iconic place that every landscape photographer wants to have a photo of sunrise there. So, we decided to go to capture our own versions of Mesa Arch. When we arrived at the parking lot before dawn, there were about 5 vehicles there including a large van. We looked at each other and thought it must be crowded. A short hike later, we saw the famous arch with about 10 tripods lined up in front of it. Reluctantly, we squeezed between photographers and setup our tripods. My hope of capturing something unique was already out of window at this moment. 15 minutes before sunrise, there came a bus load of 30 some tourists. My inner peace was out of window. Nevertheless, the sunrise at Mesa Arch is breathtaking. Every photographer and non-photographer should have their own versions of the view, not for the sake of capturing a unique image, but for the soul cleansing experience through the mother nature.
I dreamed of the sky of my childhood when I slept under the stars and counted through my dreams. For years, I had the same dream, being in a milky and endless universe that I can’t reach the end. That dream has being long gone since I came to the cities of modern world, where we build walls and roofs to limit our vision, where we light up the sky to mask true light.
Here I am. Twenty six miles off road into Castle Valley with my photographer friend Yiming. I saw once again the Milky Way in those dreams.
I drove to White Sand National Monument in a dark, windy and rainy January Morning. When I arrived, I realized that there was a car at the parking lot already. I gathered my camera gear and went up the dune in the light rain. Here they were. On top of the dune, stood a young couple with their Nikon and monopod. So I started to chat with them while waiting for the weather to clear. They told me that they were college students from Arizona. It was the boy’s birthday today. The girl, who grew up in New Mexico, decided to take her photographer boy friend to White Sand for his birthday. They drove 8 hours and slept in car so that they could catch the first light. As we were chatting, the rain stopped and the cloud started to clear. It was beauty and love before my eyes.