Images with the field stories, and one of the stories

FJ doing Murphy's Hardscrabble, White rim trail, Canyonlands NP

NOTE: THE FOLLOWING IS ONE OF THE 8 FIELD STORIES REPRINTED FROM EMAILS SENT AT THE TIME OF OUR RETURN FROM VARIOUS DESTINATIONS OF THE BOOK. THEY ARE ALL WRITTEN IN A CONVERSATIONAL TONE, RATHER THAN ACADEMICALLY, TO GIVE OUR READERS AN IDEA WHAT IT WAS LIKE BEING IN THE FIELD DOING OUR WORK- ENJOY!

From:         lalo@mariposareina.com
Subject:      Fall color
Date:      Oct 26, 2010, at 7:37 PM
                 To: all recipients        
Hi All,

As most of you know, we have been working on images from the Colorado Plateau for several years, hoping to eventually have a body of work for our fourth book. While looking at the images, which are mostly of geological formations, I decided that the work was sort of one-dimensional. As a result, we came up with the idea of making images of fall color. It turns out that an area of southern Utah in the Dixie National forest is known as one of the top fall color places in the whole US.

So, after figuring out the best times to go, we set off for Parowan Utah. This tiny town is at the western foothills of the forest; the ridge we worked on is a continuation of the ridge that part of Zion, and Cedarbreaks is on. Down the road from Parowan, about 2 miles, is the community of Paragonah- pronounced ParaGOONah, which is a "suburb" of the small town of Parowan where we stayed. Paragonah has no commerce, and a single paved highway through town with two unpaved side streets. It is not decrepit however. The road sign for this settlement says it all about just how far out in the boondocks we were. This is major hunting country, and they just don't want their windows shot out!

What we didn't figure on it rain! It rained the day we got there, and for several days after that. I don't mean gentle rain, I mean full on winter storm rain. We scouted the afternoon we arrived, traveling from ~6000ft to ~10500 ft msl. Rain at 6k, very cold rain at 8k, and heavy snow by 10000 feet. We looked at the area known as Yankee meadows ~8200ft, and the area known as Bear Flat ~10200 ft, looking for color. Since we have worked on the CO plateau in the fall previously, we were looking for oranges and reds, rather than the traditional yellow color of the aspens which is so common here, and which we have quite a bit of.

We found it! And it was swell. The only trouble was the rain, wind, cold and snow. The next morning we tried Bear Flats, and were turned back by the intensity of the snow and wind. We scouted around 400miles that day, hoping the following day would be dry. It wasn't. As the cold, rain and wind were making the leaves fall, we realized we had to step up and work in the rain. So, the next morning- yes the rain continued- we set off for Yankee meadow.

I know you have all seen livestock in a pasture during a storm, where they are all "tailed" into the wind. That is what we were. We were out in the thick of it. Believe it or not, once out, it was really exciting to be making images while dealing with the elements. We actually stayed pretty dry, but when we went back into town later, Evy suggested- and we did- go to the laundromat to dry our towels and some of the gear. While we stayed fairly dry, it was impossible not to get some of the stuff in the vehicle wet from opening and closing the doors as we moved around and dealt with the equipment.

ps: the painterly quality of the images from this shoot is due to the diffusion caused by shooting through the rain.

 

no shooting sign for town with only two unpaved streets

Mt. Hayden, Pt. Royal, N.rim Grand Canyon NP

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