Frozen Deserts…

Have you ever felt the need to be “anywhere but here”?

Over the last several weeks I have been getting that feeling, that all of my photographic talents were tied to only being used for work and school. I felt like I no longer was able to go out and take photos the way I wanted to take photos, to spend hours exploring or waiting for the perfect moment to capture a moment for eternity.

It was time to escape from life for a day!

Times like this is one reason of a multitude why I am thankful I have such an amazing and supportive husband. I, originally, had only wanted the later part of the afternoon and that night to go out on my little photo adventure. But after baby’s breakfast and she was down for her nap he very nearly kicked me out with camera in hand, told me to have the ENTIRE day to myself.

Since moving to Idaho I have been wanting to take a drive down to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. I have been doing a lot of studying lately on night photography and I have read that this is one of the top locations for night photography.PAH_0469

It is about a three hour drive from my house and I swear the moment I passed into Nevada the life of the desert took over…nothingness. And nothingness continued for hours and hours, bounding hills went rolling as did I. Once I arrived I dipped over the crest of the hill and I found a blinding patch of white in a valley of nothingness.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I started my drive, but here I was. Sadly, my first thought was “so this is what it would look like if hell froze over”. 110 degrees of frost, or what it looked like. Driving out on the actual salt flats you would almost think that you were driving on a frozen lake. The salt breaking under the pressure of the weight of my car sounds like driving down the road after the snow has melted in the heat of the afternoon only to ice over again with the dropping temperatures of the coolness of the night.

Only problem with this perfect scene, it was 2 o’clock in the afternoon and I came on this particular adventure to do some night photography…and the sun was high in the sky. Needless to say I had some time to kill. After arriving at the salt flats I wanted to get a lay of the land, little hint…it is flat. But I wanted to see how much I could get away with, since you have to get special permits to be allow to be out on the flats at night. I stumbled upon a motorcycle motor testing week!

It was like driving into the scene of one of the Fast and Furious movies, it looked exactly like Race Wars in the first Fast and Furious. Tents pitched with motorcycles underneath and teams of mechanics working on fine tuning the engines before they were taking out to the line to be tested.

Apparently it was too hot to be testing the engines when I arrived, at 110 degrees I couldn’t agree with them more, I honestly couldn’t figure out what any of them were doing out in the sun.

Once I had my fill of motorcycles and heat I decided it was time to venture on in my quest to kill time until nightfall. As I quickly figured out, which should have been obvious to me as I arrived…I was in the middle of the freaking desert! There was absolutely NOTHING around – nothing for nearly a hundred miles.

So decided that I was going to spend my day in Salt Lake City. PAH_0533

For all my years of travel I have never actually spent much time in Salt Lake City, I have both flown and driven through this city multiple times but I have never spent time in the city itself so it was time to explore a little. PAH_0546

The architecture around the city is beautiful, both Gothic and modern. A beautiful mixture between old and new in all things. Fountains in front of all of the main buildings, and built into the architecture of malls and state buildings. Then, of course, there is the Temple Square. Though I do not follow the Mormon religion, though I do find it a very interesting religion. I do also appreciate how much time and effort they put into the beautification of cities the religion is predominate in.

PAH_0573Throughout the city I found little pockets of treasures….PAH_0593

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I found this little treasure in the alley leading back towards the stage door of the Capital city theater! Drawings from little children where immortalized on the city walls! I loved the contrast between art and destruction, I felt like there is a hidden message there. PAH_0629

In front of the city center there is a collection of signs…You Are Here.

When it started to get dark I started to head back to the Salt Flats. Arriving just as the sun began to set, I found my place where I was going to make my camp for the next several hours. Just at the entryway of the Flats I found my corner, far in the back corner away from most traffic I found my nitch of darkness. PAH_0745

I was very thankful later on when the darkness consumed me and there was nothing but the universe all around me, that I had established my corner when I did. With traffic coming in and out of visitors and aspiring photographers there were several car lights that blemished shots, but where I was set up there were little areas where someone could mess up my shots.

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As the night drew on I was amazed on how much the universe just engulfed me where I stood. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. As the darkness drew it’s cold fingers around my shoulders I felt at peace. A kind of peace I hadn’t felt in a long time and a peace that was shown through my pictures…and for that I am blessed.  online copy

Traveling Photographer Out!

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