Thursday, August 28, 2008

Photostory Friday: Magnificent Desolation

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek



Utah is a paradox. The state I live in is the thirteenth largest (in mass) of the fifty states. It's 84,904 square miles of the most dull landscape anywhere, punctuated by small oases of the most spectacular scenery on Earth (really, I suppose that could be said for all of the West). 


This fact was brought home to me again this past weekend, as we made a trip south, to St. George -- about as far from Farmington as you can get, and still be in Utah.  I live in northern Utah, at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains, with the Great Salt Lake to the west. I think it's a very pretty place, but the trip to St. George was so BORING! I love deserts, I think they are simplistically beautiful. But miles and miles (and miles and miles) of sage brush, do not a desert make. The only thing of interest on that 300 mile trip was one small, and seemingly out of place, emu and llama farm. 



But, then there are those other places. The national parks. The places with the amazing names: Delicate Arch, Island in the Sky, Angel's Landing, The Fiery Furnace, Dead Horse Point, Cedar Breaks. These places make you feel small and insignificant at the same time that they overwhelm you with gratitude for the chance to stand in God's footprint.



I find it ironic that all of these places are -- geologically -- in their final death throes. Water and wind and ice have taken these once verdant regions and created grotesquely, magnificent scenes. They are the landscapes of imagination. Who knew that destruction could be so beautiful?


The caribbean  and the tropics are often referred to as paradise, but two of the words most often associated with the West are Heaven and Hell. Sometimes, I think the difference between the two, is nothing more than a matter of intensity.


39 comments:

Alexandria said...

Absolutely stunning. Truly beautiful. These pictures are by far better than those I've seen and taken when on Dominican Republic and Mexico.

Pam Emmons said...

I love your Southern Utah shots. I need to frame a few.

Cecily R said...

Gorgeous shots. Stunning.

They make me want to take a little road trip yesterday.

beth said...

Beautiful shots!

We certainly do not have anything like that here in Massachusetts.

Mandy said...

Great pictures...it makes me miss UT and my UT buddies!

CrackerJacks said...

What lovely photos! Stunning!

Indrani said...

Thanks for the virtual tour to the place. Stunning shots.

Neutral Dwelling said...

Those are beautiful!!! I love them!

Tiaras & Tantrums said...

yep - paradise -for sure -
those photos are amazing, simply gorgeous!

Eve Grey said...

Fantastic photos.

scrappysue said...

i LOVED utah! i loved bryce canyon more than the grand canyon (and we even went to the quiet side!) utah rocks (lol). great post. awesome pics against the black of your blog background

lisaschaos said...

Utah is one of my favorite places! SO much beauty and you really captured it! I do not want to smell Salt Lake again though, that lake was stinky! And full of dead stuff, which might have accounted for the stench. ;)

imbeingheldhostage said...

Oh Chris, these photos are stunning. They made me homesick. I grew up in Page, so Lake Powell was my backyard. And there's nothing more beautiful than a moonlit hike through Bryce!

photomommy said...

All I can say is wow. Fabulous photos! :)

Chas said...

Wow, what beautiful pictures. If I lived within driving distance to such beautiful thinking ground, I'd never be home to make dinner, so it's probably good that I don't.

Shannon said...

Wow.....the photos are incredible but the words behind them were really thought provoking. I think you are right that there is a very fine line between heaven and hell and sometimes its all a matter of perception. That place you were photographing looks heavenly to me!

Rachel said...

Gorgeous Pictures!!!!

MamaGeek said...

Okay, THIS is my favorite PSF Of yours yet. TRULY STUNNING Chris. Each. and. every. one.

WOW.

I wanna visit Utah.

ValleyGirl said...

These pictures are magnificent! My parents have made several trips "down" to the west (we're up north on the Canadian prairies) and Utah is always their favourite. I'm sure they've got pictures of these same places.

They've visited so often, in fact, the running joke around here when they're planning a road trip is that they'll be heading to wherever, "via Utah, of course!"

Truly some of the most beautiful scenery in the world. And your photos capture it perfectly.

Karin said...

Aaaaaah, these pics are so beautiful. The scenery is stunning, hope I can witness it first-hand some day.

Peter Dyrholm said...

The arches is really a thing I would just love to see in person and how they change color from mid day to after sunset.
Beautiful photos you captured.

Laura@Storytellin' Mama said...

Beautiful pictures... I have the same feeling when we drive parts of Arizona to california to get home to the family... although there are some just stunning places in the desert!!

Krystyn said...

What beautiful pictures! I've never been to those parts of Utah. Breath-taking.

Robyn said...

Those are simply amazing shots. I will definetly have to check out some of those places the next time I visit my dad.

Cecilia said...

Absolutely GORGEOUS!

Susan said...

Gorgeous shots! I makes me want to hop on a plane right now and go enjoy the landscape of the West.

Sarah Brooks said...

Those were just breath taking. I was born in Murray, Utah but have not been back in over 20 years so I don't remember much of it. Thanks for sharing a little bit of "home" with me!

Candy said...

whoah!!! GREAT SHOTS!! I'm actually really tempted to steal the piano keys in your column....he..he... not really.

maybe though.

Lindsay said...

Those are goreous pics - and I'll agree with you on the west - mostly dull landscape with a little bit of WOW mixed in.

Holly at Tropic of Mom said...

Just wow.

CC said...

Gorgeous photos!!! I climbed to Delicate Arch and I. almost. died. Seriously 10 year olds in flip flops were prancing past me. I think I had heat stroke or something. Never again in August!

Supercool Hotmama said...

Truly Amazing photos, and I loved your prose too. Wow!

Let those kiddos make you some pancakes in the morning ;D

Kim said...

Your pictures are amazing! That is such a beautiful place.

Hannah Noel said...

Those are AMAZING pictures!!!

Wow! That is definitely going on my one-day-I-will-go-there-on-vacation list!!!

Thank you for sharing them with us =)

Carrie and Troy Keiser said...

Gorgeous photos. Beautiful places. So well written.

Pinky said...

Lovely shots, Chris.
Is this Monument Valley?
I've only been there once, but it was breath-taking.

Kelli @ Gohn Crazy said...

Gorgeous gorgeous pictures. I so badly want to travel out West.

Brandt! said...

Gorgeous photos!

CurryAndBarbie said...

Wow, Chris! Those are beautiful! I agree,that drive to St George can be SO boring! (I used to live there)However....the pictures that you took were incredible! And Angel's Landing is my all time favorite hike and gorgeous! I truly hope you are pursuing your photography! You are the best I've seen!
Barbie (Val's sister) :o)