Thursday, May 21, 2009

Photostory Friday: Standing there

PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek

I came across a story in the local newspaper this morning, about a website called This is a website where people can log on and tell stories and post pictures of the amazing places they have visited. You can also vote for the places that are already listed -- which are then compiled into a top 100 list. The lists are in constant flux as the votes are coming in (number one is always changing) -- until the voting closes. 

There are established lists for the UK and the United States, and some other areas, but they are currently compiling the list for the 100 Greatest Places to stand on Planet Earth. Some of the places in the running I have been to (the Golden Gate Bridge, the Las Vegas Strip), but most I haven't. 

I love things that take my breath away, and the list of places I would love to stand on this planet is almost endless (the pyramids of Giza, Machu Picchu, the Lincoln Memorial, the Great Wall of China...).

Though I haven't been to many places, some of the places I have been are spectacular. 

I'd like to share two with you, one made by the hand of man, one by the Hand of God. 

First: The Salt Lake Temple.


This is the building I was married in, so it holds a very special place for me, but beyond that, the story of it's construction is one of struggle and faith and sacrifice. 

More than once called the St Paul's of the American West, the Salt Lake Temple took forty years to build. It is constructed of granite blocks, quarried from a canyon twenty miles to the south. Those giant blocks were hauled -- essentially dragged -- from the quarry to the building site, sometimes taking as much as four days to haul a single block.  

Today you can still walk through the meadows of Little Cottonwood Canyon and see the debris of the stonecutters -- for me it's like touching the past, connecting with my own ancestors. 

Once the blocks made it to the building site, they were cut so precisely to fit together, that no mortar was used in the construction of the building. Many who laid the foundations of the Temple in 1853, were gone before it's dedication, in 1893. 

Every time I stand before the Salt Lake Temple, I stand in awe. 

Second: Mesa Arch, at sunrise. 

Utah is full of some astonishing natural landmarks, and I've seen many of them, including some that are more famous than this one -- particularly, Delicate Arch in Arches National Park (practically our state symbol). 

Mesa Arch is located in the Island in the Sky section of Canyonlands National Park. It's an incredible natural arch, poised on the precipice of a 1,500 foot cliff -- and I mean RIGHT on the edge (if you fell off, you could whistle three choruses of Yankee Doodle before you hit the ground).

But this isn't just a story of where, but when. Many people visit Mesa Arch during the course of a year -- almost none of them comes at the right time. 

Mesa Arch, Sunday morning, just before sunrise. 

 As you stand before the arch,  amongst the boulders and sage brush, you are treated to a show like no other. The sun comes over the Eastern horizon like a nuclear blast. It fills the ancient valley with golden light, and blazes right through the center of the arch. For nearly five minutes it sets the sandstone on fire, changing it from brown to yellow to orange to red and back.


And the only other people I have EVER seen there, at that time, were other photographers. Those who chase the light. 

So now, I'm curious -- where on earth have you stood?


Mom24 said...

What a wonderful post! Great job and awesome photos.

I was very surprised to find out I've stood at 13 of them. I think my favorite by far was watching 4th of July fireworks sitting on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Truly priceless--and free!

Thanks for the link. Very cool to check out.

Mom24 said...

Oops! I just found a couple of more. Neat site.

Cecily R said...

Honestly Chris, I have been so few places in my life that I almost don't want to even look at that site (even though I will). But I the place I HAVE stood that I like the most is in my backyard.

Your shots this week, as with every week, are STUNNING and make me want to go to temple square with my new camera boyfriend.

Izzy, Emmy 'N Alexander said...

The story of the Temple is quite astounding, 40 years to build? Wow and what's even more interesting is that no mortar was used. Fascinating!

The arch is just as peaceful. I've never even thought of coming to Utah but the more and more you showcase the beautiful architecture, natural and otherwise, Utah has made my list of places I want to visit before my end.

As for a place I've stood...I haven't checked the list. I am not sure I have been anywhere quite that stunning but I do know that the rock canyons on the outside of Flagstaff, AZ is one of the most beautiful places I've seen. There's so much out there to see that I hope to see as many as I can.

flown=nothing special here. For once, a real word.

Robyn said...

2 great sites. The Vietnam Memorial Wall in D.C. pulls my emotions every time.

tommie said...

Those are amazing! That sunburst is awesome.

Carebear said...

Gorgeous photos. I had never seen either of these place, nor heard their stories, so thank you for sharing. You have a gift for storytelling and I always look forward to visiting here on Fridays. Off to check out stoodthere and see what else I need to add to my bucket list...

Carebear said...

Okay, I checked it out. I’ve stood at ten of the top 100 places to stand on the planet! The Leaning Tower of Pisa, Roman Colloseum, Notre Dame, Las Vegas Strip, Grand Canyon, NY Times Square, St. Marks Square in Venice, the Duomo in Florence Italy, the Eiffel Tower, and the Louvre. There are about 87 other locations on the list I haven’t visited but would like to. Cool site. Thanks for sharing.

Michelle said...

That is one impressive Temple and the arch shots are incredible.

Shellie said...

Those are great shots. I've been to a lot of Utah sites, too. I will have to check out that site, to see how many I've been to. Pretty sure Niagara Falls and Grand Canyon will be among them.

Corey~living and loving said...

WOW! both places are AMAZING! you really made me want to be there. fabulous.

I haven't been too many cool places. I do think most of the monuments in washington DC are pretty amazing.

Carrie and Troy Keiser said...

I've only stood in 4 of the top US places.
I love these two of your places. I too have stood in the SLC temple and admired it beauty and the struggle it was for it to be completed.
The sunrise is stunning .... I've been to those parks in UT, beautiful places as well.

kayerj said...

Let's see--
one of my favorite places that I've stood is in the records hall in Washington D.C. in front of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution. I felt the spirit of God there just as surely as I've felt it in God's temple

I grew up with a dad whose employment kept us in the out of doors tramping through most of South eastern Utah. I've stood on so many beautiful places and seen so many glorious views I could write a book about it.

My brother lived in a trailer on Island in the sky while completing his thesis. I've been to your arch. It is spectacular, and I didn't even have a camera.

I enjoy your thought provoking posts, they never fail to stir me.

Unknown said...

I'm actually on of the fonders of and I've just had a quick look to find out why we had so much interest from Utah in such a short space of time. Now I know why!
Nice piece about the site - thank you very much.
You have such wonderful photographs of places in and around Utah. Are you aware you can actually create your own list? I think a 'Best Places In Utah' list for locals to comment on would make marvelous reading and with shots like the ones I've just seen of the Temple and Arch they would be a visual delight as well.
Thank you for mentioning the site. It is much appreciated.
James Black

Kelly Deneen Raymond said...

Wow, that temple is stunning and amazing! And the arches?? Wow! You live in a beautiful place.

Emily said...

Wow. Great PSF. The temple is beautiful. I used to live in DC and the Mormon Temple there was also an amazing sight. And light in the dessert has always been amazingly beautiful. I'm a beach person so for me, the most beautiful sight is on the water. My favorite is out on the sailboat so far from land water is all you can see. Amazing...

Leah said...

Cool pics. I'm gonna check out the Stoodthere site. Thanks

A Crafty Mom said...

Wow - so amazing and so beautiful. My jaw is on the ground, those shots are absolutely stunning. Fabulous post.

Jill @ Sneaky Momma said...

The temple is amazing. I love stories about how the hard work of others culminates into something beautiful that will stand the test of time.
I can't say I've stood many places, but my favorite would have to be standing on a jetty, looking out over the Gulf of Mexico as a storm was rolling in. Beautiful.

Terri said...

Hands down, the Grand Canyon. I stood on the rim and wept. Close second: base of the Matterhorn.

Your sunset photos and experiences are just amazing. Note to self: trip to southeast in the future.

Alex @ I'm the Mom said...

Absolutely stunning Chris!! Thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Wow that building is incredible.

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

Wow, I love this - so powerful, so passionate. Of all the places I've been, the most moving for me was the Grand Canyon at Sunset. Or in the ocean off of Mauai at sunset. I'm not picky. :)

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous pictures! I haven't been to a ton of places, but I drove by Mt. Rushmore as a kid and was truly awe struck by it! It is amazing!

sunshinesls said...

What great stories and pictures!!! I tell you...I'm on a mission to go as many places as possible....I have been so blessed to be able to visit places such as Vegas, New York, Florida and California in just the past couple years. I will be going to Texas and Michigan this summer! I can't wait to take pics!!!!!! You inspire me to take even better ones...Thanks!

Jac said...

WOW! Those are absolutely amazing photos! (And the temple in Salt Lake is GORGEOUS! I am not mormon, so I've never been in. But my daughter was treated at teh Shrine Hospital in SLC, and I just marvel at that building everytime we drive past.)

As a truck driver, I have been many many fascinating places. I love Moab Utah. I love the Western United States. But my most fabulous one is "Pikes Peak" we moved there just for the peak... really!

jac @

Aaron said...

On the steeple of the Empire State Building. I have put my hands on the little flashing red light at the kidding....

Krystyn @ Really, Are You Serious? said...

That is beautiful!

I love the story of the temple...and the sunrise? Amazing.

Momisodes said...

Those are some amazing photos. I can see why they have made such an impression on you.

I am always in awe of sunsets and sunrises. After living on both the east and west coast, I feel so fortunate for seeing the sun rise and set on the water.

Straight to Your Hart said...

I love to chase light...especially on sacred ground.

The vibrant colors are truly amazing to witness and capture. You do it so well with your words and pictures. Thank you

Does a bathroom in Syndey count??