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My Ten Favorite Photos of 2011

I visited many cool places this year and also took many photos along the way. It was tough for me to pick just ten of my favorite photos this year, but I did manage to finally narrow it down. So here are my ten favorite photos of 2011.


The Wave by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

2011 turned out to be the year I finally tried to get permits to Coyote Buttes North so that I could visit The Wave. Luckily I was able to get two permits for November and spent a nice day there with Amanda. I also managed to get a few nice photos including this one.


Sun Shield Warrior by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

When we went back to Dinosaur National Monument in October one of my main goals was to photograph the panels at McKee Springs again since they are some of my favorites. I had originally planned on driving up there the following morning to try and catch the sunrise, but we finished early in the park and went up there for sunset instead. It was a good thing, because the conditions for photography were just excellent. I love the way the setting sunlight strikes this panel and I couldn’t have asked for a better sky. I’m glad that my original plans didn’t work out!


Colorful Layers by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This photo was taken on my trip to The Maze District of Canyonlands National Park in April. We were camping at Chimney Rock and I used my long lens to compress this scene into layers just before the sun set. This has been one of the more popular images I have taken this year.


Mule Tower Star Trails by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After spending some time in The Maze this past April we headed over to spend a few days exploring Cedar Mesa. On the last night of our nine day trip we headed over to the Mule Canyon Towers to take some night photos. When I started to take some photos to create star trails the sky was perfectly clear, so when the clouds floated into the scene I became a little disappointed. I’m glad I didn’t end up stopping my camera since I liked the way it turned out.


Solstice Snake by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Making this image was a goal that I had made for myself early in the year, before I even knew where this amazing petroglyph was located. I spent a lot of time searching for this site and managed to find it before the summer solstice. Then I had to make the long hike in the heat of the summer and hope that the weather would cooperate. In the end everything worked out great, and I managed to make the image I was after.


The Passage by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This is another image I made while visiting The Wave in November. This one was taken early in the morning while there were still a lot of shadows around. I just love the contrast between the cooler and warmer tones in this photo, not to mention the awesome lines.


Over the White Pocket by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Visiting the White Pocket was actually an unexpected stop on our week-long trip to The Arizona Strip in October. Our plans had constantly changed throughout the week because of weather, so we found ourselves figuring out alternate plans a few times. Besides rescuing a couple stuck in the sand on our drive out there, we also had some great conditions when we arrived. I don’t usually take many photos with people in them, but while we were standing high above the White Pocket and Jared was taking a photo I just couldn’t resist.


Toroweap Sunset by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Visiting Toroweap for the first time was another of my goals this year. We made sure to spend the night at the campground in the park so that we could photograph a sunrise and sunset. I was originally at another location looking east for the sunset, but once the color was gone we packed up and headed for the Jeep. On our way back, the western sky lit up with a golden hue so we both scrambled to quickly find a new location to setup and take a few more photos.


Horseshoe Bend by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I’ve driven through Page a number of times in the past, but had never really stopped and done much exploring in the area until this year. Since I stayed in town when I visited The Wave, I went to Horseshoe Bend to catch a sunset.


Snow & Aspen by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This was one of my first photos taken in 2011. I headed up onto the Grand Mesa last January with my snowshoes and hiked the West Bench Trail when I came across this scene. This photo also won First Place in a photo club competition this year.


Also, if you would like to see my top ten favorite rock art photos, make sure to check out

Happy New Year! Have a great 2012!

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Solstice Snake

Solstice Snake

I’ve been anticipating the Solstice this year so that I could visit the Solstice Snake (aka Solar Snake or Hyper Viper) and watch the arrowhead appear on the snakes head. For about 2 minutes on the solstice a dagger of light shaped like an arrowhead appears on the head of this very large and well executed petroglyph of a snake. It was an amazing experience!

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Time Takes it’s Toll

Time Takes it's Toll

I received word from my friend Philippe this weekend that the Robidoux Panel in the Book Cliffs was broken when he visited it at the beginning of his Southwest trip recently, so I just had to go see it for myself. On my way home from Moab this afternoon I made the short detour and found that part of the panel had indeed broken off and fallen to the ground.

Below is a (not so good) photo of the same panel when I visited it on December 18, 2010 and it was all in one piece then.

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Maze Trip – May Not Happen!

Let me start out by saying: I hate making reservations in Canyonlands National Park! It’s why I haven’t been to The Maze yet (or the White Rim for that matter). Last year I finally decided I wanted to go to The Maze and actually made reservations, took the time off from work and planned the trip ahead of time. The trip is supposed to start on Saturday.

Things aren’t looking good, and I’m pretty upset about it!

Here’s an email I received from Canyonlands yesterday…


In the unfortunate event that federal employees are furloughed, the
national park system, including Canyonlands National Park, will be closed.
We wanted to provide advance notice that you may not be able to begin your
backcountry trip due to this closure. *If this closure prevents you from
using your current reservation, we will be glad to try and rebook your
reservation for a future date.

If you decide to cancel your reservation and you paid by credit card we
will refund your reservation fee back to your credit card.

If you paid by means other than credit card we will refund your reservation
fee once we are provided guidance on how to process these payments.

Canyonlands National Park Reservation Office
435-259-4351 M-F 8am-12:30pm MST
(fax) 435-259-4285

I have contacted the park, and apparently if they shut down, they will be kicking people out and making sure no one enters. Law Enforcement is considered ‘essential personnel’ and their only job during the government shutdown would be keeping people out of the parks.

Time to start making some backup plans…

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