Two Years

General Thoughts

Mesa Arch at Sunrise — Canyonlands National Park, UT © jj raia — from the 2014 trip

It’s hard to believe that two years have gone by since this blog was first started. It’s original purpose was simply to provide a means to more easily record a “journal” of my month long trip out west in the autumn of 2014 since in all prior years of much shorter trips, journals were handwritten each day the old fashion way: with pen and paper; a tedious process at best. By being able to more easily type and to put it up on the web every few days when I had internet access, it also allowed my family to follow along on the adventure. But I have to admit, it was a bit boring as each day I usually recorded locations of where I photographed and how I managed to find them, some people I met and other information I might utilize or pass along to others who may visit the same areas in the future. Beginning on September 27th, it will revert back to that format of a daily “diary” for a few weeks (only two this time) when I head out to visit some national parks I haven’t been to since 1978 and a few places I’ve never been to before.

Right now, I’m spending a lot of time doing my research of possible photographic locations, pictures of those places, drive times between them, road closures, campgrounds, places where showers are available, sun and moon rise/set times, and a whole host of information gathered from the internet, books and travel guides. Generally, there is no itinerary except the dates of my flight’s arrival and departure, just winging it as I go. As is usually the case, I have booked a room for my first night, because of the long travel day, noting that there is a Walmart close by to get my supplies and a Home Depot in case I need some wood to level out the floor of the SUV I rent. I may also plan for a hotel on the night of the second presidential debate although it will begin at 7pm Mountain Time which is just around sunset, so that might not work out very well. A lot will depend on the weather, but I do bring a set up for using an umbrella if it rains lightly, however windy downpours usually means finding a place with internet access to “hang around” for several hours or travel to the next location if not blocked by snow as it was in 1978. I am hoping for some snow though.


Final Sunrise at Shoshone Point, Grand Canyon — from the 2014 trip

So, little by little, I’m building up my informational looseleaf (20-pages so far) which I bring along for easy reference in making decisions about what’s available to shoot and when to shoot it at each location, drive times and distances to the next possible place; basically everything I might need to make decisions about what to do as the trip progresses. The looseleaf used to have all the paper in which I wrote my journal as well, but now it’s all done on the iPad.
If this trip is one-tenth as great as my 2014 trip was, I will be thankful. I’ve always felt it was such a rewarding, almost life-changing experience, I’ve been reluctant to do another for fear of disappointment in comparison to the high bar that trip left in it’s wake. Photographically, it was pretty successful in that as Jim Richardson, a National Geographic photographer, once said:

“To be a better photographer, stand in front of better stuff!”

And boy!…was he right because I stood in front of some incredible places and I hope to do so again. This time I will pack a laptop and hopefully be able to work on a few images that may be worthy of posting, so it won’t be just iPhone shots as it was last time. So, if you’d like to follow along, prepare to be bored and if you like, spread the boredom by telling some other folks who might be interested. This way there might be more than the three people who followed two years ago. Posts may be sporadic and days may be combined as internet access will not be available everywhere and there may be many hours of driving between locations; it’s a big country out there.


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