Thursday's Task - 07-09-2020

I am starting this a bit early because I have to go to Phoenix for my annual dermatology check-up. The theme this week is posting an image with an interesting backstory.

When I was teaching in college and living in Illinois, a good friend and I would go somewhere to photograph during the Christmas break. This particular year we decided to go to the Grand Canyon to get some nice winter photography. We drove extended times so we could get there in two days to maximize the time we could spend there. We finally arrived late on the second night and camped in Mather Campground on the south rim.

At that time I owned a Ford Bronco II in which I had built a wooden deck to sleep upon with space underneath for our camera equipment. I covered the surface with a nice Berber carpet. Then we slept on that with air mattresses and warm down sleeping bags. We also had parkas, ski masks, gloves and a nice down blanket for extra warmth. As soon as we got to the campsite we went to bed. We woke the next morning just before dawn so that we could get to the rim at Mather Point before sunrise. As we looked at the ceiling of the car we could see that it was covered with ice crystals from the condensation of our breath. We knew it was cold but had no idea how cold. We kept our cameras under our parkas until we were ready to shoot to avoid the batteries getting too cold and to prevent the generation of sparks while advancing the film.

As we were riding back to Grand Canyon Village to get breakfast I turned on the radio and got a Flagstaff station that told us the temperature was a record twenty-three degrees below zero. Here is the image from that experience.

mather point I.jpg
 

rfkiii

Well-Known Member
I do not know if this has an interesting.backstory. It just struck me as ironic. I was on a photo trip that looped from Red Rock Canyon in Las Vegas to the Great Basin NP to Kolob Canyons in Zion NP to Zion Valley. Leaving Zion to head back to LV, I saw this sign and the fence behind it keeping you out of Your Public Lands.

 

AlanLichty

Moderator
Back in the 1970's I was a graduate student in Archaeology at the University of Utah. After coming back from a summer in Jordan I was invited to do some survey work for a large scale BLM project in southern Utah. The surveys were an odd lot - the goal was to survey 3% of all BLM land ranging from the Colorado border over to Nevada. The survey plots were selected by gridding off all of the BLM managed lands into 10 acre plots, assigning a number to each, and then having a computer do a random selection of 3% of the plots. Our job was to go to those plots wherever they might be and survey them for evidence of archaeological sites. These plots could be anything from river bottoms to jagged desert peaks - the only thing that mattered was for us to certify the status of that plot. Great opportunity for me since I had film in my trusty old Pentax Spotmatic and the survey team lead agreed to pull over and let me shoot on request.

The plot that led to the image here was deep in the SW area of the San Rafael Swell. I was quite curious to see this area since I had spent 8 weeks living in a tent encampment near the Hans Flat Ranger station a couple of years earlier while working at a cave site excavation called Cowboy Cave. Every Sunday we would drive up to Green River to get a shower and do our laundry at the KOA and I stared at the cliffs of the Swell as we drove by on the way into town on UT24 wondering what the interior of that area looked like. Unlikely I would have gone where we ended up going if it weren't for the survey job but the nice part here is that I got paid to do it :cool:

The only access to our assigned plot was coming in from the north off of I-70 and driving most of the length of the Swell. I requested a photo stop as we got down near the cliffs at the southern end of the Swell to get this capture with the moon hanging in the clear skies about the cliffs. As a point of reference for where this is - Muddy Creek is just in front of the cliffs as it heads east through the Swell formations and heads towards Hanksville. The Skyline images we have all seen images of from the recent get together near Factory Butte show the other side of these same cliffs and is roughly 15 miles as a crow flies from where I took this shot. The direction to the Skyline overlook is almost dead center in this image.

SanRafaelSwell6.jpg
 

AlanLichty

Moderator
I am starting this a bit early because I have to go to Phoenix for my annual dermatology check-up. The theme this week is posting an image with an interesting backstory.

When I was teaching in college and living in Illinois, a good friend and I would go somewhere to photograph during the Christmas break. This particular year we decided to go to the Grand Canyon to get some nice winter photography. We drove extended times so we could get there in two days to maximize the time we could spend there. We finally arrived late on the second night and camped in Mather Campground on the south rim.

At that time I owned a Ford Bronco II in which I had built a wooden deck to sleep upon with space underneath for our camera equipment. I covered the surface with a nice Berber carpet. Then we slept on that with air mattresses and warm down sleeping bags. We also had parkas, ski masks, gloves and a nice down blanket for extra warmth. As soon as we got to the campsite we went to bed. We woke the next morning just before dawn so that we could get to the rim at Mather Point before sunrise. As we looked at the ceiling of the car we could see that it was covered with ice crystals from the condensation of our breath. We knew it was cold but had no idea how cold. We kept our cameras under our parkas until we were ready to shoot to avoid the batteries getting too cold and to prevent the generation of sparks while advancing the film.

As we were riding back to Grand Canyon Village to get breakfast I turned on the radio and got a Flagstaff station that told us the temperature was a record twenty-three degrees below zero. Here is the image from that experience.
Minus 23F in a Bronco II? Wow. I had a '69 Bronco and found it rather tight for one person to sleep in think less of two. I had trouble opening the doors of mine when the temps hit -20 while I was living in Logan Utah as an undergrad since the grease in the door hinge would bind up. Did you have trouble opening the doors to get out and shoot?
 

Ben Egbert

Forum Helper
Staff member
Rick Knepper and I found a way to the Hedrick Pond (Grand Tetons) overlook in 2018. It is clearly on NP grounds per the map, but there was a cable across the road which I believe was put up by a local dude ranch. It looked like a 1/2 mile walk would solve this when Rick discovered the lock was unlatched. He opened it up and off we went. We used that trick at least 2 more times on that trip.

In 2019, I met Alan, Jim Fox and Rick again and we made our way to this spot, but this time the lock was latched. However there was a new way to get around the gate, but it was pretty rough. When we arrived the first evening, we saw a Dodge Charger parked there. He was still there the next morning and when we left, we found him stuck at the gate drive around with the left rear wheel off the ground. We pushed his rear end down so he could back off the hump and showed him a better approach. He made it out and drove off without a word.

In the meantime, here is one of my images from that trip.

180927-9134-5DS R 16x9.jpg
 

Kyle Jones

Moderator
So this photo is from the peak of Mount Dana. My wife was out of town and I decided to camp a couple of nights in Tuolumne Meadows. On my second day, between shooting sunrise and sunset, I figured I'd take a shot at hiking up Mount Dana. It is a relatively short hike, but a lot of work at that elevation - at least for this guy who was carrying far more camera gear than he needed. I made it to the top and took some shots and then started working my way down. While still in the scree near the top a rock turned under my foot and I fell. I kind of flipped forward and my leg slammed onto a sharp rock. It hurt bad - I was convinced it was broken.

Another hiker sat with me and I used the strap from my water bottle and a paper towel as a bandage to help stop the bleeding. I sat and prayed for a few minutes that I'd be able to make it down under my own power. I stood up and my leg felt much better and I was able to work my way back to the trailhead. I then stopped by my campsite to grab all my gear and then drove to the clinic in the valley. I was much too late (normally) to get stitches, but I was taking antibiotics for a sinus infection so they were able to stitch me up anyway. My leg wasn't broken and I drove home from there. All things considered, I got off easy!

Mono Lake from the peak of Mount Dana
MtDanaPeakAndMono.jpg


My makeshift bandage
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Jim Dockery

Well-Known Member
I might have already posted this shot, but the back-story is one of my recent favorites. To get this I had to climb to the summit plateau of The Great White Throne in Zion park.

Great-White-Throne_0403.jpg

Big Horn Sheep on The Great White Throne's summit

This story goes back to the early 70s when I did the 3rd ascent of the NW face (that you see from the canyon). We had a bit of an epic doing a first descent down a canyon involving many rappels. I don't remember much about the summit on that trip because we were just wanted to get down as fast as possible.

Early-climb-(43).jpg

Me aid climbing the upper headwall BITD

Jump forward to 2014, 40 years later, when my younger friends Jon & Brian took me up their new route on the back side of The Throne. It's much shorter and easier than the front, but is still a big day, with a long approach, much of it off trail. We started and ended with headlamps in the dark on a perfect fall day.

Great-White-Throne_0325.jpg

Brian leads the run-out (few anchors for the rope) crux 5.9 pitch.

I've been intending to write this story up for a climbing magazine for a few years, but haven't gotten around to it, so thread is a good reminder! Thanks for the memories Douglas, I've really enjoyed everyones stories.
 
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JimFox

Moderator
Staff member
Rick Knepper and I found a way to the Hedrick Pond (Grand Tetons) overlook in 2018. It is clearly on NP grounds per the map, but there was a cable across the road which I believe was put up by a local dude ranch. It looked like a 1/2 mile walk would solve this when Rick discovered the lock was unlatched. He opened it up and off we went. We used that trick at least 2 more times on that trip.

In 2019, I met Alan, Jim Fox and Rick again and we made our way to this spot, but this time the lock was latched. However there was a new way to get around the gate, but it was pretty rough. When we arrived the first evening, we saw a Dodge Charger parked there. He was still there the next morning and when we left, we found him stuck at the gate drive around with the left rear wheel off the ground. We pushed his rear end down so he could back off the hump and showed him a better approach. He made it out and drove off without a word.

In the meantime, here is one of my images from that trip.

View attachment 30159
I remember that little get around the gate move Ben!
 

Jameel Hyder

Moderator
Staff member
Nice images and interesting stories.

This is from a few years back on my trip to death valley. We had finished our early morning stint at the dunes, and were heading back to the campground. I wanted to try a couple of more ideas but my friend was not upto it. He stayed in the car parked on the road while I took my gear and headed into the dunes. It started getting hot in a hurry. I got a few shots and started feeling a bit disoriented. I was fairly deep into the dunes and lost sense of direction. Made my way back eventually after about an hour.

Here is one of the images from this morning.

5D3_1200.jpg
 
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dan swiger

Well-Known Member
These photographs mark the beginning of a journey. This is in early Feb of 2008, when I had began getting back into photography. For a couple of years prior, I had been acquainting myself with my 1st DSLR. I did a little photo journalism with some success but didn't really get the landscape thing. I had been to Yosemite the year before but it was a typical tourist outing with mostly snaps in bright light with no mood. After a very busy weekend of a retreat in Mount Hermon, visiting a friend in Rocklin, I decided to head to Yosemite. It had been snowing & I don't think I brought chains. I got their late morning and started "discovering" the various little treasures the park offers and decided to stay for sunset. When I got to Tunnel View, few people were there & the lot was frozen over and sucking the heat out my feet. The colors lit up El Cap & dappled the sky and the valley "breathed" the fog. It was a magical few moments. This experience help me to understand "vision" and the rewards of waiting for the right moments. Here are the two favorites from that outing.

I40_5207_080204_R1w.jpg


I40_5242_080204_WB.jpg
 

TimMc

Supporting Member
2012 trip to the Smokey Mountains. Stopped at the first waterfall I found on the map. On the hike out, tripped and fell off the trail and mountain. After what felt like forever, my head collided with a tree and stopped my fall. Crawled back up and sat with my wife as I tried to get my balance back. A well meaning gentleman came by and decide I looked so good he would pray over me.

Walked back to the trail head only to be stopped by a park ranger. From the reports they had received they had an ambulance and extraction crew coming. Declining both we walked out after he insisted on bandaging my head so I wouldn't scare people.

That ended the day for photography , but the next day shot the sunrise and got away from the Smokies. This is the only picture I kept from the trip

DSC_5759-Edit.jpg
 
Thank you Tim, Dan, Jameel, Jim Dockery, Kyle, Ben, Alan, and Rick for making this a great read. It is obvious to me why all of you are excellent photographers. You have the tenaciousness, and perseverance to complete the task of creating good images. I really appreciate your contributions here. And BTW, anyone else con contribute to this thread. It is not closed.
 
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