Surprise Light in Zion Nat’l Park


When I hear the words ‘storm’s a-brewin’ I get excited, because that means the potential for dramatic light and CLOUDS! I love love love clouds. They make those blank shapes of sky work within your landscape images so much more effectively. Not always, but most times, they provide the atmosphere that an otherwise great shot is missing.

So on the day we arrived in Zion, we had driven through rain showers, dark clouds, etc., but by the time we dropped the dog off at Doggy Dude Ranch in Rockville, Utah, the skies were just gray and the light was so so. Still, we wanted to check the upper reaches of Zion, the washes in the Checkerboard Mesa area, so we spent time doing that, and called it a day before sunset. Although we rarely do that, we were kind of beat from the drive in the rain and it really didn’t look like anything was going to break. So guess what? We had just finished eating an early dinner in Springdale, and Jed walks back from the restroom and says nonchalantly, “the sun’s breaking out – should we go check it out?”. Not expecting much, I said “yes”, grabbed my coat and stuff and headed out the door. By the time we got to the car in the parking lot, the sun had broken through rain clouds and in the last ten minutes of sunlight for the day, it bathed the west side of the Watchman and the mountains beside it. We screamed with delight and went running for cameras, but we were in the middle of town!! Experience told us not to try to drive anywhere, or we might miss it entirely, so we both scattered to try and make something of this magical light.

Needless to say, it was exhilarating light and atmosphere, but alas, getting above rooftops and between the wires of technology along Zion Blvd in the heart of town was painful. So the best composition is the only one you get, right?! And this is what I ended up with; if only I had been 5 feet taller, I’d have included just a smidge more dark area below at frame edge, but a roof line interrupted that. But ya get what ya get when your caught with your ‘camera down’, right? It was still incredibly special, and I was grateful to experience it.


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Categories: Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, Landscape Photography, nature photography, Photo Blog, road trip, The Blog, workshops & photo tours | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The Colors of Zion



It is always hard, and increasingly so with climate change, to predict peak Fall color anywhere. Yet the week we scheduled and ran our instructional tour to Zion was supposed to be peak, and there must have been at least 8 other workshop or tour group leaders all thinking the same, as we heard or or ran into several. But the reds of the big-tooth maples were over up in the washes of the upper sandstone, and the cottonwoods in the canyon were half-green, half turning to yellow. Thankfully, Zion offers much more than just Autumn colors, and this year we were all having to look for options!

When that happens to me, wherever I am, I turn to the intermediate or intimate landscape. I am always seeking to express my own vision about the place I’m exploring, and this is one way to be unique when the so-oft photographed large landscapes leave you ‘wanting’ more.

While walking in one wash, we just happened on leaves that had dropped off the trees, and fallen into the most wonderful crevasse of the sandstone. They piled up so nicely! The swirling darker lines of different sedimentary layers drew the eye inward to the ‘trough’. It was just the kind of image I had hoped to find!

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Categories: Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, general photography, Landscape Photography, nature photography, Photo Blog, The Blog | Tags: , , , |

Himba Culture, Namibia



We visited two Himba villages on our Namibia Photo Tour. Villages that are not visited by groups very much. We met the Chief in this village, and then were welcomed in to walk around and observe daily life as lived by the Himba. It’s a really interesting experience. It was a very dusty day, so the light was soft and warm as it fell on the women and children; adding that to their ochre-coated bodies, and combined with the sepia and burnt umber tint to most of their clothing, they were a study in earth tones! I’m still working through my pictures from the visit, but when I came across this one I had to post it. With all those fancy hair extensions on the mother, the poor child doesn’t have much room for its head/face when hung on the back of its mother. When it peered out at me, I had the moment I was looking for.

Visits to these villages are a special experience. The people are wonderful – we can’t speak each others’ language, but they know why we are there through our interpreter. We learn how they live, we photograph them doing their daily routines, and we take gifts of flour, corn, coffee, and other things that they need as a thank you for our visit.

We are in the process of setting up next year’s tour. Stay tuned for more information!


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Categories: Brenda Tharp's Photo Blog, Namibia, photographing people, photography, travel photography, workshops & photo tours | Tags: , , , , , , |