Mules ears at Coral Pink Sand Dunes

The mules ears ( bright yellow, sunflower like flower) are in full bloom at Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. If you want to see them get out there now! With temperatures in the 100’s they are fading fast!

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My son taking photos 6/28/14

Panguitch, Utah Balloon Rally 2014

I took my children to the Panguitch Valley Balloon Rally last weekend. It was a nice change of pace.  We had a great time watching all of the hot air balloons and of course taking lots of pictures.

After we the launch, we had coffee at the Little L’s Bakery in Panguitch. After a much needed triple shot latte and fresh donuts (balloon launches are EARLY) then we went exploring.

First we went to Panguitch Lake, then to Mammoth Creek where the children played in the water and did some hiking. Next we went to Cedar Breaks and hiked the Alpine Pond loop. The Alpine Pond area is about 2 weeks from peak bloom. So if you want some great wildflower photos plan accordingly! We saw lots of wildflowers of about every color. I would have been more impressed if I hadn’t been there for the peak bloom last year 🙂 .  The Alpine Pond is in Cedar Breaks National Monument. So plan to pay park fees. I invest in a National Parks Pass each year, if you visit a National Park or Monument more than a couple of times a year its well worth it. For individuals over 62 can get a lifetime pass for only $10!

After that we went and hiked to Cascade Falls near Navajo Lake. It was a short hike, less than a mile. We were there in the middle of the day so it was a bad time to photograph it. Half of the fall was in deep shade while the rest of it was in harsh sunlight. It is difficult to get a decent photo of it without risking life and limb by doing some rock scrambling on the steep slope covered with loose rocks. It’s all barricaded off so I’m pretty sure it’s not allowed. We decided to just be happy with the view we had 🙂  Safety first! (The nicer photos on the link are not possible without leaving the trail…which is prohibited.)

Next we had a picnic at Duck Creek, then headed home. It was a long day!

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My 10 yr old son took this photo of his sister enjoying the balloon launch
My 10 yr old son took this photo of his sister enjoying the balloon launch

 

Salt Lake trip continued

After I was done  with the Vincent Laforet – Directing Motion Workshop,  we spent the evening walking around in the downtown area including Temple Square.  It was nice to have a mini-vacation with my girls.

Mormon Temple
Mormon Temple
Downtown
Downtown
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My two youngest girls.
Salt Palace
Salt Palace

The next day, on our way home, we went to the gardens at Thanksgiving Point.  It was pretty.  I imagine they will actually be nicer in a month or so after they get filled in a little more. They were doing a lot of planting when we were there.  If you go to that area don’t forget to hit the outlet mall by Cabela’s 🙂  (There were some great deals.)

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Gardens at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi, Utah

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North Coyote Buttes – The “wave”

As a last minute birthday celebration we lucked out and got hiking permits for the “wave”. It was great.

The day started out foggy and blocked in with clouds…we were disappointed but not about to turn back. As we hiked in the clouds began to clear and it ended up being a beautiful yet chilly day.

If you have the chance to hike the wave, take it! Its very beautiful! When we were there, it had rained the day before so the colors were saturated and vibrant. The area is covered with beautiful sand stone formations sculpted by wind and time. It’s definitely a photographer or nature lovers paradise.

The "wave" north coyote buttes copyright carolejeffs2013
The “wave” north coyote buttes
copyright carolejeffs2013

The “wave” north coyote buttes
copyright carolejeffs2013

Mono Lake & Yosemite

I attended a workshop in Mono Lake, CA last week.  It was held by Moose Peterson. I have admired his nature work since I was a teenager. I think he was a great influence on my choice of becoming a photographer. In his book “Captured” he gives an honest account of how hard it can be to make a living as a photographer, especially a nature photographer. At the same time he shows his tender heart and his love of nature that compelled him, against the odds, to follow his dreams. I was so happy to attend his workshop and spend time with one of my “idols”.  It was a small group and lots of fun to get to spend time in a casual atmosphere with other people passionate about photography. Even if you are highly skilled as a photographer you will find it handy to attend a workshop. The locals know the area! They know the weather, they know the light, and they have a “plan b” when its not working at one location. I also am creatively inspired when I spend time with people who do photography because its what they love!

 

 

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Mono Lake moon set
Mono Lake moon set

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I took my daughter and son with me ( they did not attend the workshop) so we decided to go the long way home and drive through Yosemite. We had a great time. The fall colors were lovely. I would love to go back when we have some more time.

 

Yosemite Valley
Yosemite Valley
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Half Dome – Yosemite National Park

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Surprises on Canaan Mountain – Photo Safari

My friend Heber took me and a group of friends including my 9 yr. old son and 17 yr old daughter,  to a place on Canaan Mountain that he thought we would enjoy photographing.  It was beautiful and amazing!!! It ended up being a 12 mile hike. First he took us to a spot known to locals as “white wave” (probably because of it’s similarity to the  “wave” in the North Coyote Buttes Wilderness Area, a world famous destination for landscape photographers.

Well, our local version was stunning!  I think the Canaan “white wave” gets less visitors per year than the Coyote Buttes Wave gets in a day.

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Next, we hiked south toward an area known as Tumarru Towers. On the way we went to an area where there was a big aspen grove and ferns every where. I was amazed at all of the wild flowers and lush vegetation in areas on top of Canaan.   It can be hard to remember that we are  in a hostile desert environment.

Then we headed to “Tear Drop”,  which is an outlook that looks over the entire area. It’s a beautiful view of the Hildale/Colorado City area.  Just as we reached Tear Drop, it started to rain! Within minutes there was a big waterfall going right off the mountain next to us! It was amazing…then as fast as it came it was gone. We hiked back to the water canyon in a drizzle. We were cold & wet in JULY in the desert. As we neared the canyon to descend we could hear a distant sound that sounded like wind blowing through the trees…as we got closer to the edge it became a roar. It was an amazing site..there was a flash flood tearing down the canyon. We watched and waited for awhile for it to recede. After it slowed, we hiked down the canyon. It was suprising how much the trail had changed. Rocks & boulders were washed down and at one point a big pine tree had dropped down the canyon about 50 feet or so tearing out a big section of the trail. Not once on our adventure did I feel unsafe. I was hiking with an experienced guide who knew the area well and was prepared for almost any emergency.

It was a long, tiring day but it was definitely worth it!

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Coral Pink Sand Dunes – Photo Safari

My son and I got up early and went to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park today. It’s supposed to get up in to the mid 90’s today, but you wouldn’t have thought that this morning. It was surprisingly cold! We both wished we had taken jackets with us. It was worth it though, the dunes and wild flowers were BEAUTIFUL! We spent a couple of hours just wandering and taking pictures. I am so proud of my son. He has quite an eye for a 9 year old! Here’s a photo he took today :

copyright Craig Jeffs 2013
copyright Craig Jeffs 2013