Saturday, 27 January 2018 15:52

Tiny Desert Fireworks

Near the base of Factory Butte in the Upper Blue Hills of Central Utah, not far from Capitol Reef National Park, these sparse desert wildflowers - long past my limited capacity to identify - possibly a species of aster, caught my eye in the early morning light. The contrast between the highlighted plants and the shaded background of a volcanic ash outcropping seemed especially poignant in the late autumn. It was more than enough to draw my attention from the majesty of eroded mesas and deepening washes and into the immediacy of a wabi sabi moment.


A focal length of 450mm (300mm DX lens on a D800 full-frame camera)  gave me the narrow angle-of-view I wanted. An aperture of f/6.3 helped me limit the depth-of-field to the area near the plants and to soften the dark background; and a shutter speed of 1/25 second at ISO 100 gave me an overall medium exposure, considering the contrastiness of the scene.


Tiny desert fireworks was what it all seemed like to me: just your typical desert diversity and beauty.

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More in this category: « The Hills Are Alive


  • Comment Link Donald McGowan Friday, 02 February 2018 12:39 posted by Donald McGowan

    Good Groundhog Day afternoon to Everyone. Since I wasn't in Punxsutawney with Phil, I cannot vouch for his early morning vigil, but in Western North Carolina it was touch-and-go as far as shadow-viewing was concerned. It will be as it will be, and may we enjoy it as we will.
    Thank you all for joining me for this conversation. I am delighted that each of you has seen fit to say something about a small bit of everyday beauty that can be so easily unnoticed in our rush to find and photograph the grand and the iconic. It is your eyes that inspire me to look more carefully everywhere.
    Hi Rosemary. As always, thank you for joining us. I would love to see your painted interpretation. Perhaps you'll share it with us. I appreciate your kind comment.
    Hey Joel. I am grateful for your waxing laconic. Novels are not necessary to describe the beauty at our fingertips, but the message is quite sufficient. Thank you.
    Hi Michael. It's always great to have you with us, and especially to have you comment on the seemingly mundane and trivial with such kind words. I know your capacity for visualizing the beautiful and so your comments are all the more appreciated. I was looking this morning at some images from Trustom Pond and thinking how fortunate you are to have such wonders so close at hand. Walk in Beauty, my friend.
    Hey Michelle. I am very grateful to you for noticing and commenting on the confluence of my descriptive words and the nature of the thing described. I was pleased to find a way to join them together, for it is so often that the complementarity aids in the greater effectiveness of each.
    Hey Chuck. It is great to have you with us, my friend. Yes indeed, you and I have have some wonderful opportunities to engage with both the expansiveness and the intimacy of the Southwest' great beauty; and we have appreciated that the one is absolutely no more magnificent that the other. Thank you for enlarging that idea for us. We look forward to seeing you soon to hear what you've been up to.
    I am so very grateful to all of you for spending some words to share some thoughts on the world around us everywhere we choose to look. Be safe and be well.

  • Comment Link Chuck Coburn Wednesday, 31 January 2018 10:47 posted by Chuck Coburn

    Don, the beauty of the image immediately brought to mind how many people only see the vast expanse of nothing in the Southwest(in their eyes), and yet I know from the experience of being there how wrong they are. Thank you for showing another form of beauty in the Southwest.

  • Comment Link Michelle Monday, 29 January 2018 16:34 posted by Michelle

    Don, The message that introduced the image was perfect. Happily, your photo matched. Thanks, Michelle

  • Comment Link Mike DiStefano Monday, 29 January 2018 14:36 posted by Mike DiStefano

    Howdy Don, You have the eye to see the unseen. Most people and even some photographers would have just walked on by this beautiful scene.

  • Comment Link Joel Prce Sunday, 28 January 2018 16:51 posted by Joel Prce


  • Comment Link Rosemary Benson Sunday, 28 January 2018 13:22 posted by Rosemary Benson

    Would be interesting to paint!

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