McPolin Barn – Park City, UT

FY2A0425

There is an iconic barn in Park City, UT that is heavily photographed and easily recognizable.  Chances are you’ve seen this barn if you’ve been to or seen images of Park City.  There can be times when many photographers are out shooting in front of it or capturing pics from the nearby road.  Other times it is peaceful and quiet with nobody around.  Last night was one of those nights.

I’m fortunate to live fairly close to this barn (1/2 hour walk) so I have the opportunity to photograph there often.  I usually go about once a month and I aim to find new perspectives or try new techniques when shooting here.  There are a million images of the barn so getting a new perspective can be challenging.  That’s what I love about photography though!  Being forced to open your eyes a bit more, observe your surroundings more and find the beauty that exists every day.

We’ve had a very mild winter in Park City (and much of the West) this year and there have been very few days of snow cover around the barn.  The recent storm dropped enough snow to cover everything but I was busy skiing so I missed shooting a “winter” scene here.  Oh well, it’ll snow again in April or May:)  I’ll have to share some more images from the McPolin Barn that I’ve made in a future post.

Thanks for reading,

EE

100 Steps From Home

“Love of beauty is taste. The creation of beauty is art.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

IMG_20150205_161210

Photography and travel are somewhat synonymous in that we want to see places we’ve been or want to go.  Traveling to places far from home can offer a dramatic landscape different from that surrounds you everyday.  It would be easy to create a vivid, eye-catching portfolio of images if one were to travel the globe and visit the well-known locations.  You know them, they’re the ones you see pictures of every day.  One visit to Facebook or 500px and you’ll see this right away.   There is nothing wrong with photographing places that have been photographed before and it is quite enjoyable.  Take a trip to Yosemite and stop at Tunnel View to take a picture and you’ll see why.  Icons are icons for a reason.  Visit them, enjoy them and photograph them.  If you want to make a better image, one that means more to you and one that represents your style, you’ll need a bit of practice first.  This is where your everyday life comes in to play.

 

IMG_20150213_131350618_1

IMG_20150127_134642117_HDR_1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I guarantee you’re surrounded by beautiful things to photograph, no matter where you live in the world.  Read that one again.  Beauty isn’t reserved for Yosemite or Machu Picchu, it literally is everywhere.  It’s even closer than that though!  To illustrate this point, I’ve set out to capture images within 100 steps from my front door and am slowly building a collection of observations.  I’ve been watching the same trees over time, the different shadows throughout the day, the changing of the seasons, the people near by and so much more.  By doing so, I’ve enhanced my ability to be an observer and this learned skill is ever so useful when I travel to photograph.  I can more quickly identify scenes or objects to photograph, I’m more practiced with light and shadow, I’m more familiar with my camera and in the end, I’m able to capture more of what I see and feel.  This is the goal with photography, right?

IMG_20150102_114832439_HDR_1

So go look with a different set of eyes next time you take out the garbage, check the mail or walk the dog.  If you see something interesting, take a picture.  The fun doesn’t stop there though.  Share this with someone.  Text it to your friend, upload an image to Facebook, write a blog post about it but don’t keep it for yourself!  Art is nothing if nobody sees it!  For those who use Instagram, you can see a few images I’ve posted by searching #ee_100stepsfromhome.  I’m in no rush to build this collection but I will be adding a few more soon;)

IMG_20150131_131929248_HDR_2

IMG_20150126_135742311_2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks for reading and I hope this helps you become a better observer.

EE

P.S. all but one of these images were shot with my phone.

IMG_20150117_091402858_HDR

Green Air Tour: Vol. 1

FY2A1231

Wasatch Mountains of Little Cottonwood Canyon

 

5:00 am.  Get up and make the first of several coffees of the day. It’s going to be a long day.

We had been planning a backcountry ski tour for some time and this was the day it was happening.  Clear blue skies and warm temperatures made conditions ideal for our planned tour and by 6:00am we’d begun our adventure.  We were going to Alta.  From Park City.  No car.

 

 

Recording...

Recording…

Free Wi-Fi for checking Instagram

Free Wi-Fi for checking Instagram

Salt Lake City has been plagued by an inversion, a common meteorological phenomenon where cold air gets trapped in the valleys and the mountains are warm and sunny.  Sounds good right?  Well, in that cold air and fog, pollution builds and is unable to mix into the atmosphere and becomes so thick you can’t see the mountains.  You can’t breathe.  Your eyes hurt, your lungs burn and you feel sick.  Conditions like this turn a normally beautiful city into a scene resembling a toxic wasteland.  It’s absolutely disgusting and impacting many aspects of life here, with health quality being at the top of the list.  Something must be done to better our quality of life in Utah so we did something very normal.  We went skiing.

 

 

 

 

Living in Park City, it is about a 45 minute drive to Alta Ski Area in Little Cottonwood Canyon.  Leave at 8:15 am, first chair at 9:00 am, no problem.  Our plan was a little different though.  Why drive to Alta when there are already buses going there?  Why contribute to the inversion and pollution unnecessarily?  Would we be willing to change our daily lives to lessen the impact?  So at 6:15am we boarded the PC-SLC Connect bus in Park City that would take us to Salt Lake City.  We were the only skiers/snowboarders on the bus and about 12 other commuters boarded before we departed Park City.

 

FY2A1104

Office windows and reflections

 

About 1:10 later, we arrived at the Salt Palace Convention Center on 200 S. & Main St with a setting moon, a brown haze building and the overwhelming smell of exhaust and pollution.  Dressed in full ski gear in downtown Salt Lake City at 7:30 am brought some odd looks from people heading walking the sidewalks to and from work.  That’s fine though.  It is weird to be downtown, waiting 45 minutes for the next bus, when you could be at home enjoying a coffee and pancakes.  A few minutes later a man holding a snowboard and dressed in winter clothing walked around the corner and up to the bus stop.  He told us he was here for business and had a free day so he was going to Snowbird.  He lives in LA and had never been riding in UT and in his words, was “stoked” to be going up there for the day!  His eyes were glowing and he thought nothing of waiting for a bus in the dark, downtown, with only 2 other people.

 

FY2A1112

Waiting and watching other green commuters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the bus continued its route towards Alta, more and more passengers boarded and paid the $4.50 fare.  Many languages were heard speaking as the bus climbed Wasatch Blvd toward Big Cottonwood Canyon.  Finally, the bus had seemed “normal” to us as we weren’t the only ones on the bus anymore.  More riders boarded at Little Cottonwood P&R and we then climbed up Little Cottonwood to Snowbird and Alta.  The inversion became evident while driving along Wasatch Blvd as the full moon set near the Great Salt Lake.  We were above it now and the valley looked gross.  Brown, hazy, dirty and completely unappealing.  This isn’t the Salt Lake City we love.  We can do better.  We have to!

 

FY2A1160

Salt Lake City under a blanket of pollution

 

FY2A1183

Alta is for bus riders

IMG_20150107_093522941_HDR

VIP lounge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FY2A1187

Classic Alta

IMG_20150107_095310857_HDR

It’s actually more vivid in person

We arrived at Alta around 9:30 am, over 3 hours after we’d departed Park City, and were greeted with sunny skies and warm temperatures.  We were miles away from Park City with no car and no intentions of returning the way we had come.  Instead, we were hiking up and through the Wasatch back to Park City.  We began by climbing up to Emma Ridge and over to Reed & Benson Ridge dividing Days Fork and Cardiff Fork.  Days Fork holds some beautiful terrain and receives just as much of our “Greatest Snow on Earth” as the resorts.  Continuing to the highest point along Reed & Benson ridge, human tracks disappeared and we followed tracks of a lone wild animal, possibly a Bobcat or Lynx.  We reached the high point along the ridge and from there, we dropped into Cardiff Fork via a classic Wasatch line, The Hallway Couloir.  This line would drop us into Cardiff Fork where we would then ride out to Big Cottonwood Highway and catch the next Ski Bus up to Brighton Resort.

 

 

 

IMG_20150107_133512387_HDR

The road to nachos and beer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

FY2A1244

The snow was horrible enough to GoPro it

Hydration first

Hydration first

 

Luck was in our favor as we waited for no more than 5 minutes before the bus arrived.  Another $4.50 fare paid and we rode to Brighton with hungry and thirsty bellies.  Molly Green’s at 2pm on a Wednesday never sounded so good!  Nachos and a pitcher of beer vanished in front of us and we then saddled up for our final climb up to 10,420 and over to Park City.  Hiking with a stomach full of nachos and beer is under-rated and is actually quite enjoyable!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great Instagramming

Great Instagramming

 

FY2A1307

Brighton-Alta-Snowbird

 

The sun began to set, slipping behind Hidden Peak at Snowbird, and lighting up the landscape surrounding us.  From our 10,000+ ft vantage point, the High Uintas and the Wasatch Range were clearly visible as well as the surrounding valleys along the Wasatch Back.  We’d finished climbing and were greeted to an incredible display of light in all directions.

FY2A1322

10,420′ sunsets are on point

 

This is the moment.  Click.

FY2A1314

It doesn’t have to be like this

We were almost home and the light around us confirmed to us we were in the right place.  Our backyard, our playground, the places that make memories were glowing all around us and all we could do was smile.  Utah, these are the moments we love in our backyards.

FY2A1308

Mt. Superior, Wasatch Mountains

 

FY2A1336

Night moves atop Jupiter Peak

 

We reluctantly left the summit and ventured towards Guardsman Pass and over to Jupiter Peak atop Park City Mountain Resort.  It was now dark and my headlamp came out.  An iPhone light, running on low battery, completed our illuminated ride back down to the base of the resort where we’d begun our day 13 hours prior.  We’d climbed ft, rode ft, spent $30 in bus fare, gazed over miles of the Wasatch, witnessed incredible light, skied a classic line, vacuumed up nachos and beer and worked on a nice January suntan.  I’d conclude that this was a very full day and was done entirely without excess contribution to the poor air quality of Utah.

FY2A1212

No caption necessary

 

This adventure from Alta to Park City was only the first of many “Green Tours” possible in Salt Lake City and Park City.  I’ll be photographing each one and I’d highly encourage you to try riding the bus somewhere that you normally drive.  Big and Little Cottonwood Canyons would be a great place to start.  The free bus in Park City would be another great place.  Making even a small change in your lifestyle can be difficult but it can be done.

Thank you for reading,

EE

For more information on how you can make an impact, I encourage you to visit Protect Our Winters.

Instagram @ericephoto

Twitter @ericephoto

FY2A1291

If I could paint…

Nature’s Art: Dinosaur National Monument (Part 2)

EE6_6669

Continuing on from my previous post, I’ll let the images do most of the talking this time.  I can’t wait to get back to this beautiful place to photograph more, to spend more time and hopefully “see” more.  Until then, here are a few more images.

Enjoy!  EE

EE6_6670

 

EE6_6681

 

EE6_6477

 

EE6_6668

Nature’s Art: Dinosaur National Monument (Part 1)

EE6_6911

Utah is an incredible landscape to observe, explore and to photograph.  The variety of color and formations here are impressive to the eye.  We spent last weekend in Dinosaur National Monument backpacking, hiking, fishing and wandering during this unusually warm February.  This area would normally be covered in snowing ice but this year, winter has had other plans.  DNM is about 3 hours from Park City making it closer than Moab.  The sandstone formations, the river, the arid landscape are all similar but the one main difference is people.  You won’t find them here:)

EE6_6686

Being in a quiet landscape that is sculpted by time, it is easy to slow down and notice the beauty on a smaller scale.  There is an overwhelming large landscape to absorb and it is quite dramatic.  That’ll be for a future post;)  I’m equally drawn to the intimate landscape as I am the grand views in great light.  I find these smaller, more detailed scenes more rewarding because they are harder to find.  Simply finding scenes like this isn’t enough though.  You need to see them once they’re found.  This is the challenging part of photography.  You study the light, the depth, the visual flow, the contrast, the focus and the feeling.  Then you can photograph the scene in front of you.  Now take this same approach to the grand landscape.  It’s all the same.

Thank you all for reading and enjoy the images.  More to come soon!

EE

FY2A8356

 

EE6_6972

 

FY2A8350