Getting Wild at Deer Valley, Utah

I guess it’s been a while since I’ve shared any work here, as in 2 months, so here we go!  Time has been flying by over the summer and I’ve been busy shooting a lot of images.  I’ll try to catch up to some recent work but first I’ll go back to the end of June.  Every day is a bit different with photography for me where some days lead to many images, some days there are none.  June 30, 2015 was one of those “many images” days.



I hike quite often in Park City with access to a variety of trails so close to home.  This night I chose to go to Deer Valley Resort and hike to Bald Mountain.  It can be fairly busy during the day as mountain bikers fill the trails and chairlifts.  After about 5pm, the lifts close and the trails empty.  This is my favorite time to hike and be in the mountains.  I headed up and the views become incredible in all directions.  Jordanelle Reservoir is below to the east, Mt. Timpanogos dominates the skyline to the south and Park City is clearly visible to the north.  I don’t recall much about the sunset except for some nice colors in the clouds.  I’ve been trying to not shoot sunrise and sunset photos recently and I tend to focus more on just the clouds.

As the colors of sunset began to fade, I looked to the south and saw a few flashes of light near Mt. Timpanogos.  Lightning? Standing on a summit?  Metal tripod? This combination sounds a bit sketchy but upon watching the movement of the storm, it was clear that it would pass to the east.  So I stayed and set up my lightning rod tripod for the light show.  It was nearly dark by this point but a few points of light in the distance allowed the camera to focus.  With every strike of lightning, the silhouettes of the Wasatch were clearly visible.  This would make a cool photo, I thought!


Sure enough, the sky became electric with pouring rain to the south.  A mix of warm city lights and the cool (temperature) light from the electric bolts created a beautiful scene of orange, purple and blue.  I set the camera to interval shooting and began to record 20-30 second exposures as the storm raged and stayed safely in the distance.  It was a display of light and color I’ve not witnessed before.  I stayed until nearly 10pm before finally turning on the headlamp and hiking down.  The sky had mostly cleared by this point as I looked over Park City.  I was nearly done hiking when I saw more lightning over town from a single, rogue cell.  I set up my camera one last time and was lucky to capture one of my favorite images of the summer.  Technically,  there are some imperfections in the image but sometimes that doesn’t matter.



This was an incredible evening of light and color, a touch of drama and exactly the reason I enjoy shooting in the evening.  I didn’t see a single person the entire evening (fairly typical) and came away with several images.  The best part of all this is being able to share images with others.  Many people aren’t able to do what I do for a variety of reasons so sharing images they would not otherwise see brings me much joy.  Hopefully some of this comes across in my images to you.

Enjoy and thanks for reading.  I have much, much more to share here soon.



15 thoughts on “Getting Wild at Deer Valley, Utah

  1. Is that a chipmunk? Can’t tell.

    I am terrified of lightning, old phobia from my childhood. However last summer when I was out in the Pryor Mountains in Montana, my friend and I got to witness a lightning storm safely away from us . We didn’t really see any bolts but we saw the clouds lighting up a lot which was cool. Awesome pictures!


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