Feeling Thankful

Silent City

-Bryce Canyon National Park after sunset, when all the people have gone and the city becomes silent-

Today is Thanksgiving in the US, a holiday where we reflect on what we are thankful in our life and celebrate with friends or family.  I’ve been looking over images from 2015 and this year has been incredible to say the least.  I’ve met many new people, traveled to new places, saw some amazing sights and have learned so much about myself and about photography.  All of my travels have been in 3 states (UT, WY, MT), with any one of those states offering more to see and explore than one year allows.  I’ve now spent 10 years of my life in UT and I haven’t scratched the surface of what this place has to offer the outdoors lover.  WY & MT are the same in this regard…endless.  My traveling is mainly local as you can see, and although I didn’t leave these 3 states, I felt I was rarely home.


Sterling is traveling the US on an Indian motorcycle, for one year.  Awestruck by Yellowstone under the full moon-

2015 has brought me to new places with my camera that I previously viewed as uninteresting.  The West Desert of Utah, Wyoming, Yellowstone (see previous post) and SE Utah come to mind.  I became interested in these places specifically for their misconception of being uninteresting.  I’m continuing a long-term project of showcasing these areas in UT as “Utah Unseen”, to show you don’t need to go to National Parks or popular places to find beauty.  I very well may begin this same project for Wyoming next year.  I strongly believe one can find amazing light, beautiful scenery and have a memorable experience in Utah without ever visiting a National Park.  We have 5 remarkable Parks in UT that attract millions of visitors each year and at times, the Parks can be VERY crowded.  From a photography perspective, these iconic places are photographed to death and taking your own photo at a few iconic landmarks means bumping shoulders and tripods with many other photographers.  Despite the crowds, I am still entertained by how easy it is to get away from the crowds in the Parks and have a completely different experience, one of relative quiet and solitude.

-He’s “doing” all the National Parks, with a zest you dream of and a lemon drop trailer to match-

This year has also introduced me to some amazing people and some of the nicest people I’ve ever met.  Strangers, in strange towns.  People with genuine care and compassion, people with a zest for life that so many dream of, people who don’t live in the past or future, and people who have pure smiles.  I can easily see myself photographing these people more in 2016 as I explore a new style of photography in addition to what I currently enjoy.  You hear it time and time again, and maybe you’ve experienced it yourself, that traveling isn’t about the sights you see.  Memories of sunsets and sunsets fade, details of foreign cities disappear and time smooths everything out.  But some things you don’t forget and those involve the people you meet and those you travel with.  Photography parallels this thought in a way and so much of today’s images we are bombarded with are merely snapshots of the present and lose appeal a short time after.  Images should be able to last longer than that (physically they do) and not be so quickly forgotten.  I think of this more often now when creating images, if they will be appealing in 6 months, 2 years, 5 years, etc.  I look over older images to see which ones still hold that appeal.  Give it a try sometime with older photographs you have and see which ones stand out.  I bet you already know the answer to this though and it doesn’t involve that pretty sunset you saw one time.

-She volunteers her time to reenact Civil War scenes, High Tea was a ritual forgotten by many-

I’ll be sharing quite a few images over the upcoming month to show more of the experiences I mentioned above.  This year, as much as any other, has been immensely transformative for me and I can’t help but feel so very thankful.  I hope you are also able to reflect on your year and feel thankful in some way, no mater where you are in this world.

Thank you all for reading,


-Jay’s family produces more than watermelons, they create tradition.  With pride-


12 thoughts on “Feeling Thankful

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