The 12 Best Photos from 2011

January Pilgrim Mountain in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming rests under glowing sunset clouds. (Mike Cavaroc)
Pilgrim Mountain in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming rests under glowing sunset clouds.

I found myself rather unproductive in early 2011 in terms of stills. With the recent purchase of a 7D and getting it up to working order, as well as discovering time-lapse photography, my still photography became a bit stagnant. As a result, most of my work was in the form of a time-lapse and before finding a good balance of time-lapse, video and still, I even wondered if I would move entirely into video. Eventually the balance did work itself out and once I had my 7D back and functioning properly the following spring, it was full-steam ahead in every direction!

I discovered this image during that time after forgetting about it. I was looking back through a day in January where I hadn’t shot very much at all, but saw potential in a nice sunset above Pilgrim Mountain. - Continue reading

Categorized: Article, Landscape, Panorama, Video, Wildlife
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Court of the Patriarchs in Zion Canyon

The Virgin River flows past the Court of the Patriarchs in Zion Canyon of Zion National Park, Utah. (Mike Cavaroc)
The Virgin River flows past the Court of the Patriarchs in Zion Canyon of Zion National Park, Utah.

Zion Canyon in Zion National Park can be a tricky place for sunrise or sunset. Locations for capturing direct light on any of the surrounding peaks or canyon walls is pretty minimal, so as a result, I began scouting out some potential shots, and eventually settled on the Court of the Patriarchs with the Virgin River as the foreground. While it wasn’t a spectacular sunset, there were a few clouds in the sky that made it worth it and provided a good amount of interest to round out the whole scene.

Zion National Park was the first national park I ever visited back in 2004, so it holds a good amount of sentimentality for me, and seeing the towering sandstone peaks is always a welcome sight. - Continue reading

Categorized: Landscape
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If There’s Good Light, Capture It

A fiery sunrise lights up the clouds above Canyonlands National Park, Island in the Sky District near Moab, Utah. (Mike Cavaroc)
A fiery sunrise lights up the clouds above Canyonlands National Park, Island in the Sky District near Moab, Utah.

Several months ago, I was visiting with another photographer passing through town, and we got on the discussion about breathtaking sunrises and sunsets. We both agreed that no matter what the foreground or landscape below looked like, it would come out looking great simply because of the light and clouds, provided they offered enough interest. While I certainly agreed with it, it was never my intent to be forced to try it. As a photographer, I always want to be around some magnificent landmark with such dramatic skies.

On my recent road trip, my first morning into Canyonlands National Park, however, gave me no other choice. I miscalculated the distance from my campground to the park, and as a result, saw the beginning signatures of a brilliant sunrise forming while I was still driving to the entrance. - Continue reading

Categorized: Panorama
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Delicate Arch Under the Milky Way Galaxy

Delicate Arch stands below the Milky Way Galaxy in Arches National Park, Utah. (Mike Cavaroc)
Delicate Arch stands below the Milky Way Galaxy in Arches National Park, Utah.

Note: This is a minimally processed photo. I’m on my laptop so the final version may or may not change in terms of processing once I’m back home.

Since I had never really gotten the chance to explore Arches National Park on my own before this trip, I wanted to make the most of it, and that meant spending a few hours at the park’s most prominent feature, Delicate Arch.

Despite it being photographed from virtually every angle and time of day, as well as not having any clouds in the sky that evening, I knew I wasn’t going to get anything groundbreakingly new, so I simply went up and enjoyed myself and took the best photos I knew how to do. I wound up meeting a couple of other photographers who were out to do the same thing, and we spent the next few hours shooting into night with a howling wind pounding us with a frigid wind chill. - Continue reading

Categorized: Landscape
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Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park

Sunrise lights up the bottom of Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park, Utah. (Mike Cavaroc)
Sunrise lights up the bottom of Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

I’ve spent the last few days here in Moab, Utah, which I like to describe as a Jackson Hole in the desert. It’s a beautiful place with all kinds of outdoor activities, set in dramatically natural, sandstone carvings all over the landscape.

One of the more iconic spots is sunrise on Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park’s, Island in the Sky District. The high altitude of the landscape looking above the valley below is just high enough for the first light of day to illuminate the bottom of the arch, creating a unique glow hard to find in any other location.

Before Moab, I was in Hovenweep National Monument and also in Chaco Culture National Historic Park enjoying much more productivity on the trip. Given the time, I’m going to begin heading down to Phoenix from here to visit some friends and some sites I took for granted while living there. - Continue reading

Categorized: Landscape
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I Love Mountains

First of all, thank you to Greg Russell of Alpenglow Images for pointing me toward the cause I’ve been waiting for (among others)!

Shortly after moving out to Phoenix, Arizona in 2004, I got sight of my first strip mine. Even back then, before I was really into photography and before the thought of conserving nature had ever even entered my head, I found it to be a horrendous sight. Entire mountains being completely devoured, forever changing what was once a beautiful desert landscape. Social media was only in its infancy, and as a result, I felt powerless about voicing my opinion on something so incredibly disgusting looking. The friends I voiced my opinions to agreed, but it didn’t help us to feel like we had any more power than the mines did.

Fast forward to 2011, where social media has not a become a way of life, but was a crucial aid in helping an entire population of Egypt take their country back! - Continue reading

Categorized: Article
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