Posts Tagged ‘moab’

From steam power to nukes.

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

On the Friday of September 28th I decided to drive south below Moab, Utah to do some full-moon photography. My goal was to shoot an old abandoned electric mine train that was long-forgotten. The train sits outside of a uranium mine called the Mi Vida Mine. After wandering around the desert at 1am, thinking I was going to pass out or blow up, seeing signs that say “Poisonous Gases” and “No Open Flame.” I finally found my nuclear honey-hole amongst the fumes from the natural gas wells in the area: it was a short hike from the road, down a draw and back up to the mine.

moab utah

This is how the train looks with just the moonlight.

Uranium train

I decided to light the entrance to the mine with turquoise gel over the remote trigger flashes. I felt this would give it the glowing-Homer-Simpson, nuclear look. During the single exposure the train was painted with light to expose the patina of the subject. It also “pops” the branding of the train. The train was owned by the UTEX EXPLORATION CO.

This photo was a happy mistake. I had no idea it looked this good until I saw it on my monitor at home. I like this shot because the vegetation has a glowing look to it. It almost looks like an HDR photo. The shot was exposed a minute less than the photo above, and I don’t have an answer for that.

I tried this angle looking out of the mine, but as you can see it’s not much of a shot except for my ghost dog, Stoli, that appeared. I think I’ll do a Ghost Zombie shoot for the upcoming Zombie Apocalypse.

The next night I moved the location of the shoot to Silverton, Colorado. Silverton has a deep mining history and during the night I saw other photographers shooting buildings in the main street of the town. I decided to move on to the outskirts of the town.

silverton tram

This tramway was hard to shoot because the tram needed a point of reference, so I decided to shoot this carriage with the tram house in the background. I had to paint the carriage with light so it would show up. The moon did a nice job of lighting the building.

Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad’s 493 from days gone-by rests on the track in the Silverton rail yard. I shot this with moonlight and painted the gear drive and wheels with light. The B&W was done during post-processing.

Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad

The 493 lit up: I gelled the boiler along with the cab to get the fire-breathing-dragon look these steam engines were known for. The undercarriage was painted with a Coleman lantern to highlight its muscle. The green glow on the coal car is from the sodium-vapor street lights. I wish it wasn’t there, but I’ll live with it.

I love shooting at night because the moon gives out a warm glow that lasts for hours. It also gives the subject and landscapes a different look you won’t see during the day.  The best thing about night photography is the stillness of the night, the silence. Plus there’s no one around to muck up your shot and more chance to have an extraterrestrial encounter.




Got air?

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Over 100 million Super Bowl viewers watched Andy Lewis jumping on a slackline during the halftime show. Yesterday, I had the honor of watching him send his latest creation, “Leviathan,” for the first time.

Leviathan is a  285-foot slackline strung between the Echo and Cottontail towers of the Fisher Towers located outside of Moab, Utah.


The view of Andy’s Coliseum.

moab, andy lewis, slackline, fisher towers,

The height of the line is approximately 900 feet. This makes Leviathan the highest/longest slackline in the world. Andy estimates the tension of the line between 1600-1800 lbs. It’s a good thing he is using a “Gibbons” slackline.


Got air?

fisher towers, slackline, andy lewis, moab, gibbons, slacklife, leviathan

To get a scale of how high the tower is, the tower Ancient Art in the Citibank TV commercial is the one with “Benson” across it.


Here is a  400% blowup of Andy walking the line.

andy lewis, fisher towers, moab, slackline

Who knows? What’s next? All I know is ” The Slacklife” will continue …


Moab, Utah: “Getting lucky”

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

I’ve been interested in shooting the Milky Way. In order to shoot the Milky Way you need to have a new moon. This is a must because you need the sky to be completely dark. It also helps to have an area with no or little light pollution. Arches National Park in Moab,Utah is almost a perfect place for night photography. The night of April 21st was perfect for this: it was a new moon and–bonus–a Lyrid meteor shower.

I arrived in Arches around 11PM and took some test shots to kill time before the Milky Way rose. The first shot is of the Turrent arch taken at the The Window area of Arches.

Here is my photo of the Turrent from the north looking towards the southwest. 

As you can see from the photo, the Milky Way wasn’t present because it isn’t in that part of the sky.  Still a cool photo.


The next photo is of the North and South Windows with the Milky Way lighting up the sky. If you look closely at the left window, you can see a meteor streaking by.

milky way, arches,national park, moab,

Having the meteor in the shot was pure luck!!

After shooting at the Windows area I decided to go to Balanced Rock. I arrived around 3AM, and the Milky Way was in the perfect location for this silhouette of Balanced Rock.

 balance rock, arches, moab, milkyway


The last shot of the night is of Balanced Rock painted with light.

balance rock. arches, national park. moab, milky way

Well I didn’t get lucky with a shooting star after numerous photos taken, but I’m coming back during the next meteor shower. I hope luck will follow.