South Coyote Buttes
West of Lake Powell and north of the Grand Canyon, in a remote desert wilderness area, are the Coyote Buttes. Scattered across a bizarre red sandstone landscape are sculptured formations. The largest concentration of these stone patterns are on the Utah-Arizona border. Flat sandstone plateaus crisscross with knee-high stone fins. Included are directions to an area of balancing mushroom rocks near Glen Canyon Dam. Striped sandstone, weather-worn and eroded into sensuous curves, are great nature images.
In the middle of a vast desert they call badlands in northwestern New Mexico is a remote wilderness protected by the Navajo Nation and the BLM. Called Ah-shi-sle-pah, the unpronounceable Navajo term for grey salt, this vast geological fantasyland has not been promoted in any travel magazines I’ve seen and is hard to find, located at the end of a rough road and a long walk. I was the only person out there during my four-day stay and the silence was wonderful. Tall stone pedestals balance flat caps like giant mushrooms.
The mountainous western region of the state of Massachusetts is called the Berkshires. Hardwood forests in the higher elevations across the northern parts of the Berkshires typically start to turn red and yellow in early October. Forests at lower elevations across the southern parts of the Berkshires may reach their peak color during the third or fourth week of October. All photographers looking for new and different New England autumn color images should add the Berkshires to their calendars.
Death Valley, California
Stovepipe Wells dunes, Zabriskie Point, and Badwater are some of the best places to set up a tripod at sunrise. The mysterious sliding rocks on the Racetrack must be photographed. Dante’s View, Ubehebe Crater, and Titus Canyon should be on the list of any visiting photographer. A single creosote bush at the base of a dune at sunrise or a stone on the edge of a salt pond at sunset can also inspire a photographer to create unique images of Death Valley. Photograph all the icons, the postcard views, but stay long enough to drive some back roads and hike a few desert trails. Be out there at sunrise and sunset and the desert light will inspire you. Death Valley is a wonderful winter destination for nature photographers.
Notes and images from Bob Hitchman.