Photo Spotlight: Becca Kanaskie’s Trip to the Southwest

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The southwest photography trip, organized by director of the Digital Media Services Brian Palmer, and assistant director hAndea Hearn, explored Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and California. We started at Horseshoe Bend and drove to Arches National Park, Canyonlands, Capitol reef, Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, and Death Valley. The trip was from March 10 to 17. We camped at multiple parks and hiked almost every day. We did daytime and nighttime photography.

Horseshoe Bend, Page, Ariz. This massive rock under an overcast sky was the first stop on our trip after camping at Wahweap Lake. Thousands of tourists flock here everyday to snag a selfie at the edge of the cliff.

After a quick stay at Capitol Reef, Utah, we headed over to Zion National Park with its famous purple roads. On the way to the Emerald Pools Trail, we crossed the Virgin River, as shown here in this photo. The incoming rain and hail brought an interesting fog over the high peaks.

After climbing and descending about 1,000 feet of elevation, we arrived at Bryce Canyon for a three mile hike. The winding steps shown here are man-made, but the illumination of the red sandstone looks almost supernatural.

You may recognize this landscape from the iconic film “Forrest Gump.” Monument Valley is the location where Forrest ends his cross country run.

After a six mile hike at Arches National Park, we woke up at 1 a.m. to hike another one-and-a-half miles to do astrophotography at Delicate Arch. This photo captures the Milky Way over Delicate Arch just before sunrise.

Traveling through Death Valley really provides an interesting perspective. This “forest” of Joshua trees is the most vegetation Death Valley has to offer.

The Salt Flats of Death Valley are all that remains of the ocean that once flooded California. The salt forms distinct hexagon shapes in the basin that is below sea level.

The Mesquite Sand Dunes were our last stop on the trip. Pictured here at golden hour, the dunes are home to sidewinder rattle snakes and tarantulas. As vast as Death Valley is, only 1 percent of the desert is covered with dunes. — Becca Kanaskie, Elm Photographer

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