My photo blog… visual thoughts around me.

MOAB, UT…”Portals to our Past”

“Guardian of the Past”

In a photo trip, many feel it is “just about the picture”…. for some it is…. but for me it is about enjoying the validation of my place in the world. When I truly immerse myself in an extended shoot, be it 1 day or 11, I try and bring a positive energy with me as I interact with the people and the place I am at. In Moab,UT this was truly encouraged from my first meeting with our workshop leader Richard Bernabe and his assistant Tom Schmitt. You could just feel the vibe when he described what the place had revealed to him since he has been there many times before. Our group began to meld over the next 3 days as we shot and got to know one another… the venue, and especially our stellar breakfast landing point “The Love Muffin Cafe”, sure did help after rising by 3am and leaving at 4 to reach our destination and catch the perfect light.

When looking at a map for the town of Moab you instantly realize just how out in the middle of nowhere it actually is. But one person’s ‘out there’ is literally another’s ‘dream’. For me it was the later, with Arches and Canyonlands NP located on either side. Our group explored Arches each morning and early evening to utilize the best lighting. I can only describe my feelings as if being on another planet with stone formations jutting out from the desert floor. The reds and yellows were almost overwhelming, especially when the first rays of the sun hit them. That glow stayed with me for what seemed forever as we searched for the best this park had to offer.

One night shoot in particular, created such a memorable visual impression. We had hiked in and set up under nature’s beautiful arches and waited for the night sky to light up. I am not exaggerating as ‘light up’ is an understatement. On the east coast we have what is called light pollution so we see a varied amount of stars. In a place like Moab, that has virtually no light pollution, the overabundance of stars you see can almost seem unreal. You would think being out in a strange place in pitch dark would be unnerving but just the opposite happened to me. Knowing the people and hearing their stories about family and life became very communal in nature.

What can you say when a place speaks to your soul and the people around you bring such peace back to your life. Moab and its surrounding parks is one such place.

We must commit ourselves to becoming good stewards and guardians over the inherited portals to our past.


45 responses

  1. Hello Mike,

    Hope you are doing well. Really Awesome images with high resolution looking very attractive. Thanks keep posting continue with us

    Liked by 1 person

    April 18, 2014 at 11:38 pm

  2. Erin

    Wow… you really know your stuff Mike Pillows! Not only are your photos technically beautiful (wish mine were that clear!!) but I love your vision of all wonderful places we saw in Utah. You are blessed with a great eye for capture.


    December 31, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    • Some peeps think I am full of stuff…. 🙂 Many thanks for your kind comments… all my best to you in 2014!!!!


      January 1, 2014 at 3:20 am

  3. Absolutely gorgeous Mike! What an incredible place and stunning images.


    December 23, 2013 at 9:56 pm

  4. Awesome photos…


    December 21, 2013 at 7:42 am

  5. Amazing series. Inspiring on many levels!


    December 11, 2013 at 10:46 am

    • Hey Carissa…. thanks for keeping up with me… i was surely inspired when there.


      December 13, 2013 at 10:36 pm

  6. These fantastic images prove once again that you have certainly mastered your craft. Your cover image is especially intriguing!


    December 11, 2013 at 10:45 am

    • Thanks ‘D’… I love that opening pic. When trying to compose I moved my tripod about a hundred times to get just the right angle between the branches and background rocks.


      December 13, 2013 at 10:35 pm

  7. Wonderful representation of how you felt standing there just taking it all in. Thanks for sharing your discoveries Mike!


    December 8, 2013 at 8:16 am

    • Glad you could feel the sun and red rock up there in Maine… big thanks for the view.


      December 8, 2013 at 9:19 am

  8. I’ve got to get over there one of these days. Your passion for this place shows in your photos. 🙂


    December 7, 2013 at 11:20 pm

    • Stephan really appreciate the time you took to view the post… thanks!!!!


      December 7, 2013 at 11:40 pm

  9. Pat

    Fabulous photography.


    December 5, 2013 at 8:28 pm

  10. I love Moab


    December 5, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    • Me too … now that i was finally able to get out there!!!!


      December 7, 2013 at 11:48 pm

  11. Lisa S.

    Exquisite narrative. Wow, rising by 3 am. Certainly worth it. The images are majestic. Favs. 5, 7 & 8879. I recognize a few photos from your MSMCC presentation (By the way, impressed with your judging style, well done).


    December 5, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    • Lisa … so glad you like the program and the judge… big smile!!!! 🙂


      December 7, 2013 at 11:47 pm

  12. You consciousness and curiosity are evident in each image, these photographs read as a love letter to the timeless beauty of nature.


    December 5, 2013 at 11:51 am

    • Marie… ‘love letter’ really hits home… many thanks.


      December 7, 2013 at 11:46 pm

  13. Great work, Mike, and insightful commentary. I think that people like Bernabe and Plant and Budliger have an emotional involvement with what they see. I think many of us have that, and that it shows up in our work-product. Nice to hear about Tom Schmitt whom I met on an Acadian trip with Richard and Ian in the fall of 2010.

    My faves: 4 and 1275. For the latter I thought that’s what the early native Americans woke up to every morning.


    December 5, 2013 at 11:36 am

    • Ralph… as you know it can be a crap shoot when it comes to new ws leaders. I am glad we both were able to experience them. Being there you really do feel the past around you.


      December 7, 2013 at 11:44 pm

  14. lynda h


    Thank you for the post of an amazing set of images. You always find a view that shares your insight and love of a location.



    December 5, 2013 at 11:26 am

    • Thanks for that insight Lynda.


      December 7, 2013 at 11:41 pm

  15. Bonnie

    Stunning. I couldn’t even pick a favorite, they are all so beautiful.


    December 5, 2013 at 10:33 am

  16. Such a magical place, such wonderful photos to capture the magic.


    December 4, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    • Thank you very much Lulu!!!!


      December 5, 2013 at 12:45 am

  17. Iwalani

    Another beautiful set, Mike!


    December 4, 2013 at 10:34 pm

    • Ewa…. great to hear from you.


      December 5, 2013 at 12:44 am

  18. very nice


    December 4, 2013 at 10:01 pm

    • You have a nice eye… like your photo blog!!!


      December 5, 2013 at 12:43 am

  19. The colors and textures are amazing. However, the black and whites are stunning.


    December 4, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    • I too love how the b/w turned out.


      December 5, 2013 at 12:40 am

  20. This are amazing pictures! So so beautiful!


    December 4, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    • Really appreciate the visit.


      December 5, 2013 at 12:39 am

  21. Beautiful images Mike. This location, among others, is on our list (so little time/$, so many desires :-). Our country is filled with beauty of epic proportions – congratulations on capturing this one and having such a wonderful experience doing so.


    December 4, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    • Dan…. first big congrats to you and Cindy… what a cool idea you guys came up with!!!!! I feel blessed to have experienced this place… what ever you do , keep it on your list.


      December 5, 2013 at 12:37 am

  22. Such a magical place – amazing photos!


    December 4, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    • Thanks for stopping by… love your blog!!!


      December 5, 2013 at 12:35 am

      • Thank you 🙂 And right back at you – your blog is fantastic!

        Liked by 1 person

        December 5, 2013 at 12:43 am

  23. maru clavier

    Beautiful place and captures… kind of magical.

    Liked by 1 person

    December 4, 2013 at 8:06 pm

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