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Utah Northern Canyons

As the high elevations are already transitioning to Winter conditions, I decided to explore many of the Utah Northern Canyons to see what I could find.Tonight, the most popular mountain pass out of Park City, Guardsman Pass, is closing due to inclement weather.  At some point, it will be completely closed for the Winter.  It has been enjoyable because the top of the pass is only 20 minutes away, but now was time to find some more locations to enjoy.

Fall Color Isn’t Just Peak Color

A lot of people think the only photograph to make in the Autumn is a single image, with every leaf looking exactly the same, and if any leaves are green or bare, then the photograph is a failure.  I find this ridiculous.  Autumn doesn’t work that way.  It is complicated, nuanced, and subtle.  Leaves, even on the same tree, don’t always turn at the same time.  Wind will affect when the leaves fall.  Some areas can be bare, while others are wind-protected and can last.

But this is a palette of color – not a single tree with a single color leaf.  Why limit yourself to that?  Many of these images are past peak – when a lot of photographers would just go home.  But I find it all beautiful, and more illustrative of what nature is really like.  Yellows, oranges, and yes, even those supposedly immature greens, are wonderful.  Even those bare trees, what I am often told is the bane of landscape photographer’s existence, are still another beautiful transition that doesn’t have to be excluded.

While Utah is now “Past Peak”, albeit incredibly beautiful, I will be heading home to mountain foliage that hasn’t even turned yet.  Black Oaks will be ready in November while many Cottonwoods will hold out until December.  Enjoy the landscape for what it is, and don’t lament what it is not.  Life, and nature, are too complicated for such a wish for “perfection.”

Canyons To Explore

Many of these photographs were taken in some of the sub-alpine canyons in the area.  On the Eastern side of the Wasatch, the rolling terrain reminds me a little of the rangelands of New Mexico, while the canyons have more dry shrubs that somewhat remind me of the chaparral country in California.  And they are beautiful right now.  The one disappointment is the ongoing drought, which is affecting the entire Western United States.  Many of Utah’s reservoirs are nearly empty.  Let’s hope a moderate but steady wet season can overpower this La Niña weather pattern and bring some relief this Winter.

UT152 – View of the Provo River below Jordanelle Reservoir in Utah’s Heber Valley.
UT138 – Last gasp of fall color up on Guardsman Pass in Utah.
UT150 – Beautiful scenes in the mountains in every direction. This was taken along US Route 40 Southeast of the Heber Valley.
U160 – Beautiful East Canyon Creek meanders through its namesake canyon in Northern Utah.
UT169 – Beautiful view of an East Canyon meadow with Fall Color holding strong during a Utah clearing storm.
UT165 – Panoramic Image of a clearing storm over a ranch in Utah’s East Canyon outside of Park City.
UT145 – While some Aspens have lost their leaves, others are holding strong. Despite not being a “peak” photograph, I still find the seasonal change in all of its nuances to be beautiful.
UT148 – View of the dry side of the Wasatch Mountains – a beautiful scene that my friends would recognize as one of my favorite scenes to photograph.
UT171 – Nearly empty East Canyon Reservoir along Utah Highway 65. Drought has rendered many local lakes to be nearly empty and unusable. The original creek channel sits at the bottom of the empty reservoir.  Climate change is real – even drought conditions shouldn’t leave reservoirs this empty.
UT173 – Storm and Fall Color in Utah’s Parleys Canyon
UT175 – Beautiful color under cloudy skies in Lambs Canyon, an offshoot of Parleys Canyon on the way to Park City.
UT166 – Winding section of Old Highway 40/Lincoln Highway through Parleys Canyon in Utah. Interstate 80 has bypassed the old road in the distance.

As always, thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed the images.

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