Ranger Kathryn's Arches

March 3, 2012

When the desert sun doesn’t shine

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 10:58 pm
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Clouds & blackbrush. North of La Sal Mountain Viewpoint, Arches National Park, Utah.

Winter yucca

Our training day for natural history took us out in the storm-ish morning. A front was passing through Arches National Park; the chill air didn’t bother us unless we stopped too long to listen to a talk about grasses, or amphibians, or water quality. I was taking photos as the light changed by the minute, trying to capture the day’s feel. No special lens, no special camera, just a very special mood courtesy of filtered clouds and mists. I hope you enjoy these shots from one of Arches’ loveliest locales, Courthouse Towers.

Three Gossips & Sheep Rock. Courthouse Towers, Arches NP.

February 10, 2012

I, Kathryn … [Post #500]

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 4:53 pm
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Junction Butte & Ranger Kathryn under wintry clouds. (photo: Steve Colegate)

Celebrating my 50,000th lifetime blog view last week, I can’t think of a more effective way to communicate what I do and why I do it except to post this photo that a visitor from Australia recently took of me.

One needs to walk only one mile from the Grand View Point parking lot to reach this expansive agoraphobic vista. The clouds set up exquisite lighting, and the fresh snowfall created contrast. It is exquisitely suited to my five hundredth blog post. This is not just my job: it is who I am.

December 15, 2011

1,241 miles later

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kathryn Colestock-Burke @ 11:28 pm
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The Colorado River north of Moab, Utah, in December's pale light. Note teal instead of brown water.

A powdered-sugar dusting coats the rocks; thick vanilla icing smothers the mountains. Utah welcomes me with fresh snow, heightening the contrasts: reddest sandstone, bluest sky, sere brown remnants of this season’s grasses. I smile. Returning to the Colorado Plateau — where I feel deeply attached, fully belonging — is joy, great joy. My Minnesota address seems like another universe rather than two days’ drive.

Winter’s light is thin, transparent. Is it anemic and wan, or is it merely saving itself for an April assault on the senses? Landscapes change as the weak rays attenuate visual distractions, focus my eye on texture and composition. I seem to see better when the days are short and angles are low.

As I round a bend on Highway 128, the Colorado River startles me with atypical clarity and color. It’s normally carrying tons of sand and silt, brown and muddy; I’ve never seen the bottom. In December it almost resembles a mountain stream. I blink twice and take off my sunglasses to double-check the hue, so surprising is the difference.

I’ve much to explore in this new light of my third season, but first winter, in Canyonlands National Park.

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