Welcome to Utah – The Greatest State on Earth


I made what ended up being a really long drive on Friday. I hit the road in Salt Lake County around 1:30 pm and arrived in Monticello, Utah, around 6:30 pm, just in time for sunset. During that five-hour drive, I was amazed by the landscape whizzing past me as I drove 65+ MPH toward my destination. Since I was working to get to Monticello for sunset, I didn’t have time to stop at various places like Dead Horse Point State Park, Canyonlands or Arches National Park, or even pull over along the side of the road to grab some picturesque photos. But my family is already making plans to check out Arches National Park next February, and will be in Zion National Park in the coming weeks. In short, Utah is a “Pretty Great State” and I look forward to photographing some of it (and northern Arizona) in the coming days.

Welcome to Utah sign photo road passing car

Canon 60D | 10mm | 20″ | f/3.5 | ISO 320 | RAW

As I was following my progress on my iPhone map, I noticed the Utah-Arizona border was quickly approaching. My hope was to pull over alongside the road and grab some photos of the Welcome to Arizona sign. However, when my map indicated that I had crossed over into Arizona and I didn’t see a sign, I made a U-Turn and headed back to the border to grab some photos of the Welcome to Utah sign. Yep – Utah welcomes it’s guests, but Arizona doesn’t. Sad, I know.

It was roughly 9:15 pm when I pulled my camera out of the car and began snapping some photos. I wanted the sign to be lit up, but I also wanted the stars in the sky to show as well. How did I accomplish this? My car’s headlights. I aimed the car at the sign, and while taking my 30″ exposure, I would use my keyless door locks to unlock the car, thus turning on the headlights. I used different lengths of lighting time to see different results. I also used passing cars to my advantage, as seen in this photo. I had a lot of fun and hope to continue processing these photos from this little stop in the middle of nowhere and share them on my SmugMug page, Flickr page or Pinterest account. You can also check me out on Instagram if you want to see the sights I’m photographing during my Lake Powell photography workshop with Drake Busath and Randy Collier.

~signed, Carltonaut

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