Utah Photo Road Trip Travel Log: Temples and Testimonies – Conclusion

It took us 24 hours to capture the first five LDS Temples in Utah during our statewide road trip. It would only take us nine hours to capture the remaining 11 temples. Welcome to the Wasatch Front. 🙂

16-Temple-Count-BrothersAfter leaving the Vernal Utah Temple, we eventually entered Provo Canyon and soon thereafter the Provo Utah Temple grounds. The last time I had visited the Provo Utah Temple to photograph, I walked around behind it. So this time I stayed on the entrance side of the temple. When the 15 minute timer went off, Christopher and I snapped our brothers photo and hopped back in the car, making the short trek over to the still-under-construction Provo City Center Temple.

While parking, we saw a policeman talking to someone near where Christopher had anticipated launching the quadcopter to get some footage. As I walked off to check out the temple grounds and building, I told Chris to be careful and make sure he doesn’t get arrested. He simply asked me to vouch for him if he did. Maybe I would, and maybe I wouldn’t. 🙂 With the construction fencing surround the building, it was a challenge to photograph. My tripod wasn’t tall enough to get over the fence, so I had to shot much of it handheld. Chris and I did find a spot where we could get the brothers photo and still see the temple, then it was back to the car. I will say, that at 4pm in the ever-heating summer sun, when we got back into the car, I got a whiff of how we smelled – and I was glad we could roll down some windows in the car to freshen us up.

The Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple was next on the list, and Chris was acting as navigator for this leg of the trip. Needless to say, there is a huge difference between east and west when it comes to locating something on a map. It ended up being only a short detour, so no harm done. I was surprised to see the temple closed – but it allowed there to be no cars in the parking lot or too many people walking around for the photos – although that hadn’t been a problem at any of the earlier temples.

One of the things I really liked about the Provo Utah Temple and the Mount Timpanogos Utah Temple were the majestic Rocky Mountains in the background. The setting of these two temples was magnificent, and brought an entirely new appreciation to the beauty of these Houses of the Lord.

The short drive around the point of the mountain took us to the Draper Utah Temple. The short distance between each of these temples along the Wasatch Front made Tweeting and Instagramming about my progress challenging. I didn’t want to Tweet and Drive, so I would dictate to Christopher how to navigate the social media channels and teach him all about hashtags. Once at the Draper Utah Temple, Christopher dropped me off a the sign then went to park and grab his quadcopter footage (which, by the way, was some of the best footage from the whole trip). The sun was in a challenging position to capture the temple, but I made it work the best I could. There were also a lot of people on the temple grounds, so that made it challenging to get too many non-people shots of the temple. But it was great to see so many people, especially youth, on the temple grounds.

Brothers-Oquirrh-Mtn-Temple-WEBIt was a little past dinner time as we made our way to the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple – and we were finally able to eat Wendy’s for dinner. Two Son of Baconator meals to go and off we went. It only took us three tries to get quick service at a Wendy’s, but I digress.

We paused for a few moments at the Oquirrh Mountain Utah Temple parking lot to eat our dinner, then the timer was set and off we went. While I took photos, Christopher launched the quadcopter and drew the attention of a father and son who were out on a walk. We got to talking about photography and the quadcopter, and they both expressed an interest in sharing their testimony. I took down their email address and off they went. Christopher and I finished up, and got back in the car – off to the Jordan River Utah Temple.

We didn’t spend a lot of time at the Jordan River Utah Temple. It’s only about five minutes from where I live and I’ve photographed it multiple times. Plus, the sun was almost directly behind the temple, making lighting a little challenging. But, after setting up the shot, I captured five different exposures and hoped to later produce a great-looking HDR photo. While taking the customary brothers photo, we both stood there smiling for the first one. Then I challenged Christopher to pose for this next one to show how we really felt. Sure enough, we both looked exhausted. But we had five more temples to photograph before we could hit the hay.

Brothers-Jordan-River-Temple-2-WEBWe arrived at Temple Square for the last 30-minutes of the sun being above the horizon. Which was actually perfect timing for hitting the golden hour of photography. On the walk back to the car we took a different route than what we had initially, and I was really glad we did that. I captured what I think is one of the best photos of the Salt Lake Temple I have ever captured – one that I hope to share with others later. I did share an iphone version of the photo on my Instagram account, and it was one of the most popular Instagram posts from the trip.

Next stop – the Bountiful Utah Temple. Although the sun had already set, we still had some good lighting for photos of this temple. I trekked up the side of the mountain nearby to try and capture some photos of the temple and its grounds, but there were a lot of cars parked along the street and I couldn’t quite get high enough for the angle I really wanted. So back down I came. We went on to the temple grounds to photograph the entrance of the temple before jumping back in the car and continuing north.

The Ogden Temple looks amazing, but it is also still under construction. The green construction fencing around it made it difficult to photograph, but I captured what I could and ended up really liking the colors of the stone contrasted with the night sky. Timer up – back in the car. The Brigham City Utah Temple is a beautiful temple, and my task was to capture it from various angles, since this was a photo I had only photographed once previously. I was able to cross main street and capture the temple from the tabernacle grounds, then we were off to Cache Valley to capture the 16th and final LDS Temple in Utah.

As we first entered the Cache Valley I had my eyes peeled to the city, hoping the lights of the temple were still on. I was under the impression the lights went off around 11 and we were approaching 11:30. Sure enough, the temple was still a beacon of hope in the distance, so after stopped to try and capture the temple from a distance – and smelling the whiff of a road-killed skunk – we made it to the temple grounds. We parked downhill of the temple and Christopher did his thing while I tried to do mine. I was having a hard time getting a good photo – because the steeples of the temple were always washing out, while the rest of not showing up enough. I eventually captured five exposures to attempt an HDR photo, but I just wasn’t loving what I was seeing – plus I was probably pretty tired.

We captured our brothers photo near the from east side of the temple then got back in the car, determined to find an inexpensive motel or hotel to shower (because as I mentioned earlier, we were beginning to stink) and crash. I am pretty sure I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, but morning came way to quickly. After all, we both needed to get back home to our families and get ourselves ready for church. While grabbing some bagels for breakfast, we swung by the Logan Utah Temple on our way out of town so I could capture some daylight photos of the building – which was a great note to end on for our road trip.


1,303 miles (Starting in Sandy, Utah; finishing in Logan, Utah)

33 hours 55 minutes to complete (Departed at 3 pm on Friday, finished 11:55 pm Saturday)

24 hours 15 minutes of time in the car

327 photos taken

16 LDS Temples visited


Depart –> St George, Utah

St George, Utah –> Vernal, Utah

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