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Chicago Food and Travel Photographer

Moab Utah

I recently took a trip to Moab Utah with the Out of Chicago crew. They put on their second annual travel workshop and Moab Utah was on my long list of bucket list travel locations. The drive from Salt Lake was long but extremely scenic. Leaving Salt Lake and heading into the mountains of Utah reminds me of how much I miss the mountainous terrain.

When I left Chicago it was 70 degrees and sunny. As I headed to Utah the forecast was for rain all week. Not good. The day I arrived was perfect desert weather. Dry, clear and perfect. I had a night shoot scheduled for my first night in Moab. This was lining up to be a perfect night for star shooting.

For those of you who don’t know Moab is home to Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. Both parks are just minutes from downtown Moab. As I bundled up for my night out the weather looked like it would be perfect. Clear skies, cold and no light pollution. Moab is out in the middle of nowhere, the skies are pitch black but apparently there are darker areas of the country. I really can’t imagine darker skies that what I experienced in Moab.

As we got out of the car our guide told us to look up. “See that?” he asked as we all looked up. “That’s the Milky Way. Give it a few more minutes and your eyes will adjust and you’ll see it as clear as day”. He wasn’t wrong. I don’t remember ever seeing the Milky Way in my life but it was soon as clear as day.

As we walked through the arches I have only seen stars like that in Monument Valley. But in Monument Valley I didn’t get to see the Milky Way. Being out there was like sitting in a planetarium. So vast, and so many stars. It really gives you some perspective of how small we are in this world and how incredible this world is.

I left that night with some incredible shots of the Milky Way and left even more in love with the beauty of the southwest.

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Arizona Adventures

I grew up mostly on the east coast and southeastern portion of the US. While growing up I saw some of the landscapes that the eastern seaboard had to offer but my travels were relegated to the coast I grew up on. I've recently started to travel out west. Particularly to the southwestern portion of our country.  In the past 12 months I've been to Sedona, Monument Valley, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon and Zion National Park. I've quickly realized that I'm falling in love with this portion of the country for a lot of different reasons.

Since my childhood I haven't been much of that outdoor adventurer. When I was a kid I used to play outside and would camp with the Boyscouts but much of that left me as I grew up. I now find myself attracted to the natural beauty of the outdoors, especially America's amazing national parks. 

I've always had an affinity for the national park system but it wasn't until I visited Arizona last year that the desire kicked up a notch. I was so blown away with Monument Valley because of how far it was from everything else, the beauty and the unforgettable stars that I was able to see. It had a feeling of another planet and it rekindled the adventurous feelings I had as a boy. 

Capturing images in these types of locations is an amazing experience. The reason I was drawn to the camera was to capture images that I wanted to hang in my house and visiting these locations inspires me to do just that. Even though I sell my work, the guiding principle of all my images is if I would hang it in my house. If I've accomplished that goal then all the others don't really matter. 

Since my travels to Arizona and Utah my thirst for the southwest and the national parks has grown dramatically. I'm currently working on the edits from my Zion National Park trip and you will see them when they are ready for public consumption. If you get a chance I can't recommend taking some time to wander the state of Arizona and Utah for their natural beauty and the relaxation. And by the way the stargazing isn't bad either.