I was late getting in last night and it led to some simple mistakes. First and formost was the Nikon F3 rolling between the door and the passenger seat when I opened the door, in the dark at camp…I heard the metal hit and knew I’d screwed up. The back popped open exposing the film inside and now the advance is jammed. Super bummed about that mistake that shouldn’t of happened in the first place. I skipped dinner and hit the hammock and went out like a light. There was lightening in the distance, stars overhead and a moon on the horizon.
About two I woke up in a lightening storm. It was popping everywhere and the rain was coming down pretty good as well. I rolled out of the hammock and hopped in the back seat of the Toyota. I felt like the four rubber tires were a better option than a tent in an open area. I slept hard till 4..thats when the alarm went off. You have got to be kidding me. Who sets an alarm for 4am after a day like yesterday. I rolled out of the backseat and into the front. I was smart enough to pack everything the night before. A shower would have been awesome at this point (I think it’s been three or four days) but you can’t have everything. I pulled up to the trail head at Mesa Arch and I kid you not, there was already a guy there packing his gear…at 4:10AM…the sun doesn’t come up until near 6:40ish. I hopped out and hustled over the ridge. The arch was empty, the moon was full and I was hit with some of the most fierce wind I have ever dealt with. I made way to the arch, stood the tripod up at the predesignated spot and then greeted the next fellow to arrive. After saying hello and pointing out where the sun would appear I made way out of the sandstorm (really, it was that crazy) to a stone wall and started to make coffee. Now, having coffee this morning was awesome and made all th difference in the world. As people rolled in I was cheery and Mr. Informative about the space. However, the sand storm turned my coffee to mud…I mean, I know there would be some grit in there but there was actual mud at the bottom…about an 1/8inch of red mud. Yum! It’s ok…it did the job. The place filled up fast, I was so involved with the conversations I was having with my neighbors I nearly forgot to photograph the sunrise. Which, was super cloudy…and did I mention the sandstorm? Tripods were being blown over, bags were being filled with sand, lens were grinding grit and hats were blowing off left and right. Awwwww, what a morning. I continued to chate with a lovely couple from Kent, England as the sun emerged and the crowd thinned. Eventually, the arch was near empty again.
I headed back to camp to cook up some breakfast and brew some non- mud coffee. I ate too much and took a nap in the hammock before heading out to the Grand View Trail. The trail offered some pretty spectacular views, I ran into some familiar faces and made a few self portraits jumping between ledges. After clocking those two miles and a dozen unnecassary leaps I got into the car and began to pay attention to how much my feet were aching. A little Tiger Balm and some rubbing and I was back on the road to Moab for ice and Arches.
To be continued this afternoon……
…….and the continuation of an already lengthy tale….for those of you keeping count it is now day 3 sans shower.
I decided to give my feet a break from the heat and the rocks and so I kicked around Moab in my Crocks (yes, alert the fashion police..I was out of control in Moab). Its a heip little town I went to a local bookstore and had a great conversation on Edward Abbey (actually, I listened and learned a good bit). The bookstore actually exists because of Abbey. At his funeral a group of his friends were milling around wondering how to honor his legacy and the bookstore was born. Check them out online or stop by if you find yourself in Moab. The place is called Back of Beyond Books. They all sell art supplies and maps of the area. There were a hand ful of other cool shops as well. Before long I walked in front of a storefront that read camera repair. My eyes lit up and my spirits lifted. Maybe the ol F3 would be able to rejoin me on the trail. I walked in and explained the problem and the two guys running the shop (it could easily have been any two of my photo friends- these guys were cool) said do you have it? Its in the car…Will bring it in. I ran bak to the car grabbed the camera and hustled back to the shop. They examined it- the final prognosis- take it home and send it in to my favorite repair shop. Man I was bummed. They were enthusiastic that I was shooting an F3 but we were all bummed that it was out of commision. I walked out of the shop downtrodden and thought, man, this Nikon is a workhorse…a beast..its unstoppable….how could it be busted. I gave it a good whack on the back…and click…the shutter fired. I coulnd’t belive it. I advanced and fired again and again the sutter fired. So flipping cool! I ran back to the shop and bust in like a kid in a candy store. One of the guys verified my claim. Then they were both like “How did you fix it???” A good whack, I just walked outside and smacked it on the back. They suggested that I should still send it in for repairs. But the camera has been working like a champ. I then got ice, coffee, the usual stock and headed to arches. This time I explored the park with in analogue. It was atually a much more relaxed pace. The shot either works or it doesnt. Analogue is such a poetic way to shoot a trip like this. Its also a great conversation starter…. was at Park Avenue and an old timer hurried up to me pointing and saying Nikon! Nikon! You have a good camera! F3..40 years old. He game me a huge smile and then said Welcome to Taiwan! Later I ran into him an his familly again and they had me take their group photo with his digital Nikon SLR. Good times. Later while photographing at the Double Window arch I handed the camera off to a young lady and her to photo friends to snap a photo of me at the top of the arch. When I got there she lifted the camera up and I saw a face that was like What?!?! She snapped the photo, I yelled Thanks and hustled down to grab the camera. I hiked and explore a few more spots before leaving Arches for camp. It was a peaceful ride home. I ate dinner and could feel the storm moving in. After dinner I headed on down to the Green River View and was amazed at what I found. A rain cloud sitting right over the mesa down low. Casting a veil over the massive stone structure.
After making countless images I turned around to see another front behind me. Lightening popping left and right, bridging the gap between land and sky…it was awesome. Almost everyone cleared out. I reversed the camera and starting working for a bolt of lightening..there were three others there, first my two neighbors left, then the other photographer…not three minutes later I got the shot and made way back to camp. I broke camp before I left and I was glad I did. The only thing out was the hammock, I got comfertable and not 5 minutes later the bottom fell out and lit up. The storms were upon us and the lightening was popping everywhere. I hustled to the backseat of the Toyota and got cozy. I had to put blankets over the window because the lightening was so bright I could’nt sleep. It was awesome and it rained all night long.