Red Planet (Kodachrome State Park III)

When using film, we always joked that Fuji’s films leaned towards intense greens, while Kodak favored strong reds. I wouldn’t call it a tint. I even heard the theory that Americans had a special gene that suppressed a sensitivity towards red colors.

In any case, this is about Kodachrome State Park (again), and its glorious reddishness.

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This is of course a joke, I could have tinted all the images green and called moved everything to Fujichrome State Park. What is important, though, is the overwhelmingly monochrome landscape. While painters always have complete freedom over their color palette, the (nature) photographer can exert control only within limits. What do you do when a nice rocky landscape is ruined with green weeds? This does not happen on Kodachrome Planet, so almost any view allows undistracted contemplation. Be it the sun scorched earth above, or the enormous canyons below:

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Clay sculptures grow on the cliffs, unsure about wha shape they want to take,
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and rocks in intimate embrace wait for us to leave. Was this once just one rock that split, or are these two rocks that time has shaped like this?

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Oh yes, there is some greenery. It reminds us that we are only tolerated, too.

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Secret Passage (Utah)

Continuing the exploration of special places in Kodachrome State Park, here is the Secret Passage, on a optional side loop of the Panorama Trail.

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It is bordered by a tall vertical wall on one side, a sloping climbable rock on the other, and leads nowhere, symbolized by the two meaningless boulders.

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So what is special about this place? The texture of the vertical wall is so rich of detail and variation that I just stood there for a while, staring.

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Of course everything is mindnumpingly red.

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This reminded me of an exhibition of large format abstract paintings by Emil Schumacher that left me unimpressed until I discovered their textural richness.

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In both cases, the fractal-like richness of detail seems to provide a non-spatial third dimension to the otherwise mostly flat wall.

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Cool Cave (Utah)

This year was the fourth time that I spent Spring Break in Utah, and it has become a mixture of revisiting familiar places and exploring new ones. One of the new discoveries is the Kodachrome State Park, a detour for people traveling Highway 12, much less overwhelming than nearby Bryce National Park, but in a very positive way. I met just two other hikers on the 10 mile Panorama Trail. The landscape is serene and has many spots that feel special. Let’s begin with the most remote of them, the Cool Cave.

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The pine trees guard the narrow entrance and the color palette suddenly becomes monochrome.

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Inside, there is just one open space. One hears the wind and clicks from small rocks falling down. Apparently, sometimes the rocks can be larger, too.

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The simplicity of this description is deceiving.

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The view back to the cave entrance, for instance, could be the work of an artist. The tonality is miraculously supporting the depth of the image, and the interplay between light and rock offers ample material for contemplation.

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