In 1991 Don Kirby and I started a series of workshops in the Utah backcountry that we called the Canyon Country Exploratory. We would drive to remote locations to camp overnight, then hike and photograph in even more remote locations during the daytime. The workshops ran for 10 years, and we roamed through a lot of spectacular country during that decade.
The first year we presented the workshop we drove into the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. One of our hikes within that region took us high into the slickrock expanses, well into the backcountry.
The weather had been variable throughout the week, with a few sudden downpours at night. But the days were clear and crisp, while the heavy nighttime rains put water into the normally dry creek beds and pools into the slickrock hollows. The photographic opportunities were enormous.
The morning, we hiked far up onto the domelands above the needles, a student came up to me and asked, “What do you see up here to photograph?” I nearly gasped in amazement at the question because I felt I was seeing possibilities almost everywhere I looked. In fact, the timing of the question couldn’t have been more opportune, for I was just starting to take off my backpack to get out my camera for an image I had just seen.