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11.15.2011

Eye Scene: Photographer, Ryuichi Oshimoto Travels with Sigma Camera & Lenses

Driving east from the town of Escalante in southern Utah, I look across Escalante Canyon. Slickrock, a smooth rock surface continues endlessly and in the vast landscape, Scenic Byway 12 can be seen. Camera: SD1 Lens: 30mm F1.4 EX DC HSM, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO: 200, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/500 sec,Aperture: f8.0, Focal length: 30mm

Driving half way on the 124 mile long Scenic Byway 12, I stayed overnight an Escalante motel. At an elevation of 5820 ft above sea level, in the middle of a summer night on the dry land, the temperature was low and I sleep well without an air conditioner. The next morning, I wake up from the morning light pouring through the curtains. I open the door facing the east and the sun directly hit my face. I put an ample amount of sunscreen on my face and left the motel. I headed east for ten miles on Byway 12 and the path curved right and downhill. The downhill turned at a right angle twice and ran uphill then straight toward the northeast direction.

Round like a track, the byway curves right as it descends. Using the ultra wide angle zoom lens, the blue sky as well as the colorful rocks were simultaneously captured on camera. Camera: SD1 Lens: 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO: 200, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/500 sec,Aperture: f9.0, Focal length: 8mm

The road ascends and descends over hills. Standing over the highly reflective road, I used the ultra-telephoto zoom lens at its longest focal length to photograph the scene. The refracted light caused a gently winding, distorted landscape. I imagine the unhurried life on this land from 170 million years ago. Camera: SD1 Lens: APO 50-500mm F4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO: 200, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/640 sec,Aperture: f8.0, Focal length: 413mm

Followed by the largely curved road, the Byway continued to run northeast through Slickrock for four miles and over the Escalante River. During the spring, the river width increases and
the muddy stream flow violently. Along the river, the thick vegetation and the red rock wall were approaching. A few cars were parked along the trail head, but I didn’t see anybody walk along the river by the shade.

While resting in the shade by the river, I felt like walking into the water. I walked to the deepest part of the river, where the water was knee deep and I felt it cooling my scorching back. Setting the tripod in the river, I used the slow shutter to depict the flow of water. Camera: SD1 Lens: 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO: 100, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/15 sec,Aperture: f22.0, Focal length: 9mm

After passing the Escalante River, I was surrounded by a wall of red rocks. The wall of rocks didn’t feel like confinement, but more protective. Camera: SD1 Lens: 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO: 200, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/500 sec,Aperture: f8.0, Focal length: 50mm

The white flower, Sacred Datura, I saw on the side of the road looked wilted under the hot weather, but it caught my eye against the red rocks. Camera: SD1 Lens: MACRO 70mm F2.8 EX DG, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO: 200, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/640 sec, Aperture: f8.0, Focal length: 70mm

Named after the similarity of a shoulder of a pig, I headed north to the top of Hogback Mountain.

From Boulder I headed north on the Byway and ascended to 9800 ft above sea level. Introduced in a guidebook as one of the world’s alpine forest, the area was surrounded by the Quaking Aspen forest.

At elevation 6703 ft above sea level, Boulder was an isolated until recently. To live on this land, it was absolutely necessary to have livestock and a farm. Looking at the no longer used fencing, I felt like I could hear the livestock. Camera + Lens: SD1 + 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO: 200, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/1000 sec,Aperture: f5.6, Focal length: 85mm

From Boulder I headed north on the Byway and ascended to 9800 ft above sea level. Introduced in a guidebook as one of the world’s alpine forest, the area was surrounded by the Quaking Aspen forest.

Passing through the Quaking Aspen forest, the field spread across the landscape and I saw magenta colored Waterpocket Fold in the protected area of Capital Reef National Park. Camera + Lens: SD1 + 85mm F1.4 EX DG HSM, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO: 200, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/500 sec,Aperture: f8.0, Focal length: 85mm

There was a campground surrounded by pine trees in the alpine forest and I contemplated whether to set up tent here, but I went back to the byway and left the alpine forest. After descending to 6837 ft, I ran into State Road 24. I headed east on SR 24 and go through Capitol Reef National Park, the final large attraction on Byway 12. Coming from the green world in high altitude and the red rock world, I set up tent at the campsite near the visitor center and decided to explore the Fruita Historic District. The origin of Fruita comes from the last half of the 19th century when settlers grew orchards. Peaches, plums, pears and apples are still being grown to this day.

A restored farmhouse from the 19th century was built near the campground. Guarded by a large rock wall and a river flowing through, the land is rich in vegetation. Camera + Lens: SD1 + 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO: 200, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/400 sec, Aperture: f8.0, Focal length: 30mm

A school built in 1896 by Mormons had been restored. I look into one of the windows of the school. Only housing grades one through eight, there were as many as 26 students and little as eight students. The last class ended in 1941. Camera: DP1x, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO: 100, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/100 sec, Aperture: f5.6, Focal length:16.6mm

The sunset shines directly on the rock wall and moon. The area quickly became dark. Camera + Lens: SD1 + 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO: 200, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/400 sec, Aperture: f9.0, Focal length: 38mm

It was a comfortable night at the campsite surrounded by trees. The next morning, I packed up and left the campground before the sun rose. Since the land was surrounded by rock wall I didn’t know where the sun was going to rise. I couldn’t wait.

The rock wall that can be seen from the visitor center is called the Castle. Seeing the blue sky and the morning sun shining on the red rock walls, I was convinced this day was going to be sunny. Camera: SD1 Lens: 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO: 200, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/125 sec,Aperture: f9.0, Focal length: 50mm

As soon as the sun rose, the sky became bright blue. I drove east across Capital Reef National Park on State Road 24. The road lined up next to Fremont River and passing a ghost town, I realized I was driving for quite a distance after leaving the park.

Unknowingly leaving the park, I found a strange mountain made of sandstone. The strong sunlight reflected against the gray sandstone and the area was too bright even with sunglasses on. Camera: SD1 Lens: 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM,Exposure mode: Manual, ISO: 200, White balance:daylight, Shutter speed: 1/320 sec, Aperture: f10.0,Focal length: 146m

Settlers began to occupy Giles in 1883 and around 1900 there were 200 residents living in the area, but by 1919 it was a ghost town. The ghost town was empty and only my footsteps on the dry land could be heard. After sharply capturing a portion of the lunch gate with the large aperture macro lens, I left the area. Camera: SD1 Lens: APO MACRO 150mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO: 200, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/320 sec, Aperture: f8.0, Focal length: 150mm

Returning to the park, I dipped my feet in the Fremont River to take a break. Later I walked on a trail, called Grand Wash, between two great rock walls.

Fremont River reflecting the color of the land flows into the Colorado River. The endless sound of flowing water becomes amplified once entering the water and nothing else can be heard. Camera + Lens: SD1 + 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO: 200, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/640 sec, Aperture: f8.0, Focal length: 21mm

High in height and poor footing, the artist must’ve been agile to draw on these walls. Using the large aperture telephoto lens from afar, the photograph sharply captured the details. Camera: SD1 Lens: DP2x, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO: 100, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/250 sec, Aperture: f8.0, Focal length: 24.2mm

After walking on Grand Wash, I stopped over to see the petroglyphs created by a Native American tribe who lived in the area 700 years ago to the year 1250. I promptly left the park after.

I was able to avoid the sun where the narrow area of the trail created a shade, but the sun was shamelessly beating down in non-shaded areas on Grand Wash trail. The digital camera captured the scenery including the family, the blue sky and the tall rock wall. Camera: SD1 Lens: APO 70-200mm F2.8 EX DG OS HSM,Exposure mode: Manual, ISO: 200, White balance:daylight, Shutter speed: 1/1000 sec, Aperture: f5.6, Focal length: 200mm

I take a look at the stratum created over 65 million years extends over 100 miles in Capital Reef National Park and bid farewell. Camera + Lens: SD1 + 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO: 200, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/500 sec, Aperture: f9.0, Focal length: 30mm

Leaving the park, I head west on State Road 24 while gazing at the Scenic Byway 12 in the southern direction.

The main street of a town called Torrey, where SR24 and Scenic Byway 12 intersects. It was a summery afternoon where the shade was much appreciated. Traveling from the west to east, Scenic Byway 12 ends here. Camera: DP2x, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO: 200, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/125 sec, Aperture: f8.0, Focal length:24.2mm

Heading further west on State Road 24, I turn south on State Road 62.

Pink flowers bloom on the side of SR62 and clouds float in the blue sky. Parking the car on the shoulder, as I pointed the lens bees flew by. Camera + Lens: SD1 + 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO: 200, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/500 sec, Aperture: f8.0, Focal length: 40mm

Since there are always new discoveries with each visit, it seems like there isn’t enough time spent on Scenic Byway 12 in Utah. My trip ended, but the beautiful vast landscape on my trip home was endless.

I look down at the twisted creek and canyon from the narrow ridge of the Hogback at Slick Rock. The cottonwood trees accent the dry land. Camera: SD1 Lens: 50mm F1.4 EX DG HSM, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO: 200, White balance: daylight,Shutter speed: 1/640 sec, Aperture: f8.0, Focal length: 50mm

After descending the road gradually, I arrive at a small town called Boulder. A five year construction that started in 1935, until the roadway opened up between Boulder and Escalante, Boulder was known as the Last Frontier. On the west of Byway, large volcanic rocks scattered on the slopes of Boulder Mountain.

Tourists hardly miss this small museum, the Anasazi State Park Museum, built on the shoulder of Scenic Byway 12. In the backyard of the building there were replicas of housing built by the Pueblo tribe during the year 1050 to 1175. Instead of being drawn to the dwellings, I was interested more by the volcanic rocks dispersed around the vicinity. The people of the ancient Pueblo tribe may have sat here before. Camera: SD1 Lens: 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM, Exposure mode: Manual, ISO: 200, White balance: daylight, Shutter speed: 1/800 sec, Aperture: f5.6, Focal length: 23mm

*All artwork on this page was processed from RAW data (X3F) with Sigma PhotoPro software. After processing, some selected images were imported into retouching software to remove dust. This photo essay is currently running on Sigma Japan’s site and it is published here two months later.

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