As you all know by now, Queen Anne and I spent August last year so that I could photograph along Utah’s State Route 12 (wrote a book about it—wan’ a see it—here goes). What you didn’t know is that one morning we drive to Torrey for lunch, and we filmed a time-lapse video with a GoPro stuck to Archie’s roof. It took a while, but I finally assembled all the clips into a 14-minute video that I posted on YouTube this morning.
The video shows all of SR12’s 122 miles, and I spliced in spots along the route that are waiting for you to see and photograph. Queen Anne stars in her YouTube debut that will most likely break the Internet. Finally let me say that although it looks like a mad man was driving, I can assure you that the cruise control was set to the speed limit—of course, that may not absolve me from being a crazy person.
You can see Utah’s State Route 12 on YouTube by clicking here. I hope you enjoy watching it and please share your comments or at least give it a thumb up or thumb down.
There’s exciting news this morning coming from the international headquarters of Jim Witkowski Photography, located in beautiful downtown Congress. You may have wondered why things have been quiet around here for the last six months, or that I didn’t post many photos from our Utah trip last summer. Well, I was busy using that time to compile years of photographs into my new 84-page magazine—Utah State Route 12, and I’m pleased to announce that it’s ready for début.
The project’s theme is about the beautiful places in the Escalante Grand Staircase National Monument. The monument is so vast that it has three management areas: the western Grand Staircase Region, Kaiparowits Region, and Escalante Canyon Region on the east flank. There is only one paved highway that spans them all—Utah’s State Route 12. In this project, I wanted to show that there are beautiful marvels to see along its length, and the road is more than just a gateway to Bryce Canyon.
I plan to release my work in four versions: PDF, Magazine, Book, and eBook. I have completed the first two, which—I believe—should get the most attention, and I’m still working on the second half. It looks like they will be ready by Valentines. (Are you in the dog house and need a gift?)
PDF—this version is best for viewing on your computer, and except for bandwidth, it’s free. It’s ideal for those of you that don’t need more clutter. You can open the file and begin browsing right away or save it to your hard drive for later.
Magazine—this is a 84-page hard copy of photos and text printed on premium stock paper. I’m delighted with how well the images reproduced. The magazine’s cost is $ 22.99 (plus shipping) is admittedly pricy for a periodical, but compared to the book, it’s a bargain. Blurb handles the sales on their secure Website because they print them to demand. That means that there won’t be surplus versions lining birdcage bottoms.
Book—the large (13 x 11) coffee table book is still in progress which sounds simple, but it’s in landscape orientation, so the layouts have to be adjusted. The photos are larger than the magazine’s, and I had more space to embellish the stories. It will be available in softcover, hardback image wrap, and hardback with dust jacket. The price of the book is expected to be under $ 200.00 at most, so I think there will only ever be one edition—my own if Her Highness lets me.
EBook—this will be the last version and will be easy to do because it’s the book reformatted to fit your Kindle. That’s all handled by the computers. I don’t know what it will cost, but it will be ready next month, so keep watching my Books sections. The downside is that with this version, you won’t get the privilege of collecting dust with it.
I’m planning on releasing a new project each year as Queen Anne, and I travel. For this first project, I had to learn the software and build the templates; something that took up development time. Future projects should go from camera to print quicker. Plans for next year’s project are in progress.
You can get your free PDF version and preview the magazine by visiting their Web Page by clicking here. I hope you enjoy viewing them and please leave your comments here and/or on their Blurb page.
Of all the sights to see along Utah’s State Route 12, Bryce Canyon is the crown jewel. All of the other stops along the way are sideshows. The park draws people worldwide and they have to use SR 12 to get to it. I, however, am a weirdo that stops at Bryce because it’s part of the highway. Interestingly, Route 12 cuts through Bryce’s north-east corner, so you get a taste of the Bryce Canyon without leaving your car.
We’ve been to Bryce a handful of times and it’s one of our favorite national parks. With elevations exceeding 9,000 ft, it’s always cooler than home. It has alpine meadows and forests of spruce, fir, and aspen, which are a definite change from cacti. There are great views from the overlooks dotting its 38-mile road and you get an understanding of the Escalante Grand Staircase when you look down from the top. Finally, there’s wildlife—if you don’t see at least one deer while in the park, well … you’re just asleep at the wheel.
Like most visitors, Anne and I stopped at the overlooks on our previous visits, but I wanted to do something different this time. While we were in the visitor’s center, I asked the ranger about the trails and she recommended the Navajo Trail to get the photographs that I was looking for. It’s a loop trail that’s less than a mile and a half long. On their chart, it was a moderate hike because of its 500 ft elevation change. I thought to myself, “Piece of cake, sign me up.”
Before tackling the Navajo, Anne and I drove to the road’s end—Rainbow Point. That’s the park’s highest elevation, and in addition to the great view, there’s a flat trail—for Bryce Canyon—that loops through a grove of bristlecone pines. After completing the loop, we concluded that the bristlecone grove at Cedar Breaks was healthier, larger, and a better experience if you like walking among these ancient trees.
As we drove back to Sunset Point where the Navajo Trail is, Anne called our insurance agent and demanded that he increase my life insurance policy—she of so little faith. When we arrived, we couldn’t find a parking space and I questioned if anyone was still at home in Europe. All of the spaces were full and a queue of three cars waited for each potential empty spot. We decided that I should go and Anne would circle the parking lot—like you do at the airport—until she found an open parking spot. With a kiss for good luck, I grabbed my camera and backpack—with water—which burst open and emptied before I made it to the rim—and set off on my great adventure.
Let me describe the Navajo Trail. On the map, it’s a 1.3-mile loop with a 500 ft elevation change. I hiked down 500 ft on switchbacks for three-quarters of a mile. At the bottom was a log-bench that felt good to sit on. Then I walked around a column and began the trek up another set of switchbacks climbing 2,000 ft in under three miles. If I went in the other direction, the numbers would have been the same. It was one of the most exhilarating things I have done in my life. I didn’t understand Bryce Canyon until it swallowed me.
I made my journey in 1½ hours, but I was taking photos as I plodded along the trail. I resented the kids and a young man who ran up the hill wearing flip-flops. George Bernard Shaw was right when he observed, “Youth is wasted on the young.” I’m glad that I made the effort because I got a different perspective of Bryce Canyon in a mental sense and in my work, which I hope you enjoy viewing.