Paria Townsite

For years now, on the way to and from Kanab, UT, I’ve passed a sign for the Paria Townsite. I always assumed that there would be a plaque in front, perhaps, of the ruins of a building. I hate to admit it, but things like that don’t usually interest me. Man, was I wrong. The whole area is an amazing display of what’s called the Chinle Formation: rocks with these spectacular bands of colors similar to what you’d find in the Painted Desert and South Dakota Badlands.

This is the sight that greets you as you drive down the road.

Paria9 Paria10

We camped here one night. We were the only people in the area, and our view was pretty fantastic.


At sunset, I tried to experiment with ways to make the most of the light and the cloudy sky.





But the pictures seemed really flat and uninteresting.

I realized it had to do with the angle I was taking in relationship to the light. I think pictures that really take advantage of sunset or sunrise for that matter do so by capturing a diagonal angle of shadows. Maybe more like this?


I think the angle gives more dimension? I don’t know. I feel like I have no eye for images. I like or dislike some photographs, but for the life of me I couldn’t tell you why.

Meanwhile, while I was obsessing over these images, this was going on behind me:

Paria4It’s the one thing that I dislike about photography–I feel like I’m always somewhat removed from the moment and miss out on the experience a bit. It’s sort of like that feeling I get when I’m doing something fun or interesting, and I become aware that someone is about to take a picture, and all I can think about is how cool the picture is going to be (although it never is as cool as I wanted it to be) rather than how happy I am. The pinnacle of vanity. I don’t like myself much in those moments.

Anyway, I think this is my favorite picture from that day.


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