Anasazi Photography: Blog en-us (C) Anasazi Photography | Randy Langstraat (Anasazi Photography) Wed, 07 Jan 2015 04:11:00 GMT Wed, 07 Jan 2015 04:11:00 GMT My Ten Favorite Trip Reports of 2014 For some reason I never posted my favorite trip reports for 2013, but I'm bringing it back this year with my favorites from 2014.  I had an amazing year and visited a lot of new places, plus revisited some others.  I think I took some nice photos along the way and had a lot of fun.  All of the photos on this site come from these trips.  I try to post my best photos over here on Anasazi Photography, but there are plenty of other photos in my trip reports that don't make the cut and help document my adventures.  If you'd like to see more of those photos, make sure to check out ADVENTR.CO

Here are my top ten favorite trip reports from 2014.  As you might notice, I had a great year in Canyonlands National Park.

>> Maze Memorial Weekend


After the StormAfter the Storm

An amazing three days spent in the Maze District of Canyonlands National Park over Memorial Day weekend.  The sunrise on our last morning will be hard to forget!


>> Sand Cove & Yellow Rock


Coyote ButtesCoyote Buttes

My first visit to Coyote Buttes North this year and I had some beautiful conditions.  I spent much of the day hiking in lesser-traveled areas on my own.  I also finally managed to make it to Yellow Rock.  I've been trying to get there for years!


>> Wetterhorn Basin


Heisshorn SunsetHeisshorn Sunset

A nice overnight backpacking trip in the San Juan Mountains.  The highlight of this trip was climbing to the top of a nearby 13er to catch a spectacular sunset!


>> Blue Lakes


Blue Lake SunriseBlue Lake Sunrise

Another location in the San Juan Mountains that I have wanted to visit for a few years.  It's a beautiful area and there were plenty of wildflowers to be found.


>> Salt Creek Canyon


All American ManAll American Man

My desire to someday visit Salt Creek Canyon was part of the driving force for me to start backpacking a few years back.  I was finally able to reach this goal and had a great trip in the spring!


>> Fall Colors in the Elk Mountains


Mount Sopris GlowMount Sopris Glow

My annual Fall Colors trips in Colorado rarely disappoint, and this year was no exception in the Elk Mountains.


>> A Needles Tour


Cave GlowCave Glow

I always have a great time exploring the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park.


>> Courthouse Mountain


Storm LightStorm Light

After climbing Courthouse Mountain in the morning, I was treated to an exceptional sunset in Gray Copper Gulch before going to sleep for the night.


>> The White Rim


White Rim SunsetWhite Rim Sunset

I've tried to complete the White Rim Trail a few times in the past, but something has always prevented me from doing so.  2014 was the year I finally completed the loop.


>> Cedar Mesa & Beyond

Fallen Roof RuinFallen Roof Ruin What's better than spending the long Thanksgiving weekend hiking and searching for ruins and rock art on Cedar Mesa?


]]> (Anasazi Photography) 2014 adventr anasazi photography favorites randy langstraat trip reports Wed, 07 Jan 2015 04:10:44 GMT
My Ten Favorite Photos of 2014 It's that time of the year when I look back at all the photos I have made throughout the year and try and pick out a few of my favorites.  I managed to get out on a lot of trips this year took quite a few photos along the way, so it's been difficult for me to pick out just a couple.  I hope you enjoy the photos I've chosen.  Please feel free to leave me comments on my selections below.


Blue Lake Sunrise

Blue Lake SunriseBlue Lake Sunrise I went on an amazing backpacking trip to the Blue Lakes in the San Juan Mountains this summer and managed to catch some nice wildflowers and a great reflection of Wolcott Mountain at sunrise next to the lower Blue Lake.


After the Storm

After the StormAfter the Storm After spending two days in The Maze District of Canyonlands National Park over the Memorial Day weekend, we were treated to this amazing sunrise from the Maze Overlook on our third day before heading back home.


Squaw Park View

Squaw Park ViewSquaw Park View A different view of the well-known Fisher Towers this past spring as I explored the Squaw Park area just east of Arches National Park.  The late afternoon storm moving through the area added a nice mood to the scene.


Sandstone Skeleton

Sandstone SkeletonSandstone Skeleton Sandstone details found in the back of a shallow alcove during a hike in into Horseshoe Canyon.  I almost didn't stop here for a photo as we hiked by, but am glad that I did!


Mount Sopris Dawn

Mount Sopris DawnMount Sopris Dawn Mount Sopris and the fast-moving clouds above before a beautiful sunrise this past fall on my annual Fall Colors trip in the mountains of Colorado.  I'm really hoping to climb those peaks in 2015!


Light Around the Bend

Light Around the BendLight Around the Bend Glowing light around a bend in Mary Jane Canyon.  This was a great hike up Professor Creek in the late spring that I hope to repeat again in 2015.



FlowFlow The detail of a small cascade along Dead Horse Creek during a hike up to Hanging Lakes near Glenwood Springs early in the summer.


Cascade Bend

Cascade BendCascade Bend One of the many photos I took on my first hike through The Narrows in Zion National Park this past fall.  This was my favorite from that day.


Storm Light

Storm LightStorm Light

A sunset in Gray Copper Gulch that I didn't think was going to happen.  There was a small enough gap in the clouds on the horizon that produced these colors at sunset during a stormy evening in the San Juan Mountains.


Angel Arch

Angel ArchAngel Arch Molar Rock and Angel Arch at sunrise during a backpacking trip through Salt Creek Canyon in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park.  I've wanted to visit this arch for many years and was glad to finally reach that goal this year.


Since I always seem to have a difficult time choosing only ten of my favorite photos from the year,  here are a few runners-up that just missed making the top ten in 2014.  Enjoy!


Ancient Life

Ancient LifeAncient Life A very nice petroglyph panel found at the base of Cedar Mesa that I visited on a camping trip in the early spring.


Flowerful Sunset

Flowerful SunsetFlowerful Sunset I found this amazing patch of wildflowers near one of our camps in the San Juan Mountains shortly before sunset.  I quickly scrambled to take a few shots before it was too dark out. 

Dry Hollow Sunset

Dry Hollow SunsetDry Hollow Sunset There was an amazing sunset on this evening in the Grand Staircase - Escalante National Monument over the changing cottonwood trees that snake along the bottom of the canyon below.


Coyote Buttes

Coyote ButtesCoyote Buttes On my very first camping trip of the year I headed down to Coyote Buttes North and caught a little snow topping the sandstone mountains at sunrise from Sand Cove.


Fall in Ute Canyon

Fall in Ute CanyonFall in Ute Canyon

I've had this photo of Ute Canyon in the Colorado National Monument on my mind for a couple of year now and was finally able to pull it off this past fall.


Calf Creek Falls Detail

Calf Creek Falls DetailCalf Creek Falls Detail Calf Creek Falls has been on my list of places to visit for many years and I was finally able to get there this year.  I like this closeup view the best.


Grand Mesa Colors

Grand Mesa ColorsGrand Mesa Colors I enjoy trying to turn chaos into order through my photos, especially during fall.  I really like the way this one turned out on the Grand Mesa.


During the year I try to keep track of all my favorite photos by adding them to a Flickr album as I upload them.  You can check out my full album of favorites here to see which others didn't make this list:  


2014 Favorites on Flickr


Also, make sure to check out the recent additions to Anasazi Photography here:  
Anasazi Photography New Releases
]]> (Anasazi Photography) 2014 anasazi photography favorites randy langstraat Wed, 17 Dec 2014 20:57:51 GMT
Peaks, Plateaus and Canyons of the Colorado Plateau Pothole PointPothole Point


If you read my last post on the blog, you may have noticed me mention that I have another photo on the cover of a 2015 calendar.  It's true!  My photo 'Pothole Point' is featured in the Peaks, Plateaus and Canyons of the Colorado Plateau 2015 Calendar for the month of December. This particular calendar is available at National Parks and Monuments throughout the Colorado Plateau, which is pretty cool.  However, if you buy the calendar at the Colorado National Monument, this photo is also on the cover!
It truly is an honor to have my photos featured on the covers of both of the 2015 calendars that are sold at the Colorado National Monument Visitor Center this year.
]]> (Anasazi Photography) anasazi photography calendar colorado colorado national monument display randy langstraat Mon, 08 Dec 2014 15:00:00 GMT
Colorado National Monument Calendars Monument CalendarsMonument Calendars

On may way to go hiking yesterday morning, I stopped at the Colorado National Monument Visitor Center to pick up a Peaks, Plateaus and Canyons of the Colorado Plateau 2015 Calendar (I have a photo on the cover of the calendar, but more on that in another post).  While I was there I took this quick photo of the calendar display with my iPhone since I have the cover photo on both of the 2015 calendars they are selling this year, and I'm not sure if that will ever happen again!

]]> (Anasazi Photography) anasazi photography calendar colorado colorado national monument display randy langstraat Sun, 07 Dec 2014 17:08:25 GMT
2015 Colorado National Monument Calendar MonumentsMonuments


As the year 2014 nears it's end, I thought I would mention that there's still time left to get a copy of the 2015 Colorado National Monument calendar from the Colorado National Monument Association's website and the Visitor Center.  The photo above is used on the cover of the calendar and I also have a few other photos scattered throughout the inside.  It's an honor to have one of my photos chosen for the cover of this calendar two years in a row!

]]> (Anasazi Photography) 2015 anasazi photography calendar colorado colorado national monument monuments randy langstraat Wed, 26 Nov 2014 14:00:00 GMT
OutdoorX4 Magazine Issue #6 OutdoorX4 Issue #6


I just found out last night that a photo of my Jeep under the Milky Way in Canyonlands National Park will be on the cover of the next issue of  OutdoorX4 Magazine.  It was a nice surprise.  I took this photo on my trip around the White Rim Road back in September and there's also an article about that trip in this issue, too.  If you enjoy spending time in the backcounty and use a 4x4 vehicle to get you there, I highly recommend you check out OutdoorX4 Magazine.

]]> (Anasazi Photography) canyonlands national park cover jeep magazine outdoorx4 utah Tue, 25 Nov 2014 14:13:15 GMT
New Releases Gallery Fall in Ute CanyonFall in Ute Canyon


This has been a busy and exciting year for me which left me little to no time to add new photos to this website.  Things have started to slow down a little bit with the colder weather we have been experiencing, so I have been able to finally start adding new images I've made this past year.  To make them easier to find I have added a new gallery named "New Releases" that I plan to continue using as I add new images in the future.  


Go ahead and check it out here:

]]> (Anasazi Photography) gallery new releases website Fri, 21 Nov 2014 17:08:16 GMT
My Ten Favorite Photos of 2013 It's that time of the year again.  A time to look back and see how far you've come.  I didn't get out on as many adventures in 2013 as I usually do, but I still think I managed to get some nice shots throughout the year.  I know I say this every year, but it really is difficult just pick out ten of my favorites.  I've done my best with the selection and have posted them here for your viewing pleasure.  Please let me know what you think in the comments below!



Personal Rainbow

Personal RainbowPersonal Rainbow

In January I took a few trips to the Colorado National Monument when the weather looked good.  On this particular day the conditions were spectacular and I spent much of the afternoon photographing from the different viewpoints on the western end of Rim Rock Drive.  While I was photographing at Grand View I looked down at the clouds below me and notice my shadow had a cool circular rainbow around it.  I'd never seen anything like it before so I quickly took a few shots before conditions changed.  I later learned that this phenomenon is known as a brocken spectre and I'm glad I was there to witness it.





After spending a cold evening camping at the end of the Sneffels Range near Telluride on my annual Fall Colors weekend I was ready to head to the warmer temperatures of southern Utah.  As I was driving along Last Dollar Road this dilapidated cabin surround by beautiful fall foliage caught my eye.



Castle Valley Rainbow

Castle Valley RainbowCastle Valley Rainbow

In October I spent an amazing day around Moab photographing dynamic weather conditions including waterfalls, snow, fall colors and plenty of rainbows.  I must have seen at least eight different rainbows on this day- many of them from the Castle Valley Overlook.  This is just one of many rainbow images I made that day.



Light & Shadow

Light and ShadowLight and Shadow

Back in February I took my first trip out to Death Valley National Park and had a wonderful time.  I already can't wait to get back again!  I made sure to visit and photograph a few of the park's sand dunes while I was there. This is just a simple image showing the contrast between light and shadow taken at the Eureka Dunes- California's highest sand dunes.



The Canyonlands

The CanyonlandsThe Canyonlands

In March I spent a night camped at the Canyonlands Overlook in the Canyon Rims Recreation Area.  This is a location I have had on my radar for a while and am glad I finally made it out here.  The light on the sandstone below the overlook and above Lockhart Basin was nice on this stormy evening.



Under the Rainbow

Under the RainbowUnder the Rainbow

While searching for wildflowers along Stony Pass Road on a stormy day, sunlight slipped through a small opening in the clouds and created this rainbow behind me.  It was like I had driven right under it.  The rainbow didn't last more than a couple of minutes, so I’m glad I was ready to capture it.



Desert Oasis

Desert OasisDesert Oasis

In early October I spent a morning chasing waterfalls along the Colorado River after a heavy downpour near Moab.  As I was driving back to town I caught a glimpse of what looked like a very nice waterfall, but it was hard to tell from the road.  I decided it was worth checking out, and was pleasantly surprised to find this little desert oasis when I hiked closer.



Lockhart Basin

Lockhart BasinLockhart Basin

I've wanted to check out Lockhart Basin for years but somehow never managed to get out that way before.  This year I made up my mind to finally get there and I had a great time photographing the desert scenery.  I was treated to an amazing sunset and sunrise, but I love the light on the layers of sandstone in this image along with the nice painterly sky.



Mount Princeton Ridge

Mount Princeton RidgeMount Princeton Ridge

This year I ended up climbing four of Colorado's peaks over 14,000 feet.  While hiking to the top of Mount Princeton in the Sawatch Range I reached the final ridge to the summit just as the sun was coming up for the day.  The golden light was intense and there were some nice clouds hiding the very top of the peak.  It was an incredible Colorado sunrise.



Sawatch Sunrise

Sawatch SunriseSawatch Sunrise

As I climbed to the summit of 14,276' Mount Antero back in late August I was treated to this beautiful sunrise over the Sawatch Range.  Have I mentioned that I love living in Colorado?



Since I usually have a very difficult time selecting only ten photos each year I'll post a few of the runners up that didn't quite make the cut, but were very close to being in my top ten of 2013.  Enjoy!




River of Fire

River of FireRiver of Fire

I remember this January morning very well because it was brutally cold out as I waited for the sun to come up over the Grand Mesa in the distance.  The fog rising up from the icy waters of the Colorado River in Grand Junction caught the warm early morning light nicely.



Standing Tall

Standing TallStanding Tall

This year I also made my first visit to Little Finland, also known as Devil's Fire, in the Gold Butte region of Nevada.  I spent a night camped here on my drive out to Death Valley and had the pleasure of photographing a beautiful sunset with these unusual sandstone formations.  I took quite a few images this evening, but this one stands out as my favorite. 



Second Wave

Second WaveSecond Wave

Warm evening light illuminates the Second Wave of Coyote Buttes North in November.  I've been to Coyote Buttes North many times over the past few years and I never get tired of the amazing sandstone formations found here.



Rocky Mountain View

Rocky Mountain ViewRocky Mountain View

I'm not much of a wildlife photographer but when an opportunity presents itself I do the best I can.  In this case I was hiking down from Mount Quandary in Colorado's Tenmile Range when I spotted this Rocky Mountain Goat standing in a patch of yellow wildflowers seeming staring at the view beyond.  I only had my little point and shoot camera with me on this hike so I did the best I could with the equipment in hand and think it turned out great.



Zabriskie View

Zabriskie ViewZabriskie View

Here is one last image from my trip to Death Valley last February.  I spent two wonderful mornings photographing from Zabriskie Point because I enjoyed the view so much.  I love the alpenglow on the top of the Panamint Range across the valley with the yellow badlands below.



]]> (Anasazi Photography) Mon, 23 Dec 2013 03:46:54 GMT
Perfect Days - Backpacker Magazine I received the latest issue of Backpacker Magazine (October 2013) a few weeks ago and wanted to share that I have a photo of Independence Monument in the Colorado National Monument featured in the Local Hikes section.


]]> (Anasazi Photography) Thu, 26 Sep 2013 02:41:17 GMT
Ouray Ice Festival 2013  

Last Saturday I battled the bitter cold in Ouray, Colorado to watch and photograph the annual Ouray Ice Festival.  I had a great time and have posted a trip report with plenty of photos at ADVENTR.CO


]]> (Anasazi Photography) 2013 climbing colorado festival ice ouray Mon, 21 Jan 2013 01:14:20 GMT
My First Canon Repair Experience Since I am currently in the middle of my very first experience with Canon Repairs, I thought I'd share the saga on my blog.  First off, let me state right up front that I'm pretty rough on my camera gear.  My camera and lenses have been dropped, knocked into rocks while hiking and splashed with water and precipitation.  I was planning on sending my Canon 5DmkII camera in for repairs early this year, however that decision was taken away from me when it stopped working at the beginning of December.  In order to keep taking photos I quickly purchased the new Canon 6D that had just come out. I was back up and running two days later.  I still wanted to keep the 5DmkII around as a backup camera, so I sent it in to Canon to be repaired.  Since I had the new camera, I was pretty laid back about how long the repairs would take (I knew it would probably need some extensive repairs and parts).  I still thought this would be a quick and easy experience, but as you will read below, it hasn't been.  I'm just glad I bought the new camera first, because there is no way I would have  been able to go without a camera for this long.


I don't want this post to to sound like I'm whining about the experience, because I'm not.  I just want to share my personal experience with Canon Repairs since it has kind of become a little ridiculous at this point.  Perhaps if feedback from Canon had been timely and accurate I wouldn't have felt the need to share my story.


December 18, 2012

I sent my camera to the Canon repair facility in California via UPS Ground.  Insured, of course.


December 21, 2012

The package was delivered to Canon in the morning.


December 28, 2012

A week went by after my camera had been delivered, but I had heard nothing from Canon.  I was starting to worry a little at this point that my camera disappeared, so I gave them a call.  After speaking to the representative, I was informed that it takes the repair facility a few days to check in the cameras after they receive them, and that the technicians get a few days off around the holidays.  That's understandable, but it still seemed a bit long.  (For future reference: don't send my gear to Canon for repairs around the holidays.)


January 2, 2013

Finally my camera is checked into their system and I receive an invoice via email for the cost of repairs.  I promptly call them with my credit card number so they can start the repair process.


January 7, 2013

I check the Canon status page on Monday and receive the following message:


"The quality inspection of product functions has been completed and your product will be ready for delivery shortly."


That sounds great to me, my camera should be shipping back to me any day now!  Right? 


January 11, 2013

 A few days go by and the status on Canon's website never changes, plus I receive no email communication about my camera shipping. On Friday I decide to call Canon to find out what's going on?  The person I spoke with wasn't very helpful and just re-read what the status on their website said.  It was not a pleasant or helpful experience.  She told me that the camera should ship out later that day or on Monday.  I give her the benefit of the doubt and wait to see what happens.


January 15, 2013

Tuesday the 15th rolls around with no status updates or shipping notification.  It's been over a week since the status says my camera was ready, so I call Canon again.  This time I speak to a much more helpful person.  He is unable to contact the California repair facility because they are not open yet, but he verifies that the status shows the Camera should have been shipped shortly after the 7th, and that it hadn't.  He's not sure why, so he escalates the matter and tells me to try calling back later in the day when the west coast facility is open.  He was as helpful as he could be, so I was finally feeling like things might be taken care of.


I call Canon back later in the day, as suggested, and speak to another unhelpful person again (I'm pretty sure it's the same person I spoke to the week before).  Again, she tries to read me the status on the website which is no help and a little frustrating.  Finally, after asking for someone who can actually do something, she calls the repair facility to find out what's going on.  They inform her that some parts they need for the repair just showed up and that the camera will be repaired soon.  That makes Canon's repair tracking status completely wrong!  Had I known that they were waiting for parts that needed to be ordered, I wouldn't have called and bothered Canon as much since I would have known what was happening.  It figures that I just sent my 24-105mm lens for repair this very morning, so now I am worried that I will not see that lens again until March...


January 18, 2013

I decided to call Canon again before the weekend to see if any progress has been made since I still haven't heard anything from them.  This time I spoke to another helpful representative who saw that there was something wrong with the length of time and updates to this repair.  She called over to the repair facility to find out what was going on.  After a long wait on hold she informed me that they do not know what is wrong with my camera and are trying to figure it out.  There is currently no ETA.  As of Monday, they will have my camera in their possession for a month.  I really hope I get the camera back before my week-long trip scheduled in February!


January 21, 2013

Canon has now had my camera in their possession for a month.


January 22, 2013

I called Canon again today to see if they could finally figure out what is going on with my camera.  Thankfully, I spoke with a very helpful representative who seemed really interested in getting to the bottom of this.  She told me she needed to call the technician later in the day and promised she would call me back.  She did call me back, as she promised, and informed me that the technician thinks he knows what the problem is and is working on fixing it.  She was still unable to get any kind of ETA.  Next, she connected me to her supervisor to escalate this issue even further.  Right now the supervisor has promised she will call me back tomorrow with more details.  Right now I'm waiting for that call back.


January 23, 2013

I never received a call from the supervisor today as promised so I called Canon back again.  The person I spoke with would not transfer me to the supervisor like I asked and assured me that my camera would be shipping out later today or tomorrow.  I have my doubts...


January 24, 2013

Update 1: I actually received a call back from Canon today.  Unfortunately, it wasn't good news.  Canon has no clue where my camera is, which basically means all the stories they've been telling me over the last few weeks have been false.  They are going to be sending me a new refurbished camera, but that's going to take a few more weeks to get here which means I probably won't have it back before my trip in February.  I've called my insurance company to see if there is anything they can do at this point, but I doubt it.  Now I need to call them about the lens I sent in, since they received it last Friday and it's still not showing in their system.

Update 2: Well, Canon did receive my lens into their system today since I just received the quote for repair.  However, the quote they gave me is about $530 to replace the front element!  That seems way too expensive to me.  That's half the cost of a brand new lens.  If they hadn't lost my camera (which was in way worse condition) it was only going to cost me $330 to repair.  Needless to say, I am not very happy with Canon at the moment.


January 25, 2013

I've heard back from my insurance company and it looks like they are going to take care of me since they had me send my camera in to Canon in the first place to see about getting it repaired.  I've also declined service on the lens since the price is way too high for a working lens with a scratched front element.


January 29, 2013

I received my unrepaired lens back from Canon today.  At least they didn't lose it...



To conclude this repair saga, Canon never did find my camera, but they sent me a refurbished 5DmkII to replace the one they lost.  They were able to get the replacement to me in time for my trip in February.  In the end I decided to sell the 5DmkII and upgrade to a 5DmkIII that came with a new 24-105mm lens.  I'm sure this situation is uncommon with Canon, but I will always be a little worried when I have to send something in for repairs in the future!

]]> (Anasazi Photography) bad communication camera canon experience poor customer service repair slow Wed, 16 Jan 2013 02:12:08 GMT
2013 Ouray Visitor’s Guide While I was in Ouray this past weekend for the Ice Festival (which was a lot of fun, stay tuned for the trip report on ADVENTR.CO), I made sure to pickup a copy of the 2013 Ouray Visitor's Guide since they licensed a few photos from me to use in it this year.  I took a few quick photos to share.


Ouray Visitor

They used two of my photos on the cover of the Visitor's Guide which is pretty cool.   The photo of my Jeep was taken along Mineral Creek on my way to Engineer Pass and photo of the ice climber was taken at last year's Ice Festival in Ouray.


Ouray Visitor

The large two-page spread behind the Table of Contents is one of my photos overlooking the Red Mountains near Corkscrew Pass.  If you look behind the table of contents you can see my Jeep Cherokee hidden behind the text.  I guess both of my Jeeps made it into the Visitor's Guide this year.


Ouray Visitor

My Jeep makes another appearance on Activities and Adventure page next to the 'Roadways' section.  I guess it fits right in since my ADVENTR license plate is front and center.  This photo was taken along the Imogene Pass road.


Ouray Visitor

Here's one last page with two more of my photos.  The first one is the closeup of the Durango & Silverton train that I took this past fall in Silverton.  The last image is one of my favorites from the Colorado National Monument showing a switchback of Rim Rock Drive with some monsoonal storm clouds and a rainbow above.

]]> (Anasazi Photography) colorado display jeep ouray published visitors guide Tue, 15 Jan 2013 03:01:22 GMT
Frosty Morning Frosty MorningFrosty Morning

Frost clings to the branches of these trees along the Colorado River on a frigid morning.  Fog rising off of the river below softens the scene and gives this image a painterly feel.

]]> (Anasazi Photography) colorado colorado river fog frost frosty morning grand junction grand valley sunrise Mon, 14 Jan 2013 04:11:19 GMT
First Night Out I received my copy of the March issue of Backpacker Magazine in the mail today and wanted to share this short section about about my first backpacking trip.  Last year I decided to try my hand at backpacking for the very first time so I could start hiking to places that are beyond a typical dayhike.  I had a nice time and went on two other backpacking trips and am now looking forward to going on a few more this year.

I'd like to thank my friend Jared for providing the photo of me that they used.
First Night Out
]]> (Anasazi Photography) backpacker magazine backpacking colorado dominguez canyon grand junction published randy langstraat Fri, 11 Jan 2013 04:00:35 GMT
Colorado Life Magazine Colorado Life Magazine


I finally got my hands on a copy of the latest Colorado Life Magazine yesterday.  I've been looking forward to reading this issue since it features one of my images taken last February at the Colorado National Monument when fog filled the canyons after a light snow.  I really think the photo looks great as a two-page spread which opens up the article.  There are plenty of other great photos of the Monument from other excellent Colorado-based photographers as well.


If you are interested in picking up a copy for yourself, below is the cover of the January / February 2013 issue that contains my image and the article about the Colorado National Monument in the winter.  Click on the cover for more information or to subscribe at Colorado Life Magazine's website.


Colorado Life Magazine

]]> (Anasazi Photography) colorado life colorado national monument display fog fruita grand junction grand valley magazine snow valley of fog winter Thu, 10 Jan 2013 13:27:34 GMT
River of Fire River of FireRiver of Fire

This is an image that is fresh off my camera from this morning.  After scouting a new location along the Colorado River before sunrise, I was chased away by some duck hunters.  Well, they didn't actually chase me away, but based on where I was and where they were, I didn't think it was a good idea to stick around and take my chances.  I didn't have much time before the sun was scheduled to come up at this point, so I quickly drove back to Grand Junction to an area I drove by a few days ago that I wanted to return for a sunrise or sunset.  I'm glad I did, especially with the very cold weather we've been having lately which caused fog to rise off the river.  By the time I took this image I couldn't feel my fingers, but I think it was worth it.  I love the warm back-lighting of the fog above the icy river.

]]> (Anasazi Photography) colorado colorado river fog grand junction grand mesa ice river of fire sunrise Sat, 05 Jan 2013 21:29:59 GMT
My Ten Favorite Trip Reports of 2012 Throughout the year I take many trips to different locations on the Colorado Plateau, Rocky Mountains and beyond.  Most of them are weekend or day trips, but I try and get a few longer trips in each year, too.  These trips are where most of the photos on this site come from, however, I take plenty of other photos to document the trips as well.  You will not find those photos on this website, but you can find them with all of my trip reports on ADVENTR.CO.  It was difficult to choose just ten, but below are my favorite ten trip reports from this past year.  You might notice a common theme among some of them because I took a few trips down to The Paria Plateau.

>> Life & Death | Coyote Buttes North

This trip report is dedicated to my mom, Kathy Langstraat, who passed away around the same time.
Second Wave

>> Annular Solar Eclipse & The Paria Plateau

What a great coincidence!  I managed to get permits to Coyote Buttes North the same weekend of the Annular Solar Eclipse down in the same area.  What a great way to spend a weekend!
Annular Solar Eclipse

>> Basin Wildflower Tour

This year I set out specifically to photograph wildflowers for the first time.  Even though it was a bad year for wildflowers, I think I managed to get a few nice photos.  Plus Amanda and I spent a nice day searching for the flowers.  At least I got some good practice for next year!
Flowers & Falls

>> The Elusive Horse Canyon

I've been trying to get back into Horse Canyon for years, but the road had been closed for a while.  When I got word that the road had reopened this summer, I quickly obtained a permit and invited a couple of close friends.  We had a very nice weekend searching for ruins and rock art.  I'm glad that I didn't delay, because about two weeks later a flash flood closed the road again.  Who knows when it will reopen again?
Salt Creek Sunrise

>> Paradise Divide

Amanda and I spent a wonderful weekend camping at the Paradise Divide in July.  There was some nice light and a few rainbows that showed up during the sunset.
Mount Baldy

>> Clear Lake & Ice Lake Basin

This year I finally tried my hand at backpacking, and I liked it.  I managed to go on three different backpacking trips, but this one to Ice Lake Basin in the San Juan Mountains was my favorite.
Clear Lake

>> Ruby – Horsethief Canyons

It was nice to get on the river a few times this summer, but this two night trip with Jackson was a great time.

>> Once in a Blue Moon | The Arizona Strip

Jared and I spent this long weekend exploring The Arizona Strip.  Not only did my Jeep get stuck in quicksand, but we witnessed some  of the most amazing monsoonal sunsets.

>> Fall Colors in the Elk Mountains

I spent a few weekends chasing fall colors this year, but my favorite one was when I camped near Kebler Pass in the Elk Mountains.

>> The Paria Plateau

Amanda and I spent one last weekend down on the Paria Plateau this year with another visit to Coyote Buttes North.  Again, we had some amazing weather conditions, even if it was a little cold.
Second Wave Storm
]]> (Anasazi Photography) adventr arizona colorado randy langstraat trip reports utah Sun, 30 Dec 2012 21:48:27 GMT
Happy Holidays SantaSanta's Sleigh

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  I thought it would be fitting to post this photo of small petroglyph panel known as Santa's Sleigh found near Moab today.

]]> (Anasazi Photography) happy holidays merry christmas santas sleigh Tue, 25 Dec 2012 16:00:00 GMT
Building My Perfect Backcountry Tripod Shadow Photographer

Over the past few years I'd been using a Manfrotto ballhead and carbon fiber tripod combination that had really begun to frustrate me in the field.  Earlier this year I decided to invest in a new tripod and ballhead that would hopefully work much better for me, without the frustration.  Before I started researching which components to buy, I figured out exactly what requirements I needed this new tripod to meet, and came up with the following:  
  • Lightweight: Since I spend much of my time hiking in the backcounty, both the tripod and ballhead need to be light, especially since this tripod would be accompanying me on long dayhikes and backpacking trips.


  • Tall: I'm a pretty tall guy at 6'5" and wanted a tripod that would get as close to my eye level as possible so that I would not have to hunch over too much while taking photos.  I also wanted it to be tall without the use of an extended center column since that would just add extra weight and make the tripod more unstable. 


  • Compact: I know this is counter-intuitive to my previous requirement, bu I also wanted to find a tripod that would fold up pretty compact so that it would easily fit on whatever backpack I would be using.


  • Twist-Locks: The flip-locks on my previous Manfrotto tripod were a major source of frustration for me.  I would frequently find myself needing to setup the tripod quickly to catch the changing ling, only to get slowed down while trying to extend the legs.  I knew that I would want twist-locks on the legs of my new tripod for speed of extending them.  With the twist-locks, I would be able to extend the legs quicker by unlocking all three locks on each leg at the same time.


  • Quality & Tough: I needed my new tripod to be tough and of good quality since I knew it would be getting knocked around in the field, in my Jeep and on my backpack.
You might notice that none of my requirements involve price.  I learned a long time ago that if I want to be happy with a purchase, I need to make sure to get exactly what I want without worrying about the price, even if that means waiting a little longer to save up some extra money.  I also knew that meeting these requirements wasn't going to be cheap.
Here's a rundown of each component that I ended up getting.  Since I've now been using this tripod in the field for much of the year I will also give a little feedback on how each component has worked out for me.

Ballhead:  Acratech GP-s

Acratch GP-s Ballhead After plenty of research I decided to go with the Acratech GP-s Ballhead.  There are quite a few features of this ballhead that I liked.  The open design of the ball makes keeping it clean and working smoothly a breeze.  This especially helpful for me since it will frequently be in contact with sand and dust in the desert.  There is also no dust-attracting grease required.  The open design of  the ball also allows a lot more movement compared other ballheads on the market.  The knobs are coated in rubber and are all different shapes and sizes making them easy to operate.  This feature-filled ballhead weighs in at under a pound and supports up to 25lbs.  It's also worth mentioning that this ballhead has a panning base and offers the ability to function as a gimbal head and a leveling panoramic head.
Quick Review:  I absolutely love this ballhead!  It's so easy to operate in the field and never gets dirt trapped in the ball, so it's always smooth to adjust.  I also love the extra movement allowed by the open design.  This piece of gear is very tough and has survived getting knocked around quite well, with only  a few nicks and scratches in the powder-coating.  Of course, it's also lightweight which is great for carrying around on my backpack.  I have used the panning base for a few panoramas and it has worked well.  I even used the gimbal feature once when panning my camera vertically to create this image.  I would highly recommend this ballhead for outdoor nature and adventure photographers.

Camera Plate:  Really Right Stuff L-Bracket

Really Right Stuff L-Bracket When I was deciding on a ballhead, I made sure to also look for one that used the Acra-Swiss mounting system.  I was tired of dealing with the loose fitting Manfrotto plates during the last few years and I wanted a system that locked the camera down tight.  One other thing I didn't like about my previous tripod was having to flop my camera 90 degrees into a notch when taking vertical photos, which I frequently do.  This would throw the balance of my tripod off-center and make it unstable.  With an L-Bracket I could just flip the camera 90 degrees on it's side and still have it perfectly centered over the top of the tripod.
Quick Review:  There's not much to the really Right Stuff L-Bracket.  It's just an aluminum bracket that mounts on your camera and stays there.  I can say that it doesn't get in the way of any of the functions on your camera and doesn't block access to any of the ports.  It's lightweight and doesn't add too much bulk to the camera.  It is noticeable that it is there, but you will quickly get used to it.  This bracket is tough and helps protect your camera a little.  I'm afraid to say that my camera gets used and abused.  It gets knocked around when I'm climbing over boulders and has even fallen off my tripod.  The bracket has lost some of it's powder coating, but has held up well to the abuse.  I'll never go without an L-bracket again!

Tripod Legs: Feisol Tournament Tripod CT-3442 Rapid

Feisol Tournament Tripod When I first started looking for some new tripod legs, I originally went to research Gitzo tripods.  They are well-known for making the best tripods out there, so I assumed they would have what I was looking for.  They made a few tripods that were close to what I wanted, but I would soon find out that Feisol actually had this model that matched my requirements even closer.  I know quite a few people with these Feisol tripods, and all of them have nothing but good things to say about them, so I wasn't worried about the quality.  This tripod extends to 54.33" without the center column, which was actually one of the tallest I was able to find (that didn't weigh a ton), and it collapses down to 18.9" which was also one of the shortest I was able to find.  It accomplishes this feat because the legs fold back 180 degrees over the ballhead.  This not only allows the tripod to fold down very small, it also has the added benefit of protecting the head. Even with all of these features, this tripod weighs in at only 2.3lbs, which makes it one of the lightest full-sized tripods I was able to find, too. The legs also have the twist-locks that I was looking for.
Quick Review:  I've owned a few tripods over the years, but I have to say that this set of legs are the best I have used, by far!  They are tough, easy to operate and even easy to clean.  They extend pretty tall, even for a tall guy like me, but still fold up shorter than most other tripods in this class.  I like that the legs bold back 180 degrees which has helped protect my ballhead from banging against things while hiking.  I like the twist-locks better than the flip-locks, even though they are not as frustration-free as I had hoped they would be.  I did lose a few of the rubber feet off the bottom of the legs and had an issue with the angle locks at the top of the legs not staying in place, but Feisol was quick to respond to these issues and repaired them under warranty.  They even repaired it quickly and sent it back via 2-day shipping so that I could have it in time for a trip.  Definitely some of the best customer service that I have dealt with.  I will be using some glue or epoxy to keep the rubber feet in place this time.  This is another item I would highly recommend to outdoor nature and adventure photographers out there.
To sum things up, I am very pleased with this complete setup.  It's lightweight, sturdy, easy to use, rugged, and meets all of my requirements.  It wasn't the cheapest option out there, but everything works well together and I can rely on it in the field when I am trying to make images in harsh conditions or difficult to reach locations.  As you can see, the tripod also makes for a nice hat rack at camp!
Peekaboo Camp
I hope this information is helpful to some of you out there, and if you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment below and I'll do my best to answer them.
]]> (Anasazi Photography) acratech backcountry backpacking feisol hiking lightweight really right stuff tripod Mon, 24 Dec 2012 15:30:00 GMT
Mini Gallery Wraps  

Mini Gallery Wrap Front One of my best selling products locally is the Mini Gallery Wrap.  Since this isn't a common product that I have found for sale online and many people have asked me questions about them, I thought it would be a good idea to explain what they are and why they are a great option for displaying my photos in your home or at the office.
Mini Gallery Wraps are very similar to the larger canvas wraps that you are probably already familiar with, except they are smaller, lighter and more affordable.  They are printed on the same high quality canvas that is used on my larger Gallery Wraps and are then sprayed for protection before being assembled.  They make excellent gifts and are a great way to dress up any space, no matter how small or large. You can easily combine multiple Mini Gallery Wraps to create a unique display that you can call your own, all for the price that one large Gallery Wrap would have cost you!
All  of my Mini Gallery Wraps are approximately 75 square inches. The final dimensions of each wrap will be slightly different depending on the original dimensions of the photo. For example, a standard 2x3 sized photo would end up being approximately 7" x 10.5" in size.
On the back of each Mini Gallery Wrap is a fold-out cardboard stand and a plastic hanger, so you have the option of either hanging it on a wall or standing it up on any flat surface, as seen in the photo below.

Mini Gallery Wrap Back


Below is another photo of a Mini Gallery Wrap with a water bottle next to it so that you can get a better idea of the size of a typical photo.  Depending on the original dimensions of the photo chosen, the exact size will be a little different, but this is a good starting point for scale.

Mini Gallery Wrap Size


Free shipping via USPS is included on all Mini Gallery Wraps that are shipped within the continental United States.  All Mini Gallery Wraps are printed and assembled on demand so please allow 2-4 weeks for delivery.  If you have any further questions or special requests, please feel free to contact me using the 'Contact' link at the top of this page.  Thanks!

]]> (Anasazi Photography) anasazi photography canvas display mini gallery wraps Fri, 21 Dec 2012 04:08:18 GMT