Sunday, February 10, 2013

Fantasy Canyon

Rock formation at Fantasy Canyon in Utah
  I went out to Venal, Utah for work and was lucky to be able to photograph an amazing formation in the Uintah Basin.  Fantasy Canyon is a pristine piece of beauty tucked away inside the vast sprawl of Utah's oil fields.  We were there measuring winter time ozone levels which have hit some amazingly high numbers over the past several years, and I had some free time to set up my cameras while the data came down. 
Fresh Powder on Fantasy Canyon
  We first found out about the small state park because of a curious mind and a brochure in the Vernal Airport Enterprise Rent-a-Car. 
  We were given permission to run a tether in the parking lot of the Canyon for vertical ozone and meteorological profiles.  The Uintah Basin is surrounded by three ranges of mountains which trap polluted air inside of it like a fish bowl.
Measuring Ozone from a Tether

Chance suited up for a cold afternoon.
Balloon above Fantasy Canyon
Fantasy Canyon from the balloon
  For one run I actually attached my helmet camera to the balloon in order to get some better views of the surrounding landscape.  The "canyon" consists of the eroding rocks seen just below and left of center.

I see a mayan chieftain in this silhouette.
  I worked the afternoon shift at the canyon several times and was treated to some pretty fantastic sunsets.  It felt wonderful out there in the sun, but as soon as it set, temperatures dropped in to the single digits.

Ozone Balloon joins Jupiter and the Pleiades
Witches Head and Three Dogs at night

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