exploring nature’s marvels in the American Southwest

Grand Canyon. Zion. Bryce Canyon. Antelope Canyon. Vermilion Cliffs. Arches… I can’t remember a time when I didn’t dream of photographing the canyonlands of the American Southwest. Its vast open spaces, bizarre stone monoliths, and otherworldly shapes and colors have beckoned me for years.

The challenge has always been the mundane shackles of my regular life: the job, family responsibilities, finances, and the like. Every daydream of letting that all go to pursue this “bucket list” item was counteracted by matters of practicality. Until, that is, the summer of 2022.

Call it karma or simply pure luck, but just over a year ago, I committed myself to transitioning to a more balanced mindset and lifestyle where the job didn’t always take top priority. Since then, opportunities that I never believed would happen began to appear.

In this case, my months-long search to buy a used car finally surfaced the right one in Phoenix. My little inner voice that kept whispering If not now, when? suddenly gained traction as I reviewed a highway map: all these national parks lay in the general direction back home! I could fly out to Phoenix, pick up the car, then follow a meandering path through these mythical places–just me, my new roadster, and my camera, stopping wherever the muse directed me.

The photos in this gallery are the result of that amazing 2-week journey of discovery. Back at home now, I realize how close I came to never taking the plunge, of following a dream and fulfilling a bucket-list item.

It may sound cliche, but life is too precious to dull permanently. Take some risks now and then; it’ll do your soul some good. Pull yourself out of your ordinary. When that little voice whispers If not now, when?, take heed. There is more meaning in embracing a dream—even if only for a few days—than in a lifetime of drudgery.