Debra Powell Photography LLC: Blog en-us (C) Debra Powell Photography LLC (Debra Powell Photography LLC) Thu, 19 Aug 2021 00:01:00 GMT Thu, 19 Aug 2021 00:01:00 GMT Debra Powell Photography LLC: Blog 120 120 FIVE PHOTOGENIC COLORADO LAKES No, Colorado isn’t necessarily known for it’s “Great Lakes.”  We’re mostly a mountain and stream kind of a place.  I went through five years of photographs looking for lakes that I though photographed well.  Some of these lakes are so small and so off the beaten path that you can’t consider putting a motorized vehicle on them.  They’re mostly for fishing and camping beside.  There’s some real beauty out there so let’s get started!  Also, since it’s so hard to narrow down to My Five Favorites, here’s a list of five that I like. 


Blue Mesa is the largest body of water in Colorado.  It was originally dammed in the 1960’s and it’s nearly 20 miles long, following the path of The Gunnison River.  At least one town was completely flooded and at this time, the water levels are so low that people are reporting that old buildings – a gas station, a house, a small store … are now visible at times.  You can walk out to them. I haven’t seen this myself, but I have heard it reported.  The lake is situation to the south of Gunnison and Gunnison is the closest city to the lake.  I’m including some of the pictures I took one afternoon as I was on my way to Crested Butte.  I was really intrigued by the reflections in this very still, blue water and the abstract patterns that emerged.  Lots of activities take place at this reservoir including fishing, camping, and boating, both motorized and non-motorized. 

08_10_18 Blue Mesa Reservoir08_10_18 Blue Mesa ReservoirBlue Mesa Reservoir 090420 Circle of Reflection 1090420 Circle of Reflection 1The is Blue Mesa Reservoir, the largest body of water in Colorado. It supplies water for electricity and irrigation throughout the southwestern United States. This mid-day reflections make for interesting abstracts. CONNECTED LAKES 

Connected Lakes is a section of The Colorado River State Park that runs along the Colorado River near my current home in Grand Junction.  Small dams have been created that help divert water from the river to irrigation ditches in the area.  These small lakes and their adjacent parks are lovely oases in the surrounding desert.  You can fish at Connected Lakes, but there is no camping allowed at this section of the state park.  Unmotorized boating and fishing is allowed.  Long after the aspen have lost their leaves, the cottonwoods at Colorado River State Park, Connected Lakes, is still going strong.  Time to move down to a lower elevation! 

10_23_18 October Reflections 210_23_18 October Reflections 2


OK, I admit I’m partial to this suburban lake because I lived beside it for 14 years.  The lake is privately owned by guy who runs a waterski company, but as residents, we were allowed to use the if we signed an “Opt-in Agreement”, which I did, so I could paddle my canoe around the lake.  I spent too many evenings on my front porch or in my living room, looking out the window at this lake.  I decided to move to Colorado’s western slope when I retired to have closer access to all the national parks in Utah and Colorado.  My new location is perfect for a nature photographer, but I must admit I miss “my lake.” 

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Two for the price of one!  Lake Granby and Grand Lake are both located just outside the western border of Rocky Mountain National Park.  The yacht club up there lays claim to being the highest private yacht club in the country at just over 8,000 feet in elevation.  Lots of recreational activities take place at both Lake Granby and Grand Lake, including boating, fishing, hiking around the lake, camping and the usual activities.  Plenty of dining, lodging and camping is located nearby. 

09_10_17 Colors Changing 2-209_10_17 Colors Changing 2-2Choppy water a storm moves in


I have no idea why this small lake is called Priest Lake, but there is an old cabin nearby, which, who knows?  Maybe a priest lived there.  Since this lake is actually a small dam, it’s possible that there was no lake here when the cabin was occupied.  I was mostly attracted to it because Priest is my maiden name, but there is no relation that I know of.  There are a couple of camping spots located here, maybe five or six.  It’s pretty rough, disbursed camping.  It’s located about 30 miles south of Telluride.  I think it’s one of the most beautiful little lakes I’ve ever seen.  I got there just a little late to see the aspens in color, but it was still remarkably beautiful. 

102320 Priest Lake_-49 (2)102320 Priest Lake_-49 (2)A small man-made lake south of Telluride, Colorado.

So, there you go, five incredibly beautiful lakes in Colorado – a place not known for lakes! To see more beautiful Colorado lakes, take a look at my gallery entitled "Colorado Lakes".  






]]> (Debra Powell Photography LLC) Thu, 19 Aug 2021 00:00:43 GMT
THE ART AND PRACTICE OF MINDFUL PHOTOGRAPHY …There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the earth.” – Rumi


One evening a few years ago, I was out for a drive through a nearby town called Glade Park.  Glade Park, Colorado sits on a high mesa above The Colorado National Monument, tucked between Pinyon Mesa, a part of The Grand Mesa National Forest, and the state line that separates Colorado from Utah.  As a relative newcomer to the area, I was stopped dead in my tracks the first time I visited this magical place, when I looked to the west at sunset and saw the most beautiful old log cabin ruin I’ve ever seen. I’ve since learned that this was the original homestead cabin for a couple named Johnny and Ruthie Miracle.  What a great name!  And this cabin has really stood the test of time.  It was built very well and still looks like - with just a few upgrades - you could move in and start living. 

The sun was low in the sky, and billowing clouds of smoke from western wildfires darkened the horizon making the sun look like a red rubber ball as it sunk over the edge of the earth.  I pulled over and parked the CRV.  I checked my daily weather app to see how much time I had before sunset.  I had about 7 minutes.  I grabbed my cameras and tripod and got them set up.  Then, of course, I dragged them back and forth to try and capture the scene from different angles.  I felt my mental focus tighten as I focused my lenses to capture both wide-angle and zoom shots.  Focusing on this event was a real peak experience as everything else in the world literally slipped away and the sun lowered itself behind the horizon line over about a 5-minute period.  It was an absolute rush and that period that I think of as “moving from time to timelessness.”

Now 5 minutes is a very short time.  But when totally focused mentally and physically in those moments, it releases one from the ordinary, and facilitates the experience that Michael Singer calls, “The Untethered Soul,” Jon Kabat-Zinn calls “Mindfulness” and Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi called “Flow,” in his book of the same name.  Some people simply call it “getting into the zone” and it can happen with anything we do that commands our full attention and love. 

Not every photo shoot lends itself to such an experience, but they all certainly have that potential.  We can prepare ourselves for these experiences through daily mindfulness meditation at home, or even when taking a morning walk.  When I do this, I bring my cellphone and use that to focus my attention on nature’s beauty, both small and large.  Being in the present moment is the key, whether we’re at home or outside in nature at the time.  Taking a few moments to center ourselves can make all the difference.  At times when something amazing is happening and time is short, it pays to have a constant practice you do that makes you more mentally and emotionally available when the time comes. 

Mindfulness meditation is much like any form of exercise, and you can build up your mindfulness fitness by following a daily meditation routine.  Jon Kabat-Zinn defines mindfulness as moment-to-moment nonjudgmental awareness. Practicing this for as little as 15 minutes a day can pave the way to more peak experiences in nature!  Once you know how it feels to be totally in-the-moment, you can get there much quicker when the right time presents itself. 

08_10_18 Fiery Sunset 108_10_18 Fiery Sunset 1 08_10_18 02 Through the Rafters08_10_18 02 Through the RaftersThe Miracle Homestead in Glade Park

]]> (Debra Powell Photography LLC) glade park sunset Sat, 14 Aug 2021 23:40:04 GMT
June 2021 Trip Reports I stuck close to home in June.  My 87- year- old mother had some surgery during the month, which necessitated me standing by in case of emergency.  Things are improving on that front now, but I did spend one whole Saturday in the ER with mom after her surgery.  So yes, I’m definitely living in interesting times right now. 

Pinyon Mesa-15-3Pinyon Mesa-15-3

Pinyon Mesa

I’m fortunate that there are so many places of beauty within a short drive of my house.  One such place is Pinyon Mesa, which is so close I can get there in an evening after dinner and be back home and tucked safely into bed by 9:30pm. The whole drive is a loop, part of which is technically considered The Grand Mesa National Forest.  This place is spectacular in the fall, but springtime is a close second. From this picture you can see that there are a few dead, drought-afflicted trees, but for the sake of this picture, I think they make a nice contract with the different colors of green.  I’m offering a weekend tour and workshop of Pinyon Mesa in mid-September, when the aspen leaves turn to gold.  The beauty of this place is truly jaw-dropping! 

Pinyon Mesa-36Pinyon Mesa-36

This sunset shot was also taken on Pinyon Mesa looking west into Utah.

Natural Fireworks-9Natural Fireworks-9

  Western Colorado Botanical Gardens  

Early fireworks this year!  That’s what this photo looks like to me.  They’re also much quieter than fireworks!  Another bonus!  This garden is 12-acres of desert beauty right in the heart of Grand Junction.  These gardens are managed by a nonprofit organization known as STRIVE, which offers support to individuals with disabilities and their families. On the first Friday of every month, you can get in for $1!  I went and enjoyed a couple hours of peace and mindful photography.  While I was there, I did a video with an affirmative prayer and a short silent meditation.  You can find this on a Facebook page I manage called Peace, Prayers & Meditations.  Here’s the link for 8 minutes of peacefulness in nature:


]]> (Debra Powell Photography LLC) Fri, 16 Jul 2021 17:40:20 GMT
  •  The Alluvial Fan – Rocky Mountain National Park  
  • On July 15, 1982, the Lawn Lake Dam above this area in Rocky Mountain National Park, gave way.  When this happened, it flooded the park as well as the town of Estes Park.  Over 200 million gallons of water poured from the dam.  It has receded now and water flows naturally over the rocks that were flung from the original dam in a type of waterfall called – yes – an Alluvial Fan.  Water cascading down this rocky hillside is a sight to behold.  Just last year, they built a bridge over the roaring river, which makes the incredible views from this location more easily accessible.  It’s a short walk from the parking lot, but you should wear closed shoes in any event.  It’s really too rocky to hike around there wearing sandals! 


    2.   Chasm Falls – Rocky Mountain National Park 

    One of the prettiest falls in Rocky Mountain National Park!  This waterfall has a 25-foot drop and makes for a lovely, very classical looking waterfall photo.  You can hike to it, or you can pretty much drive right up to it.  It’s located in the park, right along Fall River and Fall River Road, so you can hike it, or you can simply drive up to it and then take a short walk to several scenic overlooks on the trail to get a good picture. 


    3.  Bridal Veil Falls at Hanging Lake

    I never really thought of the falls being separate from the lake, but technically, the water that flows over the rocks there is called Bridal Veil Falls.  There’s at least three such-named falls in Colorado that I know of!  But this is definitely one of my favorites.  This beautiful natural area has been designated as a National Natural Landmark.  To get to it, you must hike a very steep 1.1 mile trail.  This is one of the most challenging hikes I’ve done and I won’t be doing it again, so I’m glad I got this picture!  I hiked it several times when I was younger.  In order to get to it now, you must reserve a time to go as they have a reservation system.  If you’re up for the hike, you should reserve your time now!


    4.  Rifle Falls

    Located in Rifle Falls State Park, just NE of the town of Rifle, in western Colorado.  These falls are the central feature of the park and are easily accessible from the parking lot.  This is a 70-foot triple waterfall that flows from the dam above and into East Rifle Creek.  I took this photo in the winter and the water is still flowing!  Another interesting thing about these falls is that there is a trail that goes back behind where the falls are, with caves that become “ice caves” in the winter.  Wear solid hiking boots for this hike!  It’s easy to get to, but can be slippery, especially in the winter. 


    5.  St. Vrain Falls

    If you’re driving to Rocky Mountain National Park from The Denver Metro Area, you’ll be driving along Hwy 7 to get to Estes Park.  Along the way, you follow The St. Vrain River and at one point, this lovely bend in the road that offers a small waterfall.  If you decide to hike, there are many other parts to this waterfall that cascade down the side of Long’s Peak.  It looks peaceful enough, but people can and do get hurt out here, including by falling into the river.  Wear sturdy hiking shoes and don’t get too close to the water’s edge! 





    ]]> (Debra Powell Photography LLC) Fri, 16 Jul 2021 17:35:42 GMT
    HOW TO PHOTOGRAPH FLOWING WATER So, when you’re photographing flowing water and you want to get that smooth, cotton-candy type look to the water, how exactly do you do that?  For the most part, you won’t be able to reliably get that effect using your cellphone, but there are apps you can get to use with your cellphone that will allow you to capture this effect.  The better, and I think, easier choice is to use your dslr for these kinds of shots.  All of the photos above were taken with my crop-sensor Nikon. I remember being totally baffled when I first got it and tried to document flowing water, waterfalls and other moving things to get that flowy appearance.   This was the first thing I wanted to do and the first thing that caused me to have any real interest in taking my camera out of automatic.

    After taking my camera out of auto, I started messing around with shutter speed, because I figured it was the time factor that made all the difference.  Well, I was right about that, but that direct approach to slowing down the shutter speed caused me some other problems, like over-exposure.  The longer the shutter is open of course, the longer the light has to come in.  The water may look smooth and flowy, but you’ll definitely need to “fix the exposure in post”.  Sometimes this comes out ok, but usually not.

    There are a couple of options you have to fixing this problem in-camera.  You can go into full manual mode, setting the shutter speed and the aperture yourself.  Some people feel this is always the best choice and that any photographer worth his or her salt should be shooting in manual mode anyway.  Most modern dslr’s have a variety of settings you can use other than the extremes of either full auto or full manual.  I’m a “middle of the road” type of gal at heart. I do think learning manual shooting is good because it gives you a better understanding of what is called “The Exposure Triangle”, which is composed of ISO (which used to be called ASA and denoted the speed of the film back in the day of film photography), the shutter speed, and the aperture of the lens.  See illustration below for “The Exposure Triangle”

    Exposure TriangleExposure Triangle

    When you’ve set your camera in either A mode or S mode, that means you’re choosing the shutter speed in S mode, and the camera will adjust the aperture for you; or likewise, if you’re shooting in A mode, you’ll set the aperture of the lens and the camera will choose the shutter speed for you.  This helps take some of the guesswork out of the process.  I often shoot in A mode, which allows me to change my aperture on the fly while allowing the camera to figure out the shutter speed for me -one less thing to think about!  When I’m in the field, my total attention is on what’s happening around me and I don’t like to spend my time thinking about too many technical variables. 

    Below is an illustration of what the lens of your camera does depending upon where you have set your aperture, or “F-stop”.  These show two extremes, to give you some idea.  So, when looking at F/16 you can see that the lens is stopped down to a small point, nearly a pinhole and in f/4, the lens is open almost all the way letting in more light.  I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but in photography, the smaller the F-stop #, the more light comes in, and the bigger the F-stop #, the less light it lets in.  Clear as mud?  OK.


    So in an alternative to slowing down your shutter speed, going into full manual mode and setting your aperture, most modern cameras allow you to set one while the camera will set the other.  This is my “go to” setting for shooting waterfalls and moving water in general.  The bigger number F-stop I use, the less light comes in, which requires more time.  Thus, the shutter speed is slowed down allowing for smooth flowy water pictures without over-exposure. 

    Now everyone’s aesthetic tastes are just a little different and your aperture setting depends on how flowy you want to go. I have found F/16 usually does the trick.  You could probably use a smaller number and still get the effect you want, but you should experiment with it.  I’ve seen some water pictures where I personally think the slowing was a little too slow, making the water look more like a gas.  I personally like mine to look flowy, but natural for my more documentary style. 

    Other options while shooting to slow shutter speed down include using filters on your lens while shooting.  I usually use a radial polarizer which cuts glare and does slow the shutter down slightly on it’s own.  Some people really like to use Neutral Density Filters, which slow things down even further, depending on the strength of the filter.  Shooting waterfalls in general is best done in the shade, or on a cloudy day because the water can create a lot of glare if it’s in full sun and thereby speed up the shutter speed so you lose the flowy effect.

    The best thing to do is to get out and practice until you find settings that do what you want in the way you want them done.  In photography, I’ve found that there is always more than one way to achieve any particular result.  Have fun! 



    ]]> (Debra Powell Photography LLC) Tue, 06 Jul 2021 22:24:36 GMT
    May 2021 Trip Reports May Trip ReportMay Trip Report While I had originally planned to return to the mountains in May, we had several late-season snow storms that made me change my mind.  There was still quite a bit of snow at the higher elevations, and as it began to melt, there was significant mud on the dirt roads I prefer to travel.  So, other than an end-of-the-month trip to Denver to visit family and friends, we stayed out in the desert for the most part. 

    We started the month out taking a drive through Nine Mile Canyon.  It’s best known for it’s plethora of petroglyphs, and I saw many of them out there, but for some reason, this old stone house captured my attention as much as anything else out there.  Someone went to a lot of work and love building this place, but now it stands vacant and looks like it’s been that way for some time.  Across the road are all the old farm equipment they left behind as well.  I’m not sure what happened, but I’m guessing it might have had something to do with an oil company right-of-way.  There’s still lots of oil company activity out there. 

    May Trip Report-2May Trip Report-2

    We found ourselves out in The San Rafael Swell again too.  One of the truly most spectacular stretches of road you’ll find anywhere.  I don’t want to spend too much time out here in the summer (too hot!) but it’s making me long for winter again because there’s still so much more to explore out there. 

    May Trip Report-3May Trip Report-3

    A trip to The Colorado National Monument doesn’t really classify as a “trip” for me, it’s right across town, but on weeks when I stay home, or during mid-week, sometimes I like to visit there for an evening’s respite.  The trees and shrubs are softening the canyon walls with lovely shades of spring green this time of year. 

    May Trip Report-4May Trip Report-4

    One evening we drove up to Glade Park in the middle of a horrendous thunderstorm.  This old house up there makes a great foreground subject during sunset.  If you angle yourself just right, you can get the light from the setting sun coming through one of the windows as I did here. 

    May Trip Report-5May Trip Report-5

    Late in the month we went to Denver to visit some friends and family and take care of some business in the city.  I took one day to visit one of my all-time favorite places – The Denver Botanic Gardens. 

    May Trip Report-6May Trip Report-6 And a little Denver street photography to finish up the month!  


    ]]> (Debra Powell Photography LLC) Sat, 19 Jun 2021 18:53:13 GMT
    My Five Favorite National Parks (For Now)
  • Of all the national parks, Rocky is the one where I have spent the most time by far.  When I was still living along The Front Range, it was just a hop, skip and a jump from home.  I think I’ve been there in every season!  Yes!  Even in winter!  Rocky Mountain National Park is 415 square miles of alpine and subalpine splendor.  Filled to the brim with scenic views at every turn, spectacular fields of wildflowers in the summer, and great wildlife viewing year-round, but especially in the fall, when the “rut” occurs.  Huge herds of elk fill the valleys and montane with sights and sounds you’ll never forget.  You can also find large herds of deer and Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep.  With over 300 miles of hiking trails, it can keep a photographer very busy for a very long time.  One of the first photography workshops I ever attended took place in Rocky Mountain National Park in winter.  We got up in the middle of the night and hiked up to Dream Lake for sunrise.  It was an adventure, to be sure, but I just about froze to death! In spite of wearing two layers of gloves with hand warmers tucked into them, my fingers were so frozen I couldn’t feel them on the shutter of my camera!  One lady fell through the ice and into Dream Lake.  I don’t even want to imagine how she felt.  I took one picture and just wanted to get off that mountain!  On the way back down, the trail was so snowy we couldn’t tell where it was, and at one point we fell off the trail and landed in a huge snowbank.  Getting out and back on the trail was quite a challenge. I had fun and I don’t regret doing it, but when I hold a winter photography workshop in Rocky, we won’t be hiking to Dream Lake in the middle of the night!   There are other, equally beautiful locations that are more accessible in winter.  Just sayin’. 



    These amazing dunes are the tallest in North America!  That’s right:  Taller than White Sands, taller than anything in Death Valley, and taller than any of the dunes at any seashore in North America.  This park is open 24/7, year- round.  Backed by The Sangre de Cristo range in the southern Rockies, the landscape surrounding these dunes is remarkable in it’s own right.  In the springtime, those Colorado fourteeners are capped with snow, which melts into seasonal Medano Creek, creating an awesome nearly tidal-like effect known as “surge flow”.  The melt water surges and then builds up again and then surges again while heading down the hill.  May is the peak time for visitors, where people ride sand boards down the dunes, and play in the creek.  But it’s equally beautiful and more serene in summer, when the entire San Luis Valley blooms with yellow prairie sunflowers,  rabbit brush and sage.  I’ll be offering a summer photography workshop there the first weekend in August.  We’ll also spend some time in Alamosa and some of the surrounding areas.  



    Deep, steep, and narrow, The Black Canyon of The Gunnison holds some of the steepest cliffs, oldest rock, and craggiest spires you’ll find anywhere.  The Gunnison River has been sculpting this rock for two million years.  Sitting in the presence of this work of wonder is mind boggling and you can practically feel the pulse of time as it flows through the canyon.  This is the place to just sit and be.  Many photographers avoid this park, because it’s very difficult to capture beauty in the direction of DOWN.  Fortunately, I’m not that freaked out by ledges as long as there’s railing, which in this case, there is.  In certain light you can definitely see how The Black Canyon got it’s name.  It’s dark and nearly black in the shadows.  But when the sun hits the canyon walls the colors in the rock light up and it’s like looking at a psychedelic painting.  There’s also plenty of minerals and even some semi-precious stones in the mix, like ruby, which sparkle and glow in the right light.

    Black CanyonBlack Canyon


    This place is seriously like a wonderland.  Home to over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, including the most famous arch of them all, Delicate Arch, which is pictured on the Utah license plates.  The red rock pinnacles, spires and fins glow crimson in the light of the setting sun.  Magical dragons of yore appear and disappear in shadow form over the rock canyons and walls.  In the winter months, the days are short, but the light is spectacular.  People flock to this park to take advantage of it’s international dark sky park status.  The number of stars that can be seen here at night will floor you!  I’m offering a weekend workshop in Moab in mid-November.  I suggest you plan to spend another day or two exploring this park, since we won’t be doing any photography in here during that weekend.  Moab has tons of other nearby beauty, but I can’t recommend this park highly enough! 

    Arches Winter Warm 3Arches Winter Warm 3


    As long as you’re in Moab anyway, this is a don’t miss natural phenomenon!  This dramatic desert landscape has been rightfully compared to The Grand Canyon in places and has been carved by the same forces of nature for millions of years.  The Green River and The Colorado River converge near the south end of The Island in the Sky district and they’ve been hard at work there for a very long time.  The Island in the Sky district is a huge, flat-topped mesa dotted with extraordinary panoramic overlooks. I think I could stand at the end of Green River Overlook every sunset for the rest of my life and never tire of it.  Once again, although we won’t be spending any time in this park during the Moab workshop, I highly recommend you check it out.  Stay another couple of days and immerse yourself.  You won’t regret it. 

    White Rim Sunset  4White Rim Sunset 4

    So there you have it.  My current Top 5 picks for National Parks.  Over the next year I plan to visit some other parks, specifically, Death Valley National Park in California.  I’ve become a regular desert rat! desert beauty is subtle, mystical and oh- so- cleansing. 






    ]]> (Debra Powell Photography LLC) Sat, 19 Jun 2021 18:51:13 GMT
    April 2021 Trip Reports Sun Sculpture with Birds Nest inside!  Needles District of Canyonlands National ParkSun Sculpture with Birds Nest inside! Needles District of Canyonlands National Park


    As I’ve said for years, if you can’t go wider, go deeper.  Between Covid restrictions and other personal family reasons, we haven’t flown anywhere in over a year!  We do try to get out every week though to explore and find some new territory.  During the month of April, we spent a great deal more time exploring Utah.  In looking back through my photos over the last few months, I was surprised at how much ground we’ve covered!  I spent an extraordinary amount of time looking for petroglyphs.  Not because they make for great photographs, but mostly it’s to make a connection with the ancient ones.  The most difficult petroglyph for me to find was Intestine Man, which was hiding in plain sight right on the main road into Canyonlands National Park.  I’m glad I didn’t give up!  We went back and wandered around pretty much aimlessly, or so it seemed, at least three times before I found him. The photo of him which I’ve attached is a cell phone shot, (as are almost all of the photos in this trip report.)  Then, we spent a fair amount of time hiking and driving around Canyonlands National Park.  I discovered a great overlook there that I hadn’t seen before and made some pretty dramatic images at sunset there. 

    Intestine Man petroglyphIntestine Man petroglyph


    Another week we took a somewhat longer drive and visited The Needles Section at Canyonlands.  Wow!  A whole new place to explore!  It’s quite off the beaten path and doesn’t get near the traffic of Arches or the Island in the Sky District at Canyonlands.  Just the drive out to the park is something like 40 miles of jaw-dropping beauty.  It’s very hard for a photographer not to stop at every turn! 


    On the way down to this section of Canyonlands, we stopped at a crazy tourist trap called Hole in the Rock and took a tour of the house that Alfred and Gladys Christensen built by carving it out of the stone.  Yep, they carved a 5,000 square foot home out of the rock and lived there for years.  We took a guided tour of the home, visited the gift shops and looked at all the sculptures and various items that they have to look at outside.  When I posted about our trip to this place on Facebook, I discovered that one of my Facebook friends, Lyle Nichols, who is a local sculptor living near me here in The Grand Valley, has several pieces of his metal art sculptures on display there!  I didn’t know this when we were there, so now I’m looking forward to making another trip out there to check it out again!  This is a short, inexpensive diversion when you’re on a long drive.  If you have kids or grandkids in tow, they’ll love this place.  It even has a zoo!  So worth it.  It’s right on Hwy 191 in SE Utah – right on the way to Canyonlands. 

    Old Truck at Hole in the RockOld Truck at Hole in the Rock



    Old Truck at Hole in the RockOld Truck at Hole in the Rock


    Hole in the RockHole in the Rock


    The Crystal Geyser is another kind of cool, kind of funky place we discovered in the desert outside of Green River.  It’s sort of SE of town off some dirt roads.  It’s a geyser that was capped during an ill-fated oil drilling event back in the first half of the 20th Century.  Now I don’t know anything about the oil business, or why someone would want to drill in a place where there is a known spring, but they did.  Anyway, the geyser went off, and it’s still going off today.  It’s not nearly as dependable as say, Old Faithful or anything, but it goes off a couple times a day whenever it feels like it.  In case you think that we’re alone when we’re out wandering around in the desert, let me assure you that more often than not, this is not the case.  We were there on a Thursday afternoon, and there was a big group of motorcyclists also there! 

    Colorful travertine rock at Crystal Geyser, near Green River, UtahColorful travertine rock at Crystal Geyser, near Green River, Utah COLORFUL TRAVERTINE ROCK NEAR THE CRYSTAL GEYSER 

    Another neat place we discovered just north of the City of Green River is Swayze’s Beach.  A real, white sand beach shaded by cottonwood trees alongside The Green River.  I definitely plan to spend an afternoon here doing nothing again soon!  You can camp here for $10 a night if you’re so inclined. 

    Swayze's BeachSwayze's Beach SWAYZE'S BEACH 

    And speaking of Swazye’s, (we were, weren’t we?) these four brothers (unknown relationship to Patrick Swaze) roamed around the Central San Rafael Swell in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, running cattle through the area.  Out in the desert off I-70, and then down several dirt roads, you’ll find Swayze’s Cabin, a small cabin built 100 years ago where the brothers could stay while rounding up their cattle to take to market.  I had a friend ask me how to get there.  Well, it’s hard to explain and my best directions go something like this, “Go until you feel the need to turn….”  There are detailed directions somewhere on the internet. 


    And finally, Tamarisk is a great place to stop for a meal if you’re in the Green River area, heading in either direction on I-70. We stop for lunch almost every time we pass by.  The food is great and the views are wonderful.  It’s located right along the bank of The Green River, in – you got it – Green River, Utah.  I had this plate of fish tacos, which was delicious, but I couldn’t eat it all – they’re not skimpy on the portions!  Since we’ve been vaccinated, it’s really nice to be able to eat in restaurants again without worry.  Utah has mostly done away with their mask mandates, with the exception of Grand County, which has two national parks and lots of tourists.  We usually wear our masks indoors and in restaurants until we’re seated.  View from Tamarisk, a restaurant in Green River, UtahView from Tamarisk, a restaurant in Green River, Utah VIEW OF THE GREEN RIVER FROM TAMARISK

    Fish Tacos at Tamarisk in Green River, UtahFish Tacos at Tamarisk in Green River, Utah


    ]]> (Debra Powell Photography LLC) Sun, 02 May 2021 19:26:44 GMT
    IN MORE DETAIL My life has been a long and winding road, leading me through early failed marriages and abusive relationships, through single-motherhood, building a career, educating myself and doing the hard work to create any semblance of a secure life, whether that be spiritually, financially or relationship-wise.  I was born and raised in Southern California and never planned to leave there, until I found myself in dire need of relocation at the end of a long, difficult 10-year marriage.  I found a safe place in Colorado and re-started my life step by step. 

    I got a job and an apartment and after a few years, I returned to school.  Not seriously at first, but during this time in the mid-1990’s, I took every photography class offered at the local community college.  I was still shooting with an old Nikon 35mm film camera I inherited in my first divorce.  I used that camera for about a quarter century, documenting my children’s lives and growth. By the time I finally learned that cameras only have so many clicks in them, and mine had “clicked out” we were firmly in the digital photography age, so I eventually bought a new Nikon DSLR and that’s when I started to get serious about landscape and nature photography. 

    In the meantime, my kids grew up and left home and I began to pursue my formal education at the university level.  I was working at Regis University in the Human Resources Department at that time.  I spent seven years getting my bachelors and master’s degrees.  By this time, I was definitely ready to be a student!  Since I had waited so long to pursue my degrees, I decided to get as much out of it as I possibly could, so it took a little longer to get my bachelor’s degree.  I did a double major in HR Management & Applied Psychology with a minor in Religious Studies. Whew! I loved every minute of it.  I seriously considered getting my masters degree in clinical psychology, but in the end, I decided to stick with the management/HR course of study I was already on.  I got my master’s degree in Organizational Leadership and continued my HR career.  

    I had four jobs over 25 years, about half in private industry and half working for private institutions of higher education.  I did some work teaching Organizational Psychology as an Adjunct Professor. 

    After completing my degrees, I had time to focus my attention on my spiritual growth and development in a more serious manner.  I had been attending Mile Hi Church in Lakewood, Colorado for many years and taking classes there in spiritual development.  I then enrolled in Practitioner training, which is an intensive two-year course in developing a higher spiritual consciousness through the practice of prayer, meditation, life-long learning and spiritual study, and a commitment to be of service to others. After completion of the course, and a couple of other steps, I am now a licensed Religious Science Practitioner (RscP) and planning my next step towards ministerial service by attending The Holmes Institute.  In a few years time, I'll have a second master's degree, this one in Consciousness Studies.    

    After 25 years as a professional Human Resources Administrator and Director, I sold my house, skipped town and moved to Colorado’s Western Slope so I could get out of “the big city” and closer to the national parks in The Colorado Rockies and The Colorado Plateau, which includes Colorado, Utah and Arizona.  Most of these magnificent parks are within a day’s drive or less from my home in Grand Junction. The Colorado National Monument is practically in my backyard; but other outrageously gorgeous places such as The Black Canyon of The Gunnison, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Great Sand Dunes and Mesa Verde National Parks are less than a day away.  Spending time in nature is an important part of my spiritual practice, and my camera is the tool I use to focus my attention; using stillness, mindfulness, and intuition to move from time to timelessness.

    While photography is currently my primary form of artistic expression, I also enjoy writing and music and I’ll be adding more information about these activities as I expand my page. 

    Life continues to be interesting and challenging at times.  You can chart out a plan for yourself and then still be surprised at the little twists and turns that come up that cause things to turn out differently than you might have planned.  This is definitely true in my life.  Soon after moving to Grand Junction, my mom moved in with us.  She’s 87 years old now and has been diagnosed with dementia, which is a progressive disease from which she will not recover.  This has created a whole new learning curve for me and my husband as we move through this time together with her. A long and winding road indeed. 

    Thanks for visiting my page.  I hope you will feel comfortable here and visit again and again as we get to know each other better.




    ]]> (Debra Powell Photography LLC) Wed, 09 Sep 2020 21:19:50 GMT
    ARTIST'S BIOGRAPHY I’ve been a photographer since childhood. I took every photography class offered at Arapahoe Community College back in the 1990’s, just before the conversion to digital. (of course!)  The basics of photography haven’t changed, but the implementation of functions continues to evolve and we must evolve with it!  I have continued my photography education in the digital age by attending workshops, seminars and classes offered by other photographers that I have admired and also through studying books and magazines.  Over the years I have won photography contests, had my work shown in galleries and other venues and been published in places as diverse as Cowboys & Indians Magazine and Science of Mind Magazine. Mostly, photography is a form of mindfulness meditation for me, which provides me the opportunity to move “from time … to timelessness” while in nature. 

    In addition to my photography practice, I have also been a musician for most of life.  I sing and play guitar and piano.  I’ve written some songs, in the Folk/Americana tradition. I’ve played in churches, coffee shops, concert halls and festivals over the years.  I’m inspired by singers and songwriters such as Joan Baez, Judy Collins and Joni Mitchell.  I’m staying home for now because of the coronavirus, but when the age of coronavirus is over, I’ll be available to sing and play at your church, coffee house or festival.  I’m about ¾ of the way through the making of a mini 6-song CD and I’ll keep you posted. 

    I’m a writer and a blogger, focusing on the areas of spiritual development, implementing new life skills, and occasionally some travel reports and stories of my photo expeditions around “God’s country” – aka Colorado and Utah. I have a couple of books in the works, and hope to have them finished soon. Life is good! 

    I hold two degrees from Regis University, a Jesuit school located in Denver, Colorado.  A double Bachelor’s degree in HR Management and Applied Psychology and a Master’s degree in Organizational Leadership.  In 2017, retired from a 25+ year career in Human Resources to focus my attention on my artistic and spiritual pursuits.   

    I’m so glad you’ve stopped by my page!  You’ll not only see samples of my nature photography, but you can sign up to take a FREE introductory class in cell phone photography and other classes that I offer online for a minimal fee.  If you’re interested in the FREE CLASS or anything else on this page, please feel free to send me a note including your email address so that I can respond or get you set up for the class.    Again, thanks for stopping by! 



    ]]> (Debra Powell Photography LLC) Wed, 09 Sep 2020 21:13:56 GMT
    ARTIST STATEMENT Photography is my key to the secret garden of life, my trip down the rabbit hole, a true magical looking glass with which I perceive the world.

    I have been interested in photography since I was a child, when my parents first gave me their old Kodak Brownie camera. Capturing each moment of life through the camera lens has always struck me as magical and as a way to truly live in the moment. From snapshots and portraits, to fine art landscape photography, this magical process has had its way with me over the years leading me ever deeper into unity with the divine energy of light. Photography fills me with a sense of wonder and joy that can best be compared to the sense of unity one experiences only in prayer and meditation. Through the practice of photography, I am able translate my inner vision to the external world.

    All things are light.  I am light. I shoot from the inside out, following my inner consciousness as it guides me to reveal the essence of the light around me. At the same time, I work deliberately in post-processing, employing my learned skills and modern technology to create the final image.

    I am a spiritual guide with a “beginners mind” and a Religious Science Practitioner, licensed through The Centers for Spiritual Living, a New Thought Church.  I continue to be awed by the mystery of creation.


    ]]> (Debra Powell Photography LLC) Wed, 09 Sep 2020 21:10:09 GMT