Monday, October 15, 2018

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Autumn on the Alpine Loop, Utah

I feel so blessed to be able to see beautiful scenery like this just minutes from my home!

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Mt. Nebo Scenic Loop

Mt. Nebo Scenic Loop, Utah

I took these photos at the end of August and forgot to post them.  This road is now closed due to two horrific fires in the area.  I am sad to think about what these views might look like now!

Monday, September 24, 2018

Alstrom Point, Lake Powell - 4

One more shot taken at Alstrom Point, Lake Powell. It was still very dark when I set up my tripod and chose a slow shutter speed in order to capture enough light to reveal the beautiful palette of magenta, orange and lavender/blue colors I saw at dawn. It's times like this when I wonder why I don't get up early every morning to take pictures!!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Alstrom Point, Lake Powell - 3

Alstrom Point, Lake Powell
This shot was taken at the same place as the last post, but early the next morning before sunrise, showing a totally different color palette. Although it is sad to see the water level so low, it does reveal an interesting landscape not visible when covered by water.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Alstrom Point, Lake Powell - 2

 Alstrom Point, Lake Powell

Even with a plain blue sky as a backdrop, the vistas of Lake Powell around Alstrom Point are still gorgeous. 

In a perfect landscape photographer's world, the sky would always have big, puffy, marshmallow clouds, or black, brooding, stormy clouds, or brilliant rainbows or romantic, magenta sunsets. Well that's wishful hoping. Sometimes the sky is a plain blue sea of nothingness, or a boring overcast gray blanket. On days like this we learn to compose with less sky visible, or look for a way to add more interest in the sky portion of the photo, as I did here by positioning my camera to create a sun flare behind the rock formation just before the sun set.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Alstrom Point, Lake Powell - 1

Alstrom Point, Lake Powell

For landscape photographers who know the Lake Powell area, Alstrom Point is on our bucket list. It is a remote area accessed from a little settlement called Big Water. Late afternoon we drove part way down a dirt road and parked the truck. Then we took the RZRs the rest of the way and stayed at the point overlooking Lake Powell until sunset. (Photo coming soon.) We drove back to the truck, stayed overnight there, then got up really early the next morning and retraced our RZR ride so I could take photos at dawn. (Jeff is such a good sport!) This was our view late at night with the RZR lit by a flashlight. The sky around Lake Powell is dark and beautiful. Seeing shooting stars and other nighttime wonders are common events here.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Mt. Timpanogos Temple


Mt. Timpanogos Temple
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

I live just a few miles away from this temple.  Early one morning a few weeks ago I took these four images all within about 35 minutes.  It's amazing how the sky light and color can change within a short period of time.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Cascade Springs - 2

On the Road to Cascade Springs, Utah

"I was drinking in the surroundings:  air so crisp you could snap it with your fingers and greens in every lush shade imaginable offset by autumnal flashes of red and yellow."
                                                  -- Wendy Delsol (author)

I used to post photography tips on this blog once a week, (Tech Talk Tuesday),  but as the the popularity of blogs primarily about photography seem to be taking a back seat to Instagram, I haven't been doing this.  But on my Instagram page, I do post most all the photos that I post here, along with information about the photo and a photo tip for each photo.   You can find me on Instagram at @karenlarsenphotography.  Here is what I posted about this photo today:


Diagonal lines in a composition add additional interest.  In composing a landscape vista that includes mountains, look for a vantage point where ridges and valleys intersect to create multiple diagonals from the foreground to the background, emphasizing depth of field.  In this shot I can count 5 or 6 major diagonals including the bottom cloud line, then several more subtle diagonals - the foreground green bushes, the band of red color and the ridge of orange color in the mid ground. 

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Cascade Springs

On the Road to Cascade Springs, Utah

It was a beautiful day for a drive up the Alpine Loop and over to Cascade Springs.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Happy Anniversary - 48 years!!

Happy Anniversary to Us! 

Forty eight years today, and Jeff surprised me with two dozen roses. Love you Jeff! (Couldn't resist doing a little creative editing on this one....actually a lot of creative editing.)

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Utah Lake

Utah Lake

”Never waste any amount of time doing anything important when there is a sunset outside that you should be sitting under!”
                                                         ~ C. JoyBell C.

Landscape photographers want to be out shooting during the time around sunset and sunrise, because this is when the magic happens!

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Albion Basin Sunrise

Albion Basin, Utah Sunrise

Going through photos of the last few months and came across this one I passed over of wildflowers in Albion Basin. Thought it was worth sharing as a farewell to wild flower season in this beautiful place until next year!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Chiricahua National Monument, Arizona

Chiricahua National Monument

"As hard as I have tried to remember the exact moment when I fell in love with God, I cannot do it. My earliest memories are bathed in a kind of golden light that seemed to embrace me as surely as my mother's arms. The divine presence was strongest outdoors, and most palpable when I was alone."     ~Barbara Brown Taylor

Monday, August 27, 2018

Fall in August

What! Say it isn't's still August!!
(Taken 2 days ago on the Mt. Nebo Loop, Utah.)

Sunday, August 26, 2018

Payson Utah Temple at Sunrise

Payson Utah Temple

Yesterday I enjoyed the beginning of a beautiful late summer day watching the sun rise over the Payson Temple. The back of this temple is almost as beautiful as the front view.

Friday, August 24, 2018

Bedogol - Balinese gate guardian statues

Bedogol - Balinese Gate Guardian Statues

Bedogol - Balinese gate guardian statues. Two of a variety of different types of statues are selected to guard Balinese temples and homes. One is placed on the right side of the entrance way and one is placed on the left side. Both statues may look alike, but they are not identical. They complement each other and represent, for example, good vs. bad, positive vs. negative. The statue with the most power is placed on the right side. The purpose is the add balance by organizing possible unbalanced forces from the outside world, and to make the positive and negative elements neutral before entering the home. Temple and home entrance ways and front doors in Bali were ornate, colorful, detailed and beautiful. The statues varied greatly from beautiful and shapely Balinese women to ugly, terrifying, realllllly scary looking monsters or demons.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Singapore - Gardens By the Bay

Gardens By the Bay

So beautiful, even on a gloomy day!

Friday, August 17, 2018

Canang Sari

The rich cultural heritage of Balinesian Hindu worship can be traced back to the 5 century B.C. and continues today with around 84% of the population claiming to be Hindu.  The influence of this heritage is evident everywhere one travels in beautiful Bali in the form of ancient temples and ritualistic offerings.  It was a delight to see these small, sweet offerings, called 'canang sari', that are seen everywhere.


They adorn every small shrine, every large temple, businesses, homes, streets, car dashboards, and even perched on the handlebars of motor scooters. They may be pretty and interesting for tourists to see, but they hold deep meaning for Balanese who carefully and lovingly prepare multiples of them each day. 

The wife of an average family might prepare 15 canang sari each morning to be placed in and around the home and this daily task is as important as cooking, cleaning and taking care of the children.  This ritual is done carefully and lovingly as to demonstrate thankfulness and gratitude to the gods in heaven who are the creators of life, while at the same time appeasing and providing protection from the demons who live in the underworld.  The ultimate purpose is to maintain balance and peace on earth between gods, humans, and nature, amidst the opposing forces of good and evil, gods and demons, heaven and hell.


A small square (or round) tray or basket is made of fronds or palm leaves, and then colorful flowers and other specific items with special meanings are placed inside.   White flowers are placed pointing east as a symbol of Iswara, a primary Balinese god.  Red flowers are placed pointing south to represent Brahma, the Progenitor.  Yellow flowers are placed pointing west to symbolize Mahadeva the Great God.  Blue or green flowers are placed north and represent Vishnu, the Presever.  Often a few coins are placed on top to represent sacrifice and humility.  A ritual prayer is said which is meant to deliver the sari (essence) of the offering to heaven.  For this, a jepun flower is dipped in water taken from a holy spring and sprinkled on the canang sari as a symbolic fusion of earth, fire, wind and water.  Then a stick of incense is placed and lit so the smoke can carry the essence of the offering up to the gods.

The canang sari are made and offered every day except when there is a death in the family or village.  At the end of the day, they are all swept away and will be replaced the next morning.  It is disrespectful to step on or step over a canang sari, and one has to be careful, because many are placed on sidewalks, doorways and floors.  It is especially disrespectful to disturb the offering while the incense is burning and the smoke is carrying the essence up to heaven.

If you are looking for a rich, cultural experience on your travels, in addition to a beautiful, tropical paradise, you won't be disappointed in Bali!    

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Backylard Beauties

With a specialty lens (Lensbaby), and a little creativity, my common backyard flowers can look a bit magical.  Can you find the little photo bomber that flew into the frame at just the right time?

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Albion Basin, Utah

Albion Basin, Utah

I am always happiest when my day includes a beautiful blue sky and a few puffy clouds!! Another shot from Albion Basin, taken before intense smoke filled our skies from the multiple Utah and California wildfires.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Daily Commute in Bali

Did you have a bad commute this morning?? These were taken through the windshield of a car. Best decision we made in Bali was to hire a private driver each day. ($40 per day split between 2 couples.) We could never have navigated these streets where all traffic laws are mere suggestions, and cars, motorbikes, trucks and buses all travel within 6 inches of each other, even at 30+ mph on some of the less congested roads. It was a frightening experience with motorbikes weaving in and out and in front of us, missing the front bumper by just a few inches, and with everyone making quick taps on their horns, not in frustration or anger, but as communication saying "I'm right next to you" or "I'm cutting in front of you". No one is upset and this is normal driving. It seemed almost like a river of moving vehicles weaving in and out and around each other. While I was on the edge of my seat at all times, I noticed our expert driver, Komang, was very relaxed, but he was also very alert about what was happening within a few inches on all sides of the car. I was amazed we didn't see crashes everywhere. Komang said there are accidents, but not as many as you would think. He said when the locals see people with light colored skin driving motorbikes, (tourists), accidents are more likely to occur.