Tag Archives: american west

NEW RELEASE: Vampire Skull in Savage Territory

gary orona vampire skull

Vampire Skull in Savage Territory by Gary Orona

I Finally Found the Vampire Skull in Savage Territory!

I’ve been hauling this vampire skull around in my secondary backpack for a few weeks now and yesterday I finally found the perfect setting for a very large panoramic photograph. I was searching for an almost other-worldly setting in the canyon landscapes of Southeastern Utah near my place in Green River, Utah. My secondary pack is a small pack which I wear on the front of my chest. My beautiful wife, Tabitha Stevens always laughs when I have it on as it looks somewhat like I’ve got a child strapped in up there. With it and my much larger camera system/technical pack on my back I must look like an overzealous expedition maniac to folks on the trail.

Truth is I’m rarely on a trail so it’s not much of an ego-strike!

So yesterday as we scrambled on bright red sandstone crags around looking for photo ops I kept an eye on the approaching afternoon lightning storm hoping that it would get close (but not too close) for some sky drama. And then it happened. These images come together at the least most expected times. They can happen very fast, sometimes on the same day as I gather the concept but more often than not they take quite a lot of time to gestate. I’ve got notes on works I’d like to do that have taken years and I still don’t have the shot because the perfect creative storm just hasn’t manifest itself.

That’s the nature of fine art works. There is much suffering. But every moment is worth it when the outcome is something like Vampire Skull in Savage Territory.

It’s available over at my ultra limited editions site www.SavageTerritory.com

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What to Do When You Find a Skull in Savage Territory

How I Worked Out the Problem of Bighorn Skull Canyon

When wandering around a primal landscape far off the beaten trails you may just find a mountain lion kill site complete with bighorn sheep skull, spinal column and an entire leg bone assembly. The question is: what to do? In this short video I explain how I handled this situation for a Savage Territory work to add to my fine art photography collection.

And yes the thought did occur to me that the big cat that did this could be in the neighborhood, but frankly I’m out in these places 5 to 6 days a week and I figure I must not smell that tasty because I haven’t gotten hit yet!

I’m in their territory all the time and I know they’ve been watching me! I find big cat scat often but thankfully it’s usually dry and aged… usually. ;)

Wander over to SavageTerritory.com for the big ultra limited edition prints.

Good Thoughts – Gary Orona

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The Super Cool Wild Burro Tree and an Encounter with Gun Toting Lads

Why Revisiting Your Favorite Photo Locations is a Good Idea

I visit my favorite locations often for several reasons. In this video I’m out at the Wild Burro Tree in the Mojave Desert and I chat up how I scout some of my favorite places. I also had an interesting interaction with a few kids carrying rifles in a very careless manner on this trek which I talk about. If nothing else get to the end and check out the Wild Burro Tree. It’s very, very cool!

Please visit: www.SavageTerritory.com for my limited editions.

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The Wilderness Setup for Candy Chose the Most Amazing Spot Photograph

Gary Orona Explains How He Produces an Ultra Limited Edition Fine Art Photographic Masterpiece

On location with Gary Orona as he produced the work Candy Chose the Most Amazing Place an ultra limted edition fine art photograph work now available at www.SavageTerritory.com

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Turn Around There’s a Goblin Behind You!

Goblin Rock at Goblin Valley, Utah by Gary Orona

Goblin Rock at Goblin Valley, Utah by Gary Orona

Watch Your Back for Amazing Landscape Photography

When I’m trekking out in wild landscapes I watch my back very frequently. You never know what might sneak up on you. No I’m not talking about mountain lions although I’ve run across fresh cat scat so many times it has crept into my constant awareness! What I’m talking about is periodically turning around and scanning the landscape to my back for two important reasons.

First I’m looking for landmarks that I will see when I’m headed back. If I’m in difficult and maze-like badlands I want markers to get me back to the Land Rover safely. I don’t use rock cairns as markers for many reasons which I’ll get into in a future post so for now, I do not like cairns.

Secondly, sometimes amazing things are happening right behind you. The light is different, the perspective is different and that huge rock you just passed up may look completely amazing from the other side.

So I’m often turning and marching backwards which perplexes newbies I’ve got with me for the trip. I can almost read their minds as the ‘city folk’ are asking themselves, “what the hell is he doing”? Years ago I took an urbanite friend of mine into the Superstition Mountains in Arizona and as I continually marched turned, shifted and gazed intensely across the horizon I could see that he was becoming very uneasy. This went on for hours and soon he was really looking paranoid. When I asked if he was okay he confessed that he was frightened because I seemed so concerned about bears, or mountain lions or some other predator that might jump us!

I laughed and explained that I was memorizing landmarks and watching for possible shots. The blood returned to his face and later that night he had a great time downing a few beers at the campfire unconcerned about death while on a photo adventure!

So here’s this photo of a rock goblin in Goblin Valley, Utah. And yes it snuck up on me. If I hadn’t turned around I would have missed the shot.

Good Thoughts – Gary Orona

BTW I have ultra limited editions of select shots available here: www.SavageTerritory.com


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Muscle Memory Applied to Cinematography and Photography

gary orona uranium truck boot

Uranium Truck Boot by Gary Orona

The Photo Shoots Itself: Zen and the Art of Focal Lengths

In physical fitness excellence comes from repetition and the concept of muscle memory. Your muscles remember stress and they build on it. The same principles apply to your creative muscles. This shot is all about the focal length of the lens. So here’s the setup.

A massive thunderstorm was approaching with a wall of black clouds right behind this group of scattered ones. I had just a few seconds before the sun was going to be lost in the approaching tempest.

With almost no effort I knew to get on the ground with an extreme wide angle lens to make that old boot imposing and powerful. Had I spent any time considering which lens to use this shot would not have happened. So the lesson here is whatever your craft is in life, do it over, and over, and over until it’s second nature. Build those mental muscles so that art happens without effort.

In Zen it is said that the master archer does not force the shot but rather, “the arrow shoots itself”. This level of excellence is not magic or some in-born ‘talent’. This is a product of repetition and love.

Good Thoughts – Gary Orona

BTW This was shot with a lens that would be about 16mm on a 35mm camera.


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Kill Your TV and Take a Trip Into Savage Territory

gary orona dinosaur point

The Sublime Branch of Dinosaur Point as photographed by Gary Orona.

Blood, Sweat and Tears vs. Comfortable Desperation

These don’t come easily. Take a look at the landscape behind “The Sublime Branch of Dinosaur Point”. It’s vast and those mountains in the background (the La Sals) are about 50 miles away. This small area of badlands and canyonlands is about 30×60 miles so that’s 1,800 square miles.

To find special secret locations such as this requires trekking on foot seemingly endlessly in this wilderness space and this is just a tiny section of the Colorado Plateau. That’s a lot of marching with packs full of heavy camera gear.

But it’s worth every step.

We can choose to sit comfortably and watch a television which is basically spitting out illusions and propaganda OR we can choose to explore life in savage territory.

I chose savage territory a very long time ago. I have no regrets.

Challenge yourself to your own adventures in 2015. If you’d like to get some inspiration check out my landscapes gallery here.

Good Thoughts – Gary Orona

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New Release “What Happened to Bozo in Vegas” by Gary Orona

gary orona bozo vegas

What Happened to Bozo in Vegas by Gary Orona

Las Vegas as Backdrop in a Newly Released Savage Territory Work by Gary Orona

This piece has been crawling around in my mind for quite some time. I’d found this rare section of desert that still remains on the Las Vegas Strip a few years ago and couldn’t shake the clarity of it as a stark reality of what Las Vegas really is. Illusions, greed, smoke and mirrors, facades with toxic realities, hypocritical, fantasy, liberation, the place of dreams, call it as you wish Vegas is absolutely wonderful. It’s a perfect reflection of what we are.

I’m interested in what is on its perimeter, not what it pretends to be in its center. This is where the magic resides. We pretend when we are here, but what is its truth?

The answer might be here. What happened to Bozo in Vegas?

This work is a huge native size of around 500mb and I will be offering it as an ultra limited edition. It will print to 60″ x 20″ and larger with stunning fine detail. I’ll update this post when it’s ready for discerning buyers.

Be sure to check out my online works HERE.

Good Thoughts – Gary Orona

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