Yesterday's Light

Images in Space and Time

There be Goblins Here

Goblin Valley SP, Utah

Goblin Valley SP, Utah

Goblin Valley State Park lies between Arches and Capitol Reef National Parks on one of those routes in Utah where you can drive for miles without seeing another car (my kind of road!).  It lies just to the west of Route 24, a 2-lane road that runs south from I-70 to the small town of Hanksville, Utah.  If there’s such a thing as “rural” Utah, this is it.

You might remember that Goblin Valley was in the news a couple of years ago – 3 Boy Scout leaders decided to topple one of these 200 million year old Entrada sandstone structures because it represented a “safety hazard”.  They even made a video of it and posted it on Facebook.  I don’t know how all that played out but I hope they’re not still working with kids.  Dumb.

A pillar of ancient mud, Goblin Valley

A pillar of ancient mud, Goblin Valley

It is true, though, that these formations are fairly fragile.  You can easily chip away at them, even with your bare hands.  I think if it rained here more often a lot of these structures would have washed away by now.  Fortunately, these goblins “live” in the desert.

Strange shapes, Goblin Valley SP

Strange shapes, Goblin Valley SP

The only downside to this place – and I’m being a little picky here – is that just about everything is the same orange-ish color.  On one side of the park there are some green colored formations (limestone perhaps?), but most everything else is the same color you see here.



4 Responses to “There be Goblins Here”

  1. TomDills

    Awesome looking place, Paul. All that rock looks like was made of red Play Doh.

    It’s amazing the crazy things people will do. Most of those people don’t need to try very hard to prove their stupidity.

    • Paul Maxim

      Red play doh. That’s good (and you’re right!).

      I remember when I first saw the news report on TV that these guys had pushed over the rock. We’d just seen Goblin Valley the previous year. I was flabbergasted that anyone would do such a thing. Heck, why not go to Bryce and start pushing down hoodoos? If you watch the video, you can actually hear one of the guys laughing about it. But who knows – maybe he learned his lesson and is a different person now. We can always hope…..

  2. Cedric Canard

    These formations remind me of those sandcastles you can make by running wet sand through your fingers and building up fragile columns of sand that look a bit like something out of a Dali painting. You’re right that the colour is a little monotone but have you considered shooting them in black and white? I’ve seen some amazing photos of this place in B&W, the shapes and the contrast are perfect for that medium.

    • Paul Maxim

      You’re absolutely right, Cedric. Black and white is a great idea. And I’ve tried a number of times to convert some of these images to black and white. Sadly, I haven’t been terribly successful yet. I think part of the problem is that both times we’ve been to Goblin Valley it’s been mid-afternoon (bad timing on my part). The shadows are too sharp (in my opinion). I think late afternoon or early afternoon would work much better. With what I have now I tend to get a split between very light and very dark tones. But I’ll keep trying. And maybe I’ll go look at some of those black and white images you mention. Maybe I’ll get a little inspiration……..


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