San Rafael Desert near Hanksville
Southern Utah

Edition Size: 95
11" X 14"
16" X 20"
24" x  30"
30" x  40"

Pale Evening Primrose and red rock greet the dawn

n the years leading up to creating ‘Evening at Dawn’ in May of 1996, I had become intrigued with the work of Pulitzer Prize winning photographer, Jack Dykinga.

In January of 1996, I was hired to escort the public through and provide interpretation of the Roger Tory Peterson photography exhibit at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon. The exhibition contained several images by Jack Dykinga that were thrilling for me to interpret.

The following spring I traveled to photograph the stunning landscape of southern Utah. I began at Arches National Park and then moved to several lesser known, yet spectacular locations. One morning about a week into the trip, I drove south into the San Rafael Desert. I topped a rise and there before me was the most incredible bloom of Pale Evening Primrose flowers I could have imagined. In the midst of the flowers rose numerous red rock sandstone monoliths.

I pulled over and began to carefully study the flowers. About the time I felt the need to rest, a pickup with camper slowly pulled up next to my truck. I thought, this has to be a photographer. I walked toward the truck. As I approached, the window rolled down and its occupant extended his hand and said, “My name's Dykinga.” I said, “Hi Jack, how are you doing!” His look of surprise disappeared as I explained having seen his portrait on the dust jackets of his books.

We proceeded to become acquainted and agreed to meet back at the flowers early that evening. Jack's attempts to photograph had been thwarted by strong wind for two days, and this evening was no different. Agreeing to share a campsite, we packed up and left for the night. Back at camp, Jack invited me to join him at a location he had staked out for photographing at sunrise.

At 4 a.m. we were having breakfast and preparing for as Jack called it, ‘Showtime.’ Off we drove in great anticipation.

We arrived well before the sun and walked through the desert toward our destination, where Jack had selected his image the day before. As I moved about searching for compositions, I began to feel some panic. My image wasn't materializing and the sun would soon rise. I exclaimed to Jack it appeared he had found ‘the’ composition. He immediately discounted my comment and reminded me there were lots of compositions here. I instantly recognized the truth in his statement and immediately refocused. Just seconds later, I recognized the composition that was to become ‘Evening at Dawn.’ I dropped to my knees, set up my camera and within 2 minutes the sun struck the hill tops in the background. Not a breath of wind.

Jack declared, “Showtime.” We photographed feverishly for several minutes. It was over as fast as it had begun. I looked over at Jack as he packed up his gear. He looked up and bristled, "You must lead some kind of monastic lifestyle or something. I've been here two full days waiting for the wind to quit blowing. You show up and BOOM, the wind stops and you get your photograph." We both laughed.

Creating ‘Evening at Dawn’ in the presence of a master whose work had touched me deeply for years, was a defining moment in my maturation as an artist.


(Worth the wait!)