Moab Happenings Archive
Return to home


Photographs Are Ubiquitous In Today’s Technological World
By David L. Brown

Photography has become a part of the very fabric of modern life. We are constantly making pictures, and having pictures made of us. We use our smart phones, computers, and tablets to record and share images, play action games, or share bits of our lives through social media. And not only still photographs but also video. You may participate in live Zoom meetings, and your smart phone can very likely record 4K ultrahigh definition broadcast quality footage.

This picture taken during the early days of the Pack Creek fire shows the plume of smoke trailing off to the left, turned gold by the last rays of the Sun.

Try to imagine what it would be like to live without these wonderful image-making tools. We can all do things that were once the domain of photojournalists and movie makers. We can capture, interpret, share, and archive every facet of our lives.

Some of us may be a little carried away by this power. Think of people you may know who are compelled to make pictures of mundane details of their lives, things so insignificant as the ham sandwich they had for lunch, only to send them out to an indifferent world. Clearly, like many things, the easy ability to create images can become addictive. Fortunately, for most of us it’s not only harmless but a great convenience that adds value to our lives.

Until the advent of digital cameras, photographic images could only be captured in a physical form, first on glass plates or tintypes, then on film. Polaroid cameras made little paper prints to be be stored away in drawers and cabinets; color slides were put into projector trays or shoeboxes on a closet shelf.

Today’s images are far more versatile, because as digital files they have no physical limitations. You can create a picture with your smart phone at 6 p.m. in Buenos Aires and three minutes later your friend in Chicago can be sharing it with you on her phone. It gives us the ability to remain connected in our world in ways never before possible. It gives us the power to share our experiences and personal vision with others, whether real world friends and relatives or large numbers of social media “friends” who share an interest. For example, I have more than 2000 Facebook followers, most of whom have interest in photography and the landscape photographs and other insights I share with them. (If you are interested in following me, look me up on Facebook and send me a friend request.)

This picture was taken at sunset with rainy clouds hanging around Professor Valley and the distant mountains, alive with muted colors of purple, green and gold.

Here are a couple of pictures I recently shared. The first is a sad one because it features the recent Pack Creek fire that destroyed so much of our beautiful La Sal Mountains. On about the second day of the fire I was in Arches leading a photo tour, and I made this picture just after sunset looking across Balanced Rock toward the mountains and plume of smoke, turned golden by the last rays of the Sun. I titled the post “Apocalypse Now” because it reminded me of scenes in the film of that name.

The other is a happier scene, also featuring a view of the La Sal Mountains from Professor Valley where I live. Again, it was at sunset, my favorite time to shoot, and there were some stormy clouds in the area. The setting sun was muted, lighting up a purple sky against the muted colors of the buttes.

Incidentally, the first picture was made with a pro-level SLR camera, and the second with my iPhone 12pro. See how technology has made photography such a ubiquitous part of our lives? Without my camera and smart phone, I would have enjoyed these scenes, but only memories in my head would remain.


David L. Brown is a landscape photographer who has led photo tours from his base in Moab since 2015, now as Printworks Photo Tours. His fine art prints can be seen at Printworks Gallery, 1105 S. Hwy. 191. He invites you to visit or call at 435-355-0121.

Return to home