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Author Topic: Drove though Oak Creek and Sedona and what I saw made me sick to my stomach.  (Read 6201 times)
Dan Berg
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« on: March 16, 2012, 10:04:31 PM »
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Flew into Phoenix and drove up to Sedona today looking forward to 3 days of shooting in the area.
Got off 17n and was awaiting that bucolic scenic drive up the valley and just could not believe the changes in the last 6 years. Not good changes either. The city fathers have absolutely ruined this national treasure by letting anything and everything be built. Homes,businesses anything you can imagine. Every square foot of real estate that was available has something built on it.
This is one of those times I wish our government had stepped in 75 years ago and made it a national park.
What this place has become is shameful. Another scenic wonder of the world ruined by man.
Guess I will head up to the Grand Canyon tomorrow as I know it is relatively untouched by man.

To my fellow Arizonians it is still by far my favorite state to photograph!

« Last Edit: March 17, 2012, 07:11:29 AM by Dan Berg » Logged

aduke
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« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2012, 12:01:41 AM »
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But that's the Arizona way! Developers rule.

Why else would anyone develop a 50,000 person community 20 miles up an already very busy 4-lane interstate?

Alan

Scottsdale
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Mike Sellers
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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2012, 09:49:57 AM »
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Lived there in 1990-91 then went back ten years later-what a shock! Not only all the new construction-new high school and community college- but new "rules" for all the popular photo spots. You had to get a permit to pull over from the main road in a turnout to take a photo! Plus the West Fork was heavily promoted requiring a new parking lot to handle all the traffic and of course a parking permit had to be purchased. I used to park along the highway in a turnout right across from the trailhead and go up the West Fork to do fall color photography and encounter maybe a handfull of other hikers in a morning. "If you build it up they will come" really is true. 
Mike
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petermarrek
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« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2012, 11:44:59 AM »
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Drove through Sedona yesteray afternoon, I agree that American sprawl is everywhere, still managed to get some nice shots. The day before I cursed the Grand Canyon because far away someone released pollution that needed tons of increased saturation in Lightroom to make a lot of shots useable as well as the many railings that kept me alive. It is a different world we live in today and we all embrace the latest technology if it suits us and curse the ones that dont. Peter
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DeanChriss
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« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2012, 12:23:25 PM »
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I cursed the Grand Canyon because far away someone released pollution that needed tons of increased saturation in Lightroom to make a lot of shots useable as well as the many railings that kept me alive.
I used to spend lots of time in Moab, Utah. In the early 1980s the annual visitation to all districts of Canyonlands NP combined was 56,965. By 2008 it increased by 7.7 times and was 436,715. In the early 1980s Canyonlands was accessed only by dirt roads, there were no sidewalks or railings, and features that were 20 miles away were as clear and sharp as those 20 yards away. Now it's a completely different place with crowds, sidewalks, railings, and LOTS of haze. The last time I visited I walked up to Grand View Point and could hardly see mountains to the south. I was so disgusted I got back in my vehicle and left without taking a single photo. Beyond all the pollution, it bothers me that people who are too young to know how it was will think this is how it always looked, or how it's supposed to look, like the misty views that are a trademark of mountains in the Eastern U.S.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 12:25:58 PM by DeanChriss » Logged

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Lonnie Utah
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« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2012, 02:56:01 PM »
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In the early 1980s Canyonlands was accessed only by dirt roads, there were no sidewalks or railings, and features that were 20 miles away were as clear and sharp as those 20 yards away. Now it's a completely different place with crowds, sidewalks, railings, and LOTS of haze. The last time I visited I walked up to Grand View Point and could hardly see mountains to the south. I was so disgusted I got back in my vehicle and left without taking a single photo. Beyond all the pollution, it bothers me that people who are too young to know how it was will think this is how it always looked, or how it's supposed to look, like the misty views that are a trademark of mountains in the Eastern U.S.

You realize that the haze and pollution isn't really due to the cars in the area, but the Coal fired powered plants in the region that send most of their energy to power hungry California?



This facility is just over an hour from Canyonlands, as is this one...


« Last Edit: April 02, 2012, 02:58:47 PM by Lonnie Utah » Logged
Scott O.
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« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2012, 07:49:25 PM »
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You realize that the haze and pollution isn't really due to the cars in the area, but the Coal fired powered plants in the region that send most of their energy to power hungry California?

Best to check your facts...the power from Black Mesa near 4 corners is staying in the area. California doesn't get squat from it, which really isn't all that important.  What is happening with the strip mining for coal fired generating plants is a tragedy.
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Lonnie Utah
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« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2012, 01:39:21 PM »
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Best to check your facts...the power from Black Mesa near 4 corners is staying in the area. California doesn't get squat from it, which really isn't all that important.  What is happening with the strip mining for coal fired generating plants is a tragedy.

Roughly 50% of power used in Southern California comes from Coal fired plants in Utah, Az and Nevada.

I think you need to read up on the Intermountain Power Agency, which runs the Intermountain Power Plant in Delta Utah with a capacity of 1,900 MW.  75% of their power generated goes to California Purchasers...

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power 44.617%
City of Anaheim   13.225%
City of Riverside   7.617%
City of Pasadena   4.409%
City of Burbank   3.371%
City of Glendale   1.704%

http://www.ipautah.com/about/index.asp

Not to mention the multiple PacifiCorp coal fired plants in central Utah...

Find Delta, Huntington and Castledale, Ut on the map (all sites of Big coal fired power plants).  Then find Cayonlands/Moab and overlay a prevailing winds map (Hint: they're from the NW).  The results should not surprise you...  

« Last Edit: April 03, 2012, 05:26:51 PM by Lonnie Utah » Logged
Scott O.
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« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2012, 12:58:38 AM »
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You obviously know your stuff...but this discussion began talking about the Sedona/Grand Canyon areas of northern Arizona, not the Moab area of Utah. What coal fired plants are in Northern Arizona and how much of the power produced there winds up in California?
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DeanChriss
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« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2012, 11:08:17 AM »
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You obviously know your stuff...but this discussion began talking about the Sedona/Grand Canyon areas of northern Arizona, not the Moab area of Utah. What coal fired plants are in Northern Arizona and how much of the power produced there winds up in California?

Just my 2 cents... Grand Canyon Nat'l Park in AZ and Canyonlands Nat'l Park in Utah are all in the same canyon system (canyons of the Colorado River). The same milky haze that one usually finds in Las Vegas extends west all through the Colorado River canyon system and well beyond it to the north and south. More than once I've flown into Las Vegas and over a couple of weeks made my way to Moab, never losing the haze. It's usually not as ridiculously thick by the time you're in Canyonlands, but you can't miss it. Since prevailing winds blow west to east I can't imagine pollution from AZ would get into CA very often. I'm sure this haze has many sources, the major ones being power plants like the one just outside Page AZ, in addition to the gillions of cars in places like Las Vegas NV and Los Angeles CA.   
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Scott O.
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« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2012, 03:51:11 PM »
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Your point is well taken Dean.  My question was not regarding air quality in the area, but electrical generation and where that electricity winds up.  Which in the grand scheme of things is really not too important, as the fact remains that the area is an environmental disaster. There is major strip mining in the Black Mesa and Kayenta areas to fuel coal fired plants in Laughlin (Mojave Generating Station, near as I can tell currently closed) and Page (Navajo Generating Station, now receiving coal from both the Black Mesa and Kayenta Mines). The Page station is the main source of the air pollution in the area, and the mines have had detrimental effects on the ground water. By the way, over 14,000 Native Americans were relocated due to the mines, the largest NA relocation since the 1880s. Much of this is occurring on Tribal Lands with Tribal approval. We are obviously not going to solve the problems of the area here, but I really feel sorry for photographers who never had or will have the opportunity to shoot the area back in the day when the air was clean. And no one has mentioned in this discussion the epic screw-up and destruction of Glen Canyon, which by all accounts was one of the natural marvels of the planet. Thanks to everyone for their contributions to this discussion, fact is even with all of the major problems it is still a tremendous area to visit. My favorite is Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, which is remarkable even with sometimes marginal air quality!
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DeanChriss
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« Reply #11 on: April 04, 2012, 04:50:03 PM »
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soberle,

In rereading these postings I realize I answered at least part of a question that wasn't asked. Perhaps it's yet another symptom of advancing years. Anyway, It looks like everyone agrees on the basics. As for Glen Canyon, I always think about how magnificent it must have been when I look at the bathtub ring around the shoreline. I wish I could have seen it before it was turned into a water tank. If you haven't seen it already, take a look at the book "The Place No One Knew - Glen Canyon on the Colorado". I wish the remaining relatively untouched places we have were valued by us as a society for more than the cash that can be extracted from them. But yes, there's still a lot to see, enjoy, and photograph. Grand Staircase-Escalante is among the best of them.
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- Dean
Lonnie Utah
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« Reply #12 on: April 04, 2012, 07:45:17 PM »
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The common thread to link all of these posts is as landscape photographers we must realize what affect man's modern lifestyle is having on this area.   
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sierraman
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« Reply #13 on: April 04, 2012, 10:50:08 PM »
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I have been to the Moab area numerous times over the Winter. Each time I was there the air was clean and clear. I live in Southern California so I guess I'm partly responsible for the poor air quality in the area (my apology). I'm thinking the air quality most be worse in the Spring/Summer times?
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #14 on: April 04, 2012, 10:51:40 PM »
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The common thread to link all of these posts is as landscape photographers we must realize what affect man's modern lifestyle is having on this area.   
For those interested in learning more about the issues and supporting efforts to preserve what is left in this area I suggest checking on the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance at www.suwa.org.

Eric
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-Eric Myrvaagnes

http://myrvaagnes.com  Visit my website. New images each season.
DeanChriss
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« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2012, 10:29:56 AM »
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I have been to the Moab area numerous times over the Winter. Each time I was there the air was clean and clear. I live in Southern California so I guess I'm partly responsible for the poor air quality in the area (my apology). I'm thinking the air quality most be worse in the Spring/Summer times?

I haven't been to canyon country in winter for a long time, and in fact I was about to ask if winter atmospheric conditions were better. The more recent trips I've made have all been in fall and spring when it's hot enough for lots of air conditioning in big cities like Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. That increases demand for electricity, which increases pollution generated by power plants, so it makes perfect sense that warmer months would have more haze. There's no need for any apology as far as I'm concerned. The best any of us can do is to act as responsibly as we can and support measures that have a positive impact on the issues. Maybe I'll see you in Canyonlands this winter!
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- Dean
Lonnie Utah
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« Reply #16 on: April 05, 2012, 10:41:14 AM »
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I haven't been to canyon country in winter for a long time, and in fact I was about to ask if winter atmospheric conditions were better. The more recent trips I've made have all been in fall and spring when it's hot enough for lots of air conditioning in big cities like Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles. That increases demand for electricity, which increases pollution generated by power plants, so it makes perfect sense that warmer months would have more haze. There's no need for any apology as far as I'm concerned. The best any of us can do is to act as responsibly as we can and support measures that have a positive impact on the issues. Maybe I'll see you in Canyonlands this winter!

The short answer is "it depends".  Under extended high pressure, the inter-mountain west is known to experiences "inversions" where cold air becomes trapped in valley's and basins which prevents exchange of pollutants and other particles that degrade visibility.  The longer the high pressure persists, the worse air quality and visibility becomes.  Now, when winter storms come thru the region, they push out the "bad" air and you'll never have better viewing conditions that they day after a storm.  There is also the added plus that frequently, these storms also provide snow, which makes for very interesting shooting and contrast (red rocks and snow).  
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bsdunek
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« Reply #17 on: April 05, 2012, 11:32:51 AM »
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You realize that the haze and pollution isn't really due to the cars in the area, but the Coal fired powered plants in the region that send most of their energy to power hungry California?



This facility is just over an hour from Canyonlands, as is this one...




I don't want pollution any more than anyone else, but, I hope you all realize what is shown in these photos is water vapor - nothing else.  The vapor from the stack shows the scrubbers are working, and cooling towers evaporate water to cool. 
All the electronic gadgets and push for electric cars will require more power plants to be built.  Wind and solar ain't gonna cut it.
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Bruce
Moma, don't take my Kodachrome away!
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« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2012, 11:43:31 AM »
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I don't want pollution any more than anyone else, but, I hope you all realize what is shown in these photos is water vapor - nothing else.  

Yup, I realize that (I've toured both of those plants before and have seen both the inside of the coal furnaces (it's like looking into the bowels of hell) and the power generation rooms, FWIW).  I was just showing the location of the facilities in the landscape.  That's being said, I've seen more than steam emitted from these as well...
« Last Edit: April 05, 2012, 11:46:13 AM by Lonnie Utah » Logged
DeanChriss
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« Reply #19 on: April 06, 2012, 08:34:46 AM »
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I used to help design boiler control systems for places like these, and I worked on a consulting basis at a number of plants to get things working as they should. These systems reduce emissions in addition to making a plant run more efficiently and cheaply by burning less fuel. Some plants are extremely careful and have all the latest equipment, some don't. It boils down to the regulations that govern them because none of them will buy, install, and maintain better pollution controls unless they are required to do so. Some older plants are "grandfathered" and don't have to install the best technologies, for instance. In addition to various pollution control systems, one plant I know of on the east coast uses a video camera to visually monitor stack emissions for clarity at a point in the sky after the steam dissipates. This obviously doesn't work on rainy or foggy days, or at night, but they operate under very strict local regulations and are the cleanest plant I've ever seen. I've also seen a plant in Ohio where there's always a large yellow-brown stream of gas that goes all the way to the horizon, 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. I've also worked at plants in the areas we've discussed here. While water vapor is always the most visible thing any power plant emits, but it's definitely not the only thing they emit. In addition to particulates and other gaseous compounds that produce immediately visible pollution, a significant portion of the released pollutants decompose in the atmosphere later to produce visible haze and acid rain. There are also significant releases of toxins like gaseous mercury compounds even in clear emissions.
« Last Edit: April 06, 2012, 09:15:01 AM by DeanChriss » Logged

- Dean
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