Grand Junction: An Oasis in the Desert - TaylorFrantaPhotography

Grand Junction:  a place previously unknown to me until I had received a random job offer there.  Two days after that offer I accepted.  While I only had a year to spend in the Valley  it was undoubtedly one of the best years of my life.  Seeing as I did not even know Grand Junction existed until shortly before my move I certainly had much to learn and explore during my short time there.  

Early on I had some crazy idea in my mind of creating a shot that encompasses everything that the Grand Valley  represents.  I spent the early months brainstorming this idea as I slowly learned what GJ meant to me.  I knew I wanted to include Highway 70 as it is a big reason why GJ is what it is and was a road I often traveled as I explored other areas of CO/UT.  The wineries of Palisade also had a place in my heart as I became friends with John Barbier, the owner of Maison La Belle Vie Winery.  A shot of the valley wouldn't be complete without showing the city itself which is why I captured its bright glow.  Lastly, I wanted to include the big three in terms of landmarks.  The Book Cliffs, the Monument, of which is visible in the distance, and the Grand Mesa, whose foothills push into this shot.  I spent much of my time star gazing as well and so I also have a version that includes the Milky Way in the upper left corner as can be seen below. 

Ultimately to include all of these aspects would be a challenge and the location I decided upon would be an even greater one:  the summit of Mount Garfield.  While not the longest of hikes it is certainly one of the steepest I have ever done.  Couple that with 40 pounds of camera equipment on your back and the knowledge that you will be coming down in the dark and the shoot soon becomes no easy task.  Timing was the other difficult part.  I knew I wanted to incorporate the Milky Way     This means I needed a moonless, clear night.  On the other hand, I certainly wanted clouds at the time of sunset to give drama to the skies.  Finding a balance between the two involves more luck than any planning can do.  Lastly, I wanted to create a shot worth printing.  In the world of printing more megapixels means larger prints.  This is not a single picture but instead a 10 row panorama.  By taking 10 images I created a much higher resolution shot which allows for sharp detail even in large prints.  

Ultimately my research and patience won out as the conditions where absolutely perfect!  To make it even better I even convinced several of my great friends to hike along with me.  Every time I see this image all of the great memories, from my first very nervous day there to my last sad goodbyes,   come rushing back.  

I hope that anyone else who currently lives in GJ or who has lived there in the past can also relive some of their better memories in this picture.  As such I urge you to share this post with anyone you think may also be reminded of good times related to the Grand Valley.  

This print will always be available for sale on all surfaces but for the rest of the month of February I am going to offer my 20 x 60 canvas print of this image for $50 off bringing it to $190.  I like to keep my prices low for the very purpose of allowing others to share in the memories that my pictures hopefully bring.  To view a zoomable, full resolution version of this shot so you can see more of the detail please visit: this website. 

All prints are ready to hang and include hooks on the back.  Shipping is also completely free so you are paying $190 for a professionally finished product shipped directly to your door.  Email me at to place your order or with any questions you may have.  

I really appreciate you taking the time to visit my website and would love to hear some of the reasons why the Grand Valley means so much to you!

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