Vermillion Cliffs, Arizona: The National Monument You’ve Never Heard Of

This is a Hipmunk post from Jodi Ettenberg of Legal Nomads

Though I’ve been travelling around the world for the last 4 years, I am the first to admit that I’ve seen only one small part of what my country’s national parks and those of the United States have to offer. With such vast spaces and varied landscapes, months of discovery are needed to see them all. Take, for example, these 3000 ft tall Vermillion Cliffs in Arizona, shot by photographer Richard Barnes:

As National Geographic notes in their January 2012 magazine

It’s hard to believe that a national monument girded by towering cliffs—their color burning through the spectrum as the day advances—could be so little known. Yet few people have heard of the place, apart from one or two of its famous features. One reason is that Vermilion Cliffs National Monument is upstaged by its neighbors, which include some of the most famous national parks and monuments in the United States: Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, and more.

Adding it to the bucket list, stat!

For those in the region, note that there are few marked trails and rangers found in the bigger National Parks, so it’s quite an undertaking to visit, and one where preemptive planning is necessary. Additional info, maps and camping sites for the adventure-seekers among you Hipmunks can be found on the Arizona Bureau of Land Management’s site.


Desert rivers that look like trees

This is a Hipmunk post from Jodi Ettenberg of Legal Nomads

Some of the most evocative travel photography is the kind that makes you see something normal in a totally different light. Take the photo below, a bird’s eye view of Baja California desert in Mexico, taken by Adriana Franco:

Hard to believe that this is a desert image and not a delicate hand-painted canvas of furrowed branches and trees. We all know that nature is beautiful, but sometimes it’s a surprise to see it shifted into an unexpected form.

For a few more shots of the desert from above, see Adriana’s gallery on National Geographic.


Surreal underwater photos by biologist Alexander Semenov

This is a Hipmunk post from Jodi Ettenberg of Legal Nomads

I stumbled on this bright, ethereal photos from under the sea and had to share them here. Alexander Semenov is a biologist who now does a gorgeous job of photographing what he spent so long studying.

Exhibit A:

Jellyfish by Alexander Semenov

Semenov notes that he got into underwater photography by accident:

When I first began to experiment with sea life photography I tried shooting small invertebrates for fun with my own old camera and without any professional lights or lenses. I collected the invertebrates under water and then I’ve shot them in the lab. After two or three months of failure after failure I ended up with a few good pictures, which I’ve showed to the crew. It has inspired us to buy a semi-professional camera complete with underwater housing and strobes. Thus I’ve spent the following field season trying to shoot the same creatures, but this time in their environment. It was much more difficult, and I spent another two months without any significant results. But when you’re working at something every day, you inevitably get a lot of experience. Eventually I began to get interesting photos — one or two from each dive. Now after four years of practice I get a few good shots almost every time I dive but I still have a lot of things that need to be mastered in underwater photography.

You can check out more of his photos on Flickr, or this photoessay of jellyfish on This is Colossal.  Don’t miss his Northern Lights photoset on his website either – it rivals the above deep sea photos in brightness and beauty.



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