Treacherous Surface Exploration


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We are anthill men on an anthill world. ~ Ray Bradbury
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Some areas of the surface are a bit too treacherous to explore with the exosuit…
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I find myself revisiting places I went to often as a kid to capture my toy photography.  It is a very nostalgic experience.  This shot, along with many others I have captured was taken at what I call the Cinder Pit.  This cinder pit is located near my grandfathers ranch in Summit, UT.  Summit is a small town if you can call it that.  Passing it on the freeway, you blink and it’s gone.

The cinder pit is located on an old cinder cone hill.  It has been developed by the Utah department of transportation (UDOT), but is open to the public.  They use the dark grey cinders to spread on the icy roads in the winter.  When mixed with salt this makes for excellent gripping power in the snow.

They mine the cinder out of the mountain side and they pile it in small fifty foot tall hills.  These hills become weathered in rain and create small 5-6 foot cliffs on the slope.  The cinder is very soft in these piles to a depth of almost three feet at times.

When I was a kid we would climb up the backside of the hills and run and jump off the top ledge.  It was a thrilling, intense activity of freefalling upwards of fifteen feet into the soft powdered hillside.  Think of it like jumping into the ball pit at McDonalds (although I haven’t seen those in forever).  Because the cliff is on a slope, when you jump off it you fall much farther.  Also because of the slope, when you land it is a gradual landing and doesn’t hurt at all, usually.

My cousin and I and a friend decided to go and try this cinder pit jumping as adults.  I was equipped with my GoPro, and I think that’s where we went wrong.  I think GoPro’s have a tendency to capture injuries because some people like to show off when they are being filmed.  Well, this particular day we went was a very nice and sunny day but the issue was that it had rained a few days earlier and the cinders had soaked up that water.  The cinders were only soft to a depth of about 6-8 inches – then they were rock hard and wet.  We were unaware of this until my cousin (he’s a big guy), leaped off the top and landed with a painful bounce.  He shattered his tailbone on contact.  It was horrible, and I caught it all on the gopro in slowmotion.  I would put the footage up – but I don’t think he would appreciate it.

I think this cinder pit is a perfect location for an other worldly landscape and I have used it several times in many different shots.  I utilized Mextures and Enlight to give it a martian surface feel.

 

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