Behind the Shot: Bluff Photographer Paul Martini

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Photos and words by Paul Martini

A few years ago a photog friend and I hiked to a cliff dwelling in southeast Utah just as a ferocious monsoonal downpour struck. A flash flood came over the pour-off above the alcove. Initially we tried to shelter in the alcove, but there was this high-velocity blast of water — mud and sand everywhere — and neither of us wanted to even take photo gear out of the bags. So we retreated a ways and did a few shots from there.

I’ve never seen anything like it: boulders the size of soccer balls were spitting off the ledge like cannon shots. For the above photo, I used a 3/4-second exposure to produce some motion blur in the water.

And several hours later, when the flow had slowed to a trickle, darkness fell and the stars came out.

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