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Factory Butte   |  Eric Bunch
A Photo Essay

A Day at the Factory

See Factory Butte like never before with hyper-detailed panorama photography.

Written By Eric Bunch

In the remote desert of Southeastern Utah lies a stunning geological formation that rises almost cathedral-like from the eroded landscape below — Factory Butte. Located off Highway 24 between Torrey and Hanksville, just east of Capitol Reef National Park, this 6,302 foot monolith was once home to dusty coal miners. These days its surrounding lunar badlands provide a wonderland for amateur and professional photographers alike — an endless vista of colorful desert flora, orange pockmarked sandstone and centuries of relentless erosion.

I’ve been shooting fine art and commercial photography for more than two decades, and have recently begun to specialize in hyper-detailed panoramas. This type of photography is designed to capture stunning landscape images that go far beyond standard wide-angle lens capabilities. To create this type of panorama, I methodically take a series of shots and stitch them together in post-production to create one massive, highly-detailed image.

As I prepare to apply this technique to Factory Butte, I wait for the moment when the sunlight clips the upper reaches of its sandstone peak. My goal is to expose every little crack and pebble that cannot be seen by the naked eye. When the final image is printed, all those significant features will leap out of the frame — a detailed reminder of a dazzling natural wonder cloaked in a breathtaking sunrise.

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A photographer's work often begins before sunrise.

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I started creating hyper-detailed panoramas a few years ago. The prints have so much detail they have an almost three dimensional feel to them.

Using a nodal slider, a rotating gimbal and a long focal length lens, I make incremental adjustments after each shutter release, as I pan across the face of the mountain in rows, gathering more and more detail with each shot.

These images are meant to be viewed over and over again. They’re meant to be explored. Because each image is of such high resolution, I can stare at them for hours, finding new details I didn’t see before.

Factory Butte Region

Help Keep Utah Forever Mighty

When you visit Factory Butte, remember to travel on designated motorized routes and trails in order to protect plant species. Do not create new trails with your car or your feet. Small but mighty actions make all the difference as we work together to protect our natural wonders and vibrant cultures for generations to come. 

See more responsible travel tips

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