Drop of a hat Grand Canyon road trip

Discussion in 'Hiking & Camping' started by Laura, Aug 6, 2014.

  1. Laura

    Laura freespirittraveler

    Messages:
    957
    Location:
    San Diego
    I decided to post a trip report after all, even though the trip was brief, because who hasn't wanted to hit the road at the drop of a hat? I had resigned myself to missing the Southwest monsoon season because it just wasn't in the budget. I'd already been to Utah 3 times this year and have a trip to Kauai coming up, so I decided to be financially responsible, which I usually am not. Then a woman in my office that I've known for 14 years got diagnosed with cancer. Not only that, but it has spread to her liver and lungs. She's only 8 days older than me. The next day (Friday) I saw that there was a 70% chance of thunderstorms at the Grand Canyon, but I would only have one day there. F@%$ financial responsibility! I packed my stuff, got the last campsite at the canyon, and hit the road 18 hours later.

    I was envisioning dark clouds and dramatic storm light with lightning bolts in the canyon. And I did see conditions like that, but it was on the I-40. I was 2 hours away so I hurried to the canyon. Once there the sky was overcast and it was lightly raining, no lightning anywhere. It took a long time to get there because of a traffic accident so I set up my tent and slept with the sound of rain. I got up to see the sunset, but it was totally overcast. Nothing to do except take moody layered shots. Even the worst photography conditions are still better than being at work:

    BW Aperture Really Moody version.jpg

    As I drove to get breakfast this elk was posing by the side of the road. He was more used to being photographed than a supermodel. He walked around showing off his impressive rack (like any supermodel would) while photographers followed him around:

    Elk-3.jpg


    Elk-2.jpg

    The day continued to get grayer, and rainier. Not a bolt in sight. I packed up camp and drove to various points on the East Rim, but the canyon only got foggier until it was completely obliterated. It was like the Grand Canyon had been moved to Seattle. I couldn't even tell it was there. Usually I'd go for a hike when I can't shoot, but with visibility this bad there was no way I was going to hike down a trail with drop-offs. I waited for 6 hours or so, until finally the skies started to clear. Sort of. But at least I could shoot. The canyon would clear, then fill with fog in a matter of seconds. I missed some shots because in the time it took to set up a tripod the canyon would fill with fog. I started at Moran Point:

    Color Fog at Moran Point.jpg

    Juniper and Rock.jpg

    Another moody B&W:

    BW Juniper and fog.jpg

    I was seriously tired by this point, having not slept that well or eaten much, but I decided to swing by Grandview Point to see what was happening there. Glad I did-by now the late afternoon light was starting to really get good. But there was no way I could do justice to any of it. I did my usual strum und drang, feeling like I couldn't shoot worth $h!+. The Grand Canyon does that to me, but I still kept trying:

    A grand view.jpg

    The Plateau closer.jpg

    Canyon View.jpg

    Peaks and Clouds w-clarity.jpg

    As I was packing up, dead tired and not thinking straight, I met a guy who shoots for Arizona Highways and he showed me a few of his shots. Wow, did I feel like an amateur after seeing what he got! He was perfectly nice, not show-offy at all, but I just wasn't in the right frame of mind. He told me he was sure thunderstorms were building, but all I wanted was to get to my room and sleep. I had a 9 hour drive the next day. As I drove to Williams a massive electrical storm was over the plateau. Lightning was hitting all around me, but I was just too tired to shoot. Next year!

    So would I do it again? Probably not for that short a time period. I felt too rushed to really think about what I was shooting. And while the trip really didn't cost that much (gas being unusually cheap for summer helped), I wrapped my bumper around a concrete post at a gas station :facepalm:. Trip cost-about $350. Cost to fix the bumper: $820.

    But I'd been jonesing all summer to get to the Southwest and I got it out of my system. This should tide me over until I go back in the fall for 10 days. :cool2:

    As always, please let me know which photos you think work and which ones don't. All feedback appreciated, I experimented on a few.

    Featured image for home page:
    slide.jpg
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2014
  2. Laura

    Laura freespirittraveler

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    Location:
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    Here's another one I couldn't decide whether to make it color or black and white:

    BW Fog at Moran Point.jpg
     
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  3. Yvonne

    Yvonne I lava it!!! .

    Messages:
    2,553
    Location:
    Keaau, HI
    at least you got more than I did here in St. George. The promising looking storm for us was more than disappointing.
    You got some great shots, love the mood in many of them. Love the fog in them.

    Bummer with the bumper :mad:
     
  4. SirDonB

    SirDonB So what's next?

    Messages:
    116
    Location:
    Upstate NY
    You have some amazing shots, better than just about anything I could take here in upstate NY, then again, I am usually strapped to traveling between work, home, and the park with the kids. I need to be more like you and toss responsibity aside every so often to take more time for me...

    Keep doing what you are doing, it seems to work well for you.
     
  5. steve

    steve Member

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    2,133
    Location:
    Lehi
    fantastic shots as always Laura!
     
  6. Laura

    Laura freespirittraveler

    Messages:
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    Location:
    San Diego
    Bummer you aren't getting any storms! Arizona really got some amazing ones, just not while I had a camera ready. The best light I had was on the I-40 going into a storm. Now I'm really wishing I'd stopped to shoot it. Note to self-take pictures WHEREVER possible!
     
  7. Laura

    Laura freespirittraveler

    Messages:
    957
    Location:
    San Diego
    Thanks! I don't have kids so that definitely helps. As I was throwing my stuff together for the trip it was like the opening scene in "127 Hours", and we all know how THAT ended. Tossing responsibility aside is like gambling-sometimes it pays off well, but not usually. I think my new motto is going to be "seize the day but don't do anything stupid."
     
  8. Laura

    Laura freespirittraveler

    Messages:
    957
    Location:
    San Diego
    Thanks Steve. Say hi to Tess for me. I think our hike in Kolob Canyon is going to be one of the highlights of the year for me.
     
  9. Nick

    Nick Post 'em if you got 'em! .

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    Location:
    Utah
    Way to be irresponsible! Great shots!
     
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  10. Vegan.Hiker

    Vegan.Hiker Member .

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    Location:
    Westwood, NJ
    Absolutely beautiful! As a pure hiker (meaning I'm not a photographer) I always find it funny how you guys purposely go out in bad weather lol.
     
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  11. Laura

    Laura freespirittraveler

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    Yeah, we're a weird bunch, aren't we? :D But bad weather helps keep the crowds down! :twothumbs:
     
  12. ShaneSherman

    ShaneSherman New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Irvine, CA
    Those are incredible photos!
     
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  13. pixie1339

    pixie1339 Desperately Seeking Sandstone

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    Location:
    Draper, UT
    Great shots Laura! This one is my favorite:

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Laura

    Laura freespirittraveler

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    957
    Location:
    San Diego
    Thanks Lisa, appreciate the feedback. Hope you're well, miss you!
     
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  15. pixie1339

    pixie1339 Desperately Seeking Sandstone

    Messages:
    1,696
    Location:
    Draper, UT
    Thanks! I miss you too. I am well, just going through a busy spell. I'll be around more once life calms down a bit.:)
     
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