Photography Road Trip 2-the trip that almost didn't happen

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Laura

freespirittraveler
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
Messages
957
I was really apprehensive about this one-I was hoping to get some amazing snow shots in Zion like I had last year so I booked a trip for the same time period, but as I anxiously watched NOAA the forecast was terrible! The weather was warming into the 60's for Zion with clear blue skies. I know everyone out in Southern Utah was excited for the "warm" weather, but I live in San Diego-that's a cold day for us, not to mention the forecast for San Diego the same weekend was low 80's! Was it worth leaving the beach and 80 degree weather for 60 degrees in Zion????

I decided to look at it as an opportunity to stretch my creativity. After all, how hard is it to get great shots in Zion in dramatic weather? All you need to do is stand by the side of the road! Additionally, Nick and pixie had encouraged me to go to the Grand Canyon in search of snow, and since I hadn't been there in 30 years I said what the hell!

I made the long, dreary drive from San Diego (there is hardly anything less scenic than barren California desert along the 15) and I got to Zion just after dark. Since it was the perfect time of the month for night shots I composed a few in the dark and hoped for the best:
Stan Star Photo.jpg


The next day I decided to go to the Virgin River in the early morning to shoot the cliff reflections on the water (and exercise that creativity). The forecast may have been 60 degrees but it was waaaay below freezing in the canyon! I was wrapped like a mummy and picking my way over ice, but the reflections did not disappoint:
Zion abstracts-3.jpg
Zion abstracts-2.jpg



After spending the weekend at Zion I took off for the Grand Canyon. The forecast was looking good-an arctic storm was moving in, 100% chance of snow! I took the Alt 89 since I'd never traveled it and got to see the base of the Vermilion Cliffs. I've been to the top, but never from the bottom. They were spectacular and I made a note to come back this summer to explore them further. I was expecting the Grand Canyon to be very touristy, and when I first arrived that's what I got-Grand Canyon Village, tour buses at Mather Point, lousy, expensive food. No quirky coffee shops like in Springdale. As I checked out each viewpoint the incredible scene that spread out below me became mezmerizing. I was staring down at 2 billion years of erosion, and I slowly fell in love with its one of a kind beauty. I'll let the pictures do the talking from here:

Grand Canyon Light 2.jpg


Grand Canyon Dawn 1.jpg



Grand Canyon Sunset 2-3.jpg



View attachment 8360

Nick and pixie, this one is for you!

The day before I was supposed to drive back there were blizzard and hazardous travel warnings. Schools in Flagstaff were closed. I was snowed in and couldn't leave-woohoo! I've always wanted to get snowed in on vacation! I was hoping to get shots of snow on the peaks but while there was a LOT of snow on the rim, there hardly was any in the canyon. I found a herd of elk grazing in the harsh conditions, snow on their backs:


Elk-2.jpg



Grand Canyon Sunset 2.jpg


And what's a sunset at the Grand Canyon without a photographer just feet away from plunging to his death? Not this time, fortunately.

My last trip to the rim couldn't be captured with a still camera. The snowstorm lifted, the sky began clearing so I drove to Yavapai Point to see if there was any snow on the peaks. There wasn't, but the air was clear and I stood at the guard rail and watched the light snow fall ing3,000 feet into the Grand Canyon. There was perfect stillness, and I had the whole place to myself. It was magical! I felt blessed to be there a that moment and can't wait to go back!


Grand Canyon Sunset 2-4.jpg







Grand Canyon Sunset-OP-2.jpg



Grand Canyon Sunset 3.jpg


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Laura

freespirittraveler
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
Messages
957
Thanks for the comments everyone, glad you enjoyed the shots. To think that I almost missed this trip! Thanks especially to Nick and pixie for sending me off to the Grand Canyon-I've already got two more trips back there planned for this year, including a backpacking trip with my boyfriend so we can see it from the bottom. I've got a campsite reserved for the North Rim in August and will do more exploring of the Vermilion Cliffs while I'm there. Anyone have any suggestions for good hikes in Marble Canyon, Lee's Ferry, any of that area?
 

pixie1339

Desperately Seeking Sandstone
Joined
Jan 21, 2012
Messages
1,692
Thanks for the comments everyone, glad you enjoyed the shots. To think that I almost missed this trip! Thanks especially to Nick and pixie for sending me off to the Grand Canyon-I've already got two more trips back there planned for this year, including a backpacking trip with my boyfriend so we can see it from the bottom. I've got a campsite reserved for the North Rim in August and will do more exploring of the Vermilion Cliffs while I'm there. Anyone have any suggestions for good hikes in Marble Canyon, Lee's Ferry, any of that area?
Nice! What backpack are you planning to do? I've been eyeing up the South Kaibab/Bright Angel backpack, but will probably wait until next year. In the Lees Ferry area there are some cool narrow canyons:

http://www.americansouthwest.net/arizona/lees_ferry/canyons.html

Also, there is the Spencer Trail, which climbs to an awesome view of Marble Canyon. Another option would be to dayhike the Paria River Canyon. Last there's the short, gentle River Trail that follows the banks of the Colorado if you're looking for a mellow hike.
 

Laura

freespirittraveler
Joined
Oct 1, 2012
Messages
957
Nice! What backpack are you planning to do? I've been eyeing up the South Kaibab/Bright Angel backpack, but will probably wait until next year. In the Lees Ferry area there are some cool narrow canyons:

http://www.americansouthwest.net/arizona/lees_ferry/canyons.html

Also, there is the Spencer Trail, which climbs to an awesome view of Marble Canyon. Another option would be to dayhike the Paria River Canyon. Last there's the short, gentle River Trail that follows the banks of the Colorado if you're looking for a mellow hike.
Awesome, thanks! Looks like I might need a few days for all of these. We haven't decided which trail we're backpacking on yet, since we're both newbies at the GC anything will be an adventure. :cool:
 

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