Well, it is almost time to head back to Zion. I have been eagerly awaiting my return trip. It has been a month since my last visit. On my last trip, I took a handful of shots, all of which were pretty good, but not exactly perfect. I have reformulated my plan, and now have the necessary knowledge for my return trip. I will have more time in Zion on my return trip, and the trip should coincide with peak fall color in the park.
I purchased a 95mm polarizer for my wide angle 8×10 lens ($$$), which should help for both Subway, and the Narrows. I now have a good feeling for the best time of day to shoot Subway (morning is great), and I know the exact shot that I want to get in the Narrows. Unfortunately, Velvia 100 is quite difficult to come by in 8×10. I have one sheet left, and a box of 10 sheets on backorder, which might show before the trip *fingers crossed*. I do have a box of Velvia 50, as well as Provia 100 at my disposal though. Velvia 50 gives great color, but I am weary about possible color shifts and the poor reciprocity failure, so I may duplicate the shots with Provia. Also, the shutter speeds will be significantly faster with the Provia, which is great when shooting in a canyon that is as dark as a closet.
I anticipate that the water will be colder in the narrows and Subway, but I am prepared with drypants and a warm layer underneath. In September when the air temperature was in the 90’s, it was still was far more comfortable to wear drypants than being submerged in the chilly water.
During my past couple trips, I did learn a trick to help with the long drives. From my house in San Diego to Zion National Park, it is about a 7 hour drive. Don’t get me wrong, I love going for a drive, and don’t think that 7 hours is all that long. However, with a very early start (2 or 3 AM), the trip seems significantly shorter. Psychologically, the drive through the dark doesn’t even seem to count. By the time the sun rises, I am in Baker or Vegas. That’s when my ass starts to keep track of how long I have been sitting there. Driving for 7 hours, 4 of which are in the dark, seems like sitting there for 3 hours.
Also, on my return trip, the shuttle system is no longer required to access the canyon. That means that I can get a very early start on some of the hikes, which helps me to get into position with enough time to setup the shot that I am after.
This should be one of the best times to vision Zion, and I have already chatted with several other photographers who will be in Zion at the same time. If anyone reading this is planning on heading to Zion between the 1st and 11th, and sees a whiteboy in his late 20’s hauling around an 8×10 in an orange gregory backpack, it’s likely me. I always like meeting other photographers.