Archive for the ‘Zion National Park, Nov 2011’ Category

Zion 2011: Day 9 & 10

January 12, 2012

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I spent much of Day 9 scouting the east side of the park in search of mud textures from the snow melt. Though I found some areas with nice mud textures, I had difficulty locating an area free of debris. With that shot out of the question, I returned to the canyon, and used my panoramic camera to capture some interesting reflections on the river.


Wednesday, November 9, 2011

On my last full day in Zion, I hiked the very scenic trails to Hidden Canyon and Observation Point. I hadn’t been on these trails before, but it was fun to check them out, and see Zion from a different vantage point. No photos today, but some of the trails were absolutely beautiful! Thanks for joining me on this trip! I’m already packing for my next one (Thus the rush to get these videos posted!)

Zion 2011: Day 8

January 3, 2012

Monday, November 7, 2011

on the morning of Day 8, I was treated to wintery conditions on the east side of the park. Without a specific shot in mind, I set out with my Fuji panoramic camera and several rolls of film. I found several pockets of fall color tucked away in the sandy washes, and hoped to capture a photo of fiery maple leaves frosted with fresh snow. I scouted several areas, but nothing really jumped out at me.

I ventured further east, and hiked through several washes until I found just the scene I was looking for. Three young pine trees, covered in fresh snow, stood out against a reddish/orange sandstone formation. I shot two rolls of  120 film for a total of 8 shots. I set the aperture to f/22, and metered my shutter speed at 1 second — which is ideal. Exposures longer than one second cannot be timed automatically by the camera. This meant I was able to enjoy the scene, rather than worry about properly timing my exposure.

The snow didn’t last long. A gentle breeze jostled snow from these trees while I packed up my gear. It was a fleeting moment.

Fuji GX617 | 105mm | 1" @ f/22 | Fuji Velvia 50


Zion 2011: Day 7

December 27, 2011

Sunday, November 6, 2011

I awoke to a cold, damp, and windy campground. Dark clouds surged through the canyon, bringing with them the immediate threat of rain. There was no doubt about it — today was going to be wet.

I love the rain. The sight, the smell, and the sound are invigorating to the senses. As a native San Diegan, the novelty of rain never wears thin. During the first rain after a long dry season, it’s not uncommon to see my neighbors standing inquisitively on their front porch — their open palms sampling the first few drops of the wet season.

Unfortunately, my choice of camera equipment is not well suited for working in a rainy environment. My 8×10 is a lousy choice for the rain, and my 6×17 is mediocre at best. Despite the handicap of my equipment, I was willing to shoot in the rain.

Sunrise was mesmerizing, but very short lived. For what seemed like only a minute or two, the upper most reach of the Towers of Virgin was bathed in a brilliant crimson glow.

The light was magnificent, but it lacked a personal connection with me. Many photographers get caught up in trying to capture every moment — but lose sense of the bigger picture. If I do not feel a personal connection with a scene, I am more than willing to enjoy it as a spectator, but not as a photographer.

I spent much of the day scouting nearby maples. Eventually, I settled on a small cluster of trees located just off the road. I used my 4×5 darkcloth as a rain cover for my 6×17, and it worked surprisingly well!

Maples in the Rain | Velvia 50 | Fuji GX617

The intensity of rain picked up as the afternoon progressed. Soon, it was evening, and a slushy mix of rain and ice fell throughout the canyon. The canyon walls high above me were dusted with snow.

I drove through the tunnel to the east side of the park, and found myself in a winter wonderland. The next morning was bound to be magical.

Zion 2011: Day 6

December 26, 2011

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Zion 2011: Day 5

December 19, 2011

Friday, November 4, 2011

Yesterday’s hike revealed a declining state of fall color within the Narrows. There are many photos I would like to shoot back in there, but they all depend on fall color and will have to wait until next year.

With Subway and the Narrows officially out of the way, I can now focus my attention on the many small-scale subjects within the park.

Last year, I walked away with some great panoramic photos deep within a vibrant maple forest. I want to revisit that forest and see if I can find a composition with my 8×10.

I scaled a soft grassy slope strewn with large boulders. The forest floor was carpeted with delicate maple leaves.

The wind left its mark on this grove. Through the barren branches, sun-burnt sandstone cliffs stood in place of the fiery display of red, orange, and yellow leaves I witnessed last year. Vast swatches of trees stood barren, while others were still green.

I made myself comfortable on the slope. In the distance, several photographers gathered along the rivers edge.

This quiet moment gave me a chance to reflect. I pondered the shots I’ve taken thus far. Over the past 4 days, I’ve captured 3 scenes on 8×10 — some of which were years in the making. The knowledge that I might have a portfolio shot in the mix was exciting.

I begin each photography trip with a set of goals. I almost always have a particular shot in mind. The mission to capture that photo is what fuels my inner drive, and gives me a strong sense of determination. It’s just like the cartoons where a carrot is dangled in front of a horse. Each photo represents a carrot — but in my case, there are often multiple carrots on multiple strings.

With each photo I capture, a string is severed. Eventually, my inner drive is extinguished by my own sense of accomplishment.

This has been an interesting trip thus far. With three big shots out of the way, only one carrot remains — another maple photo. Five days remain on this trip. Severing the last string might not be such a good thing. I sat on the slope, pondering my options.

A cold wind snapped through the canyon, setting the forest ablaze with a flurry of yellow leaves. The weather forecast called for rain and snow by late afternoon. Today might be my last opportunity to photograph the maples. The impending storm would only perpetuate the rapid decline of fall color. I needed to find a subject.

While descending the slope, I stumbled upon an interesting location. A large square rock floated on a sea of yellow leaves. In the foreground, 4 trees grew outward in an arc of reverence.

There was order in the chaos — even the texture of the trees matched that of the boulder. I shot a few frames on my 6×17, but I knew my 8×10 was more appropriate. Unfortunately, it was back at camp.

I raced back to camp, swapped cameras, then returned with my 8×10. By then, the wind was gusting, and high clouds streamed past overhead.

My first instinct was to use my normal 300mm lens, but the perspective didn’t match up. I tried my 150mm, and found something that worked.

The conditions continued to degrade as gusts of wind swept through the canyon. I rushed the composition, and got my camera ready to shoot. The final exposure was 11 seconds @ f/45.

Autumn's Throne | Velvia 50 8x10 | 11sec @ f/45 | Nikkor 150mm SW

Though the photo is technically proficient, It’s not what I was hoping to capture. I’ll definitely revisit this location next year, and see what else I can try.

The temperature dropped as the impending storm made its presence known within the canyon. I was excited to see a chance in the weather. Perhaps the rain, and even snow would make for some unique conditions within the canyon.

Zion 2011: Day 4

December 11, 2011

Thursday, November 3, 2011

After 3 days straight of hiking with my 8×10, I decided it was time for a break. Today’s plan called for a hike into the Narrows with my friend Bob Ross. I went lightweight, taking only my small backpack, Gatorade, snacks, and my video kit. Bob and I agreed on a leisurely 9AM start.

Last year, Bob and I hiked to Subway together. His schedule didn’t allow hiking the Narrows, so this was our first opportunity to head there together. I offered to be his “glow guide” and get him to the best spots at just the right time. I brought along my notes, and we hit the trail.

I sensed a change when we set foot in the river that morning. The water was murky, and the current was swift. The river was flowing at nearly 100 cubic feet per second. The National Park Service prohibits hiking in the Narrows when the river exceeds 120 cf/s.

I was disappointed to find that most of the trees within the narrows were well past prime. Many trees stood bare, while others had a dismal showing at best. Cold temperature and wind forced the trees to shed their leaves prematurely.

Two days earlier when Shane and I hiked the narrows, we scoped out several locations that depended on peak fall color. Today’s hike revealed that these locations were well past prime.

I got Bob to three of my favorite spots at just the right times.

By the end of our hike, one thing was clear. I was done with the Narrows on this trip. The fall color photos I planned deep within the Narrows would need to wait until next year.


Zion 2011: Day 3

December 5, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

After spending two days in the narrows, I was hoping for a day of rest. Unfortunately, that was out of the question. A glance at the weather forecast was all I needed to see.

This was the last day of full sun until early next week. Tomorrow will be cloudy — and rain/snow is in the forecast for Friday. By the time this storm clears out, much of the fall color will be gone.

A stiff, cold wind swept through the canyon last night — sending plumes of leaves adrift high overhead. A fuse was burning, and my window to shoot fall color would soon slam shut.

With this in mind, Shane and I decided that today was our last opportunity to photograph Subway. There was no guarantee of clear skies after today — a requisite when shooting reflected light.

It was well before sunrise when we left the campground. The temperature was in the low 20’s on the drive to the Left Fork trailhead. Much to my dismay, we weren’t the first on the trail that morning. With heavy packs, we also weren’t the fastest — far from it.

We descended the cliff under headlamps, reaching the canyon floor under the first glow of morning.

This was my 6th time hiking to Subway over the past 3 years. It’s hard not to notice the various changes to the trail along the way. Often times, I notice fallen trees or eroded river banks. This year, I saw evidence of a large rock fall part way up the canyon.

The canyon walls narrowed as we encountered the first of several cascades.

Fall color along the left fork was poor at best. Many trees stood bare — others showed a dismal display. The creek was alive with swirls of yellow leaves, drifting over miniature rapids.

We rounded a corner, and Archangel Falls came into view. The trees surrounding the falls were thin, but still photogenic.

Several photographers were lined up, actively shooting the falls when we arrived. This is not the type of photography I enjoy. I don’t like shooting beside other photographers, or waiting in line to get the same shot everyone else is getting.

I prefer to have a location to myself. Working in solitude allows me to consider every aspect of the composition.

This was Shane’s first time to Subway, so I wanted to make sure he got his shot of the falls. I held off shooting, ditched my pack, and scouted a nearby maple forest.

When I returned, everyone in the group was done shooting. I setup my 8×10 with my 150mm wide angle lens, and captured a photo very similar to what I shot last year on my 4×5. I was satisfied with the composition last year, but wanted to have the image on 8×10.

I bracketed two sheets on Velvia 50. One was exposed properly — the other was overexposed by 2/3 stop.

Though both sheets of film look fine, I prefer the brighter of the two.

Unfortunately, Velvia greatly exaggerates blue tone in the water. This is something that required post processing to tame. Had I remembered to expose a sheet of color negative film, I would have had better tonality and color.

Fuji Velvia 50 (8x10) | Unrecorded @ f/45 | Polarizer

Technically, this photo is spot on. The exposure is good, and the details are sharp. All that being said, I know I can do better.

Next year, I’ll get an earlier start, and shoot this location on color negative film. Hopefully that will give me the shot I’m after.

After taking this shot, I headed up stream to meet up with Shane. He was at Subway photographing a beautiful afternoon glow.

Last year, I photographed Subway on Kodak Ektar with my 8×10. I’m satisfied with the results, and felt no need to capture another shot.

Subway looked great this year. The pools were deep, and the glow was strong. We stuck around for an hour, which gave me an opportunity to record some underwater video with my waterproof video camera. Just after 2PM, we packed our gear and headed back down canyon.

It was well after sunset when we reached the trailhead.

When I dropped Shane off at his campsite, we spilled out of the truck on wobbly legs. I was beat, but it was great to have several shots under my belt — especially with the impending weather.

A pair of headlights pulled off the road behind us. It was Bob Ross — a friend I hiked to Subway last year. He watched as my chicken legs wobbled and I staggered from side to side.

“Hi Ben!” He said. “So are you up for hiking the Narrows tomorrow?”

Zion 2011: Day 2

November 26, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

It was well before sunrise when my alarm sounded.

Yesterday’s scouting trip laid the groundwork for today’s mission. It is a simple plan really — all Shane and I have to do is retrace our steps from yesterday, but an hour earlier. Two shots await us in the Virgin Narrows.

I put on my dry pants, laced my boots, and we hit the road.

Let’s be clear about something here. Hiking up a river at night is not something I recommend. Though the Virgin River was flowing at very safe level, it is difficult to judge the current, and the depth of the water by headlamp alone.

With the knowledge gleaned from Day 1, I felt comfortable starting this hike well before sunrise. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have attempted it.

I wasn’t looking forward to the deep stretch of water that stood between us and our early morning shooting location. It is difficult enough to juggle a 75lbs pack while wading in nearly chest deep water. Doing so in the dark makes it all the more challenging.

The deep stretch must be crossed along a narrow, submerged sandbar. The edge of the sand bar is precarious at best. It has a tendency to crumble, sending the unfortunate hiker into deeper water.

We approached the deep section, and stowed each others hiking poles. A sure footing was guaranteed so long as you follow the narrow sandbar.

I took off my backpack, resting its full weight on my knee. I was standing in shin deep water along the right wall.

I lowered my head, and hoisted the pack onto my shoulders. The weight shifted, and I took a step forward to compensate. The backpack snagged my headlamp, sheering it from my head. It dangled precariously. Without the headlamp, I couldn’t see.

I shifted my weight, and caught the headlamp with my right hand just as it broke free. Pain surged through my left shoulder as I strained to control the momentum of the pack with my left arm.

I regained control, and put on the headlamp. Finally able to see, I made my way across the deep section of water.

I nicknamed this stretch “Zion’s Alarm Clock.” The water level was slightly higher than my drypants — leading to occasional busts of vivid awareness.

We made our way upstream until we reached our first shooting location. Our timing was perfect. It was an hour before peak light on the first glow.

With no dry ground in the immediate vicinity, I stowed my gear downstream on a rocky riverbank. I assembled my camera, and ported it some 50 yards to the shooting location.

In this magnificent stretch of the narrows, the river is only 30 feet wide, and flows wall-to-wall. A beautiful orange glow skims across the chiseled canyon walls, resulting in a mysterious sort of light — unlike any glow I’ve ever photographed. When combined with the green hue of the river, the scene has a tranquil, subterranean vibe.

I used a polarizing filter to help control the reflections on the surface of the water. I held it to my eye, turned it until the surface reflections disappeared, then backed it off a tad. It’s important to leave a bit of glare to give the water more dimension on film. I noted the number on top of the filter, screwed it to my lens, and properly aligned it. It would have been impossible to judge the effectiveness of the polarizer while viewing the dim ground glass.

The best glow was only 20 minutes away — I began metering the scene.

Two years ago — almost to the day, I attempted to take this exact shot. It was my first time in Zion with the 8×10, and I was unfamiliar with the many technical aspects of large format. My composition was solid, but the photo was horribly soft.

I learn best by making my own mistakes. Seeing those soft, poorly exposed transparencies taught me an important lesson. At $20 a click, I’m a fast learner.

I chose color negative film to shoot this photo. Known for it’s ability to show detail with high contrast scenes, color negative film also provides a nostalgic feel — which I’m learning to embrace in my landscape photography.

The first exposure was on Kodak Ektar 100. I left the shutter open for 11 minutes at f/45. This exposure time compensated both for the polarizer, and reciprocity failure.

Upon replacing the dark slide, I realized the back of my camera was loose. The film holder and ground glass are held in place by two metal sliders. When properly secured, the fit is snug. Otherwise, the film holder can move, and light can potentially enter the camera. This is a VERY bad thing.

I immediately recognized my error, and used a second film holder with a sheet of Kodak Portra 160VC. This film is more sensitive to light, which allows a faster shutter speed. I snugged up the metal clips, re-cocked the shutter, and took a second photo. This time, it was 7 minutes @ f/45.

The first shot suffered from technical issues from the unsecured camera back. Luckily, the second shot turned out great.

This shot was 2 years in the making.  My ability to properly capture this scene is a testament to my personal development as a large format shooter.

Keep in mind that this is just a quick flatbed scan of the film. Other than a bit of dodging and burning, I haven’t done much in Photoshop.

Portra 160VC 8x10 | 7min @ f/45 | Polarizer | Nikkor 150mm SW

With the first shot under my belt, I moved to my second location.

I debated between a horizontal and a vertical composition. Though I prefer to shoot horizontal as much as possible, a vertical composition placed emphasis on the beautiful glow.

At this location, the Virgin River zig-zags down a long stretch of canyon. Direct light strikes the right wall, illuminating this grand corridor in a spectacular glow.

The shooting window ends abruptly when direct light spills into view.

I selected my normal lens (300mm) and used a polarizer to control excessive glare in the foreground.

I began by taking two bracketed exposures on Velvia 50. In such contrasty conditions, I’d rather be safe than sorry. I followed up with a single exposure on Kodak Ektar 100 color negative film. I’ve used Ektar in slot canyons before, and knew it would give good color and tonality.

Despite my initial fears of overexposure, the Velvia 50 and Ektar 100 shots showed proper exposure.

My preference between the two shots is the one on Ektar. Color negative film better handles the extreme contrast — providing detail in both the shadows and the highlights. For this web presentation, I intentionally kept the shadows dark to restore a sense of depth. The original negative is full of tonality.

Grand Corridor | Kodak Ektar 100 (8x10) | 50sec @ f/45 | Polarizer

Just after taking my final shot, a beam of direct sunlight appeared on the right wall. My timing was perfect.

Moments later, a gust of wind surged through the canyon and the beautiful light evaporated before my eyes.

High overhead, I watched as a band of high clouds sailed past. That certainly explained the gust of wind. These clouds are the angel of death for reflected light. They bounce light down into the canyon, easily overpowering wonderful glows — even if the sun itself isn’t obstructed.

The canyon came alive as another gust surged through the canyon. Fall leaves rained down like confetti, and long delicate webs of spider silk floated gently in the breeze.

Today was a success. Two shots in one day? That’s almost unheard of. With my bag fully packed, I lifted it onto my knee. In one swift motion, I hosited it onto my back. A sharp pain radiated from my left shoulder. The struggle with my headlamp that morning had a painful consequence.

Zion 2011: Day 1

November 19, 2011

Five. That’s the number of photos I captured last year on my trip to Zion National Park. With my style of shooting, five photos from one trip is almost unheard of. This year to date, I only have 2 portfolio grade shots from two separate trips.

How’d I manage 5 photos? Simple, it took planning. I scouted the park with several shots in mind, determined the best time to shoot them, then systematically tackled these shots one by one.

This year at Zion was certainly a magical experience. I was treated to some very unique conditions, and enjoyed the company of several great photographers along the way.

This is the Story of my trip to Zion National Park during the Fall of 2011.

Monday, October 31, 2011

My alarm sounded early. and I found myself in one of my favorite places on Earth — Zion National Park. It was no coincidence that I chose October 31st for my first full day in Zion. This is the first day that cars are allowed in the canyon. Though the shuttle system is quite effective, it is not well suited for break of dawn starts.

On my first day, I was joined by a fellow large format photographer: Shane Dignum. You might remember the Day 9 video of my wildly unsuccessful trip to the Colorado Plateau last June. In that video, I was shooting two 8×10 cameras at the same time — well, now you know where the other camera came from.

It was a chance meeting between us last June, but we joined forces on this trip to capture the best possible images on big film.

Our plan today was to scout the Narrows, figure out the best time for several shots in particular, then return in the coming days to take the shots. Just in case we were in the right place at the right time, I elected to bring my full 8×10 setup. I don’t often do this. Without a specific shot planned, I am essentially hiking with 75lbs of deadweight on my back.

Even so, it was exciting to load my pack, put on my dry pants, and lace up my boots. This was day one, and I was elated to be in Zion during peak fall color.

We were — of course — the first in the parking lot that morning. Guided by the light of our headlamps, we walked one mile to the edge of the river. It’s a very scenic hike along the cement path during daylight. With an hour remaining until sunrise, the silhouetted cliffs looming thousands of feet overhead created a somewhat unsettled feeling.

Last December, Zion received record rainfall. An unrelenting band of storms surged over this region, resulting in massive flooding. On average this time of year, the Virgin river flows at 65 to 75 cubic feet per second. This is a nice safe level. With frequent river crossings, the hike becomes hazardous above 120 cubic feet per second. At this flow rate, the National Park Service closes the narrows. Keep that number in mind — 120 cubic feet per second.

The unusually high rain fall last December caused the virgin river to swell to 9000 cubic feet per second. This forced the NPS to close Zion for fear of damage to the infrastructure. There was also fear of a dam failure just south of Springdale, and much of Rockville was evacuated.

Many questions loomed in my mind that morning. What exactly does 9000 cubic feet per second do to the course of the river within the narrows? Will the trees be affected? What will the sand levels be in the river this year? These are all important questions — not just for photography, but for safe travel up the narrows.

This was my third annual trip to Zion. Having spent many weeks in the Narrows I can easially draw a map of each bend, recite the best places to cross the river, and know what parts of the river should be avoided.

We made our way to the end of the paved path. A thin veil of high clouds was lightly illuminated by the first signs of dawn. The canyon was dark, but I knew morning was near.

Last year, there was a lot of sand within the narrows — likely a result of flash flooding in the months before my visit. The usual deep spots were only shin deep, and it was nice to be able to walk over long stretches of sand — as opposed to slippery bowling ball sized rocks.

How would the narrows be affected by last year’s flood?

I set foot in the water, and made my way across the first river crossing. The water was only 6 inches deep here. After a dozen steps, water finally entered my boots.

I wear neoprene socks to keep my feet warm, and Kokatat drypants to keep my legs dry. Under the Kokatats, I wear fleece thermals to keep my legs warm. This is especially important when kneeling in the water for extended periods of time. The moment you stop moving, the cold sets in.

In years past, I’ve moved some rocks within the river to provide a more appealing foreground. Dipping my hands in the water just long enough to move a rock left my hands numb and painful. With the drypants, fleece thermals, and neoprene socks — the cold tinge of the water was now quite refreshing.

Just a little ways up canyon, we encountered our first potential obstacle. At this gentle left turn, the canyon narrows, and the river flows from wall to wall. In years past, this area has been as much as waist deep. Last year, it was only up to my knees. What impact did last years flooding have on this stretch?

We proceeded with caution, slowly feeling our way through. A diagonal path from the outer edge to the inner bend often provides the best route. I watched as Shane’s pack got lower and lower — now just an inch above the water level. He was only a quarter of the way across the river.

This wasn’t going to work. My lenses were stored in the bottom of my bag — The padded case they’re stored in is too large for my biggest dry bag. The only way past this stretch would be to port our bags overhead.

With a 75lbs bag, this is easier said than done. It’s not necessarily the weight of the pack that’s the problem — it’s the awkward bulk. After struggling a bit, I found it was best to lower my head, and carry it across my shoulders. With one hand firmly grasping the handle, and the other holding the bottom of the pack, I slowly made my way across the river.

I hiked my drypants as high as they would go (à la Steve Urkle), and managed to stay dry despite the water level rising well above waist level.

By now, a headlamp was no longer necessary. The canyon was filled with a soft, welcoming light. I took a moment to soak in the scenery.

We made our way up river — and I pointed out several of my favorite locations along the way. Though still several days from peak color, it was exciting to see that most of the trees within the canyon survived the flood. There were some casualties along the way, but nothing that spoiled the overall charm of each location.

Our goal was to reach wall street — a narrow section of the canyon with stone walls that tower hundreds of feet overhead. Two years ago — on my first trip to Zion with the 8×10, I shot a photo in this stretch of canyon. The composition was solid, but the photo suffered from technical issues. I hoped to capture that shot once more — this time on color negative film.

The light was ideal when we arrived at wall street. A glow deep within the canyon sent reflected light skirting amongst the sandstone outcroppings on the right wall. It was a magical sort of light — especially when combined with the wonderful texture of the submerged rocks at my feet.

I assembled my camera on dry ground, and ported it to the shooting location. With a specific composition in mind, I diligently went to work. I selected my wide angle lens, used a polarizer, and locked everything in place. Now, all I needed was to fetch a film holder, and —

I looked up, and noticed a shaft of direct light hitting the right wall, just within the upper bounds of my composition. The shot was gone.

There was only one thing to do — get an even earlier start tomorrow morning, and return to setup for the same shot. I now knew what time the light was best, and how long the glow lasted.

This is the reality of shooting large format in this situation. Within the dark confines of a slot canyon, it is very difficult to even see the ground glass. This makes it difficult to find a composition, let alone shoot a fast moving glow. The only solution is to properly scout your shot, know when the light is best, then get there well ahead of time.

Oh, and did I mention the half naked Austrians in cowboy hats? No? That part of the story must have slipped my mind.

While setting up for the shot that didn’t happen, I heard a voice behind me. These were the first voices we heard in the canyon that morning. Who else could be crazy enough to get such an early start in the Narrows?

I turned my head, and saw two men in their mid 20’s — wearing nothing but t-shirts, boxers, and cowboy hats. They had their boxers hiked up in a thong configuration to avoid getting them wet. I was dangerously close to seeing their Austrian junk.

“Where are you guys from?” I asked.

“Austria,” they replied.

“That’s….”  I wasn’t sure of the proper response.  “That’s cool.”

“The scenery here is amazing!” commented one of the half naked Austrian cowboys.

“Yes. It’s certainly unique.” I replied — wondering how on earth they made it that far up the narrows.

They took a few snapshots, then headed back down stream.

We spent the rest of the day scouting the canyon, and found 3 other potential shots — all of which depended on clear skies. We made plans for an even earlier start the next morning. I was excited at the prospect of taking my first shot of the trip on Day 2 in Zion National Park.

I suppose there is no mystery…

November 14, 2011

…about where I spent the last week and a half. I met a lot of great people along the way, and — wait for it — I actually took some photos. It’s a novel idea really — a photographer that actually takes photos.

In any case, here’s a teaser video with some of my most/least favorite moments of this trip. You’ll be hearing a lot from me in the coming weeks.