[All photos are linked to galleries -- when you've read the words, use links to go see more]
I'd never been to Arizona. Didn't even realize the Grand Canyon was in Arizona (not four-corners?) and for that bit of geographical ignorance I should be ashamed. But this was it -- my year to conquer my fear-of-Phoenix and hit the road with a few photo-cohorts on a week-long adventure on the long roads to some of the many canyons of Utah, via Arizona highways. (Apologies to my friends and acquaintances who I didn't get to see while I was in the neighborhood. Next Time!!)
The trip was the brain-child of Don Giannatti, a photography teacher I'd heretofore known as an online guru and generous mentor who currently specializes in helping photographers 'professionalize', especially but not limited to commercial/product photography. His classes appear on Udemy and Creative Live, and you can find him on youtube, facebook, etc., or ask me if you want to know more ...
The road going north from Phoenix to Utah was clear, allowing the beautiful Vermillion Cliffs to shine against a deep blue sky, but both Bryce and Zion were snowy, and the roads a little bit slick.
I believe we were all a bit concerned about weather. The roads. Getting stranded. Not being able to get in to the National Parks. Etc. But it all worked out, albeit with snow, from a dusting to feet-deep.
This photo shows how deep the snow was a Bryce. That's a guard-rail that is almost covered. Not an arty shot. But isn't it pretty, how the snow layers the hoodoos like a giant wedding cake?
Bryce was our second stop where it was snowy (and cold). Our first was Zion National Park. Our timing was pretty darn perfect for a sunset shot. This river valley was shot from a bridge lined with people who came to take pictures--and apparently this is THE spot for photographers to flock. I picked a pretty good place to stand, and stood my ground while everyone milled around me seeking a vantage point. The energy was high and palpable. People with really nice cameras right next to phonographers. People who spoke languages I didn't understand, people who weren't dressed for the weather. Didn't matter. They were all there for one reason, with one wish. For the sun to shine it's light on that rock face and for a cloud to be present, lending interest to the sky. Here's what we got.
I would describe Zion as a miniature version of the Rocky Mountains. Not as tall, but craggy, and with roads so close to the rocks that they seem taller, more shear. The best part, however, is the way light plays among the mountains, tossing reflections and shadows that illuminate the natural wonder in a variety of ways over the course of a day. Extreme fun for light-chasing photographers.
At it's lowest point, Zion Canyon offers hikers a neat place to park, begin a hike, or eat a picnic lunch. For me, it was a perfect place to play with the low light of afternoon and give my cold (yes, illness) a nap, while the rest of my party hiked to higher ground.
The snow was most impressive at Bryce Canyon, as previously stated, as was the cold, which was in the single digits for a bit. This is not what one expects when traveling to the desert from the midwest (where I'd already had my share of snow this year). But I was prepared, until I stepped off a path into a spot that swallowed my entire left leg. Fortunately, nowhere near the edge.
This photo gives you the idea of how deep and beautiful the snow was as it drifted among the hoodoos.
And then there was the Grand Canyon. What an appropriate name. There is only one word for it -- vast. Well, maybe very vast. Extremely vast. You get me.
I'm just putting one image here. As I said, all of these images are linked to galleries. Click on one and it will take you there.
The last stop I'll show you is one of those places I never expected to be -- Antelope Slot Canyon. Our guide explained that the photos with light shafts coming down are all taken by professional photographers who have paid to be onsite specifically at the time--but we had some overhead light and it was still very cool.
Thanks for stopping by and taking a look. You can click on your faves in the galleries (look for heart outlines), so I'll know you've been here. I love sharing with you almost as much as I love taking photographs. Almost. (Seriously, there is a special one-minded-ness about shooting the photographs that gets me.)
So, go see for yourself. Blessings. Deni