A Big Hole in The Ground

By Mark

The story of our trip through the Great Southwest was sidetracked for a couple of weeks to talk about color management.

When last we were on the road, we were headed for the Grand Canyon. Shooting the canyon can be a challenge.The scale is so vast, that the viewer doesn't really have a chance to make any relative comparisons.When you enter the park from the Eastern Entrance, you stop at the first lookout point to see this majestic scene. 

Eastern Tower

Eastern Tower

Blow up of the Rapids

Blow up of the Rapids

At this point the canyon is over 9 miles wide and the bottom of the canyon where you can see those rapids is more than 5 miles away.  The resolution on the D800 is so incredible that you can see rafts waiting alongside the bank, which I can assure you, were not visible to our naked eyes.

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For much of the day, the direct overhead light just washes out much of the details for a photographer.  So sunrise and sunset are the peak viewing times, or so it would seem.  Actually, it is the hours just before and after those traditional “golden hours” that make the most interesting pictures here.

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When the sun gets too low, it takes all the colors with it.  What you want are the long shadows and rich warm light as it moves down the mesas and buttes inside the canyon.

The hour before sunset

The hour before sunset

We did get to take a helicopter ride across the canyon to the North Rim.  The afternoon flights were dicey because they were experiencing really high winds with strong gusts—not the optimal conditions for small helos.  When you transition from the canyon’s edge over the Colorado River, you go from 500 ft above ground to over a mile.  It’s a long ways down.

Long ways straight down

Long ways straight down

We hiked along the rim for a couple of miles.  The South Rim is about 7000 feet above sea level, and the altitude is noticeable.  We were glad to see lots of people hiking, but a little sad in that most of them were foreign visitors.  Few Americans seemed to want to walk that far.

Framing adds perspective

Framing adds perspective

The Hopi house is a reconstruction of a typical native dwelling, now selling expensive, but authentic jewelry.

 

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This was Sarah’s first visit to the canyon and really was her goal for the trip.  I’m happy to say that she was not disappointed, nor was she sad that we didn't get the chance to ride the burro’s all the way to the bottom.