Outdoor/Landscape Photography

Zion National Park

Today I made it to Zion National Park, and I was welcomed by an incoming thunderstorm.  It was rainy and overcast and I had looked at the forecast and noticed a two hour window in the afternoon it would be nice.  I decided I would head up Zion Canyon to see the area and get my bearings.  My first thoughts as the shuttle headed up the canyon was that it reminded me of Yosemite valley (from what I’ve seen in photographs at least.)  On either side of the canyon floor are sandstone walls soaring thousands of feet.  It truly is an amazing place to be, which is probably why the park is one of the most popular in the country.

I figured since it was overcast, it would be a nice time to head up to the Emerald Pools trail to see a few waterfalls.  Overcast lighting is great for photographing waterfalls and in the woods because its an even soft light.  As I headed up the trail towards the lower Pools, I could tell I was getting close because I could hear the powerful falls.  The first falls were quite magnificent, a set of three that the trail winds down behind.  You can really feel the force of the falls from underneath them, as well as getting soaked in the process.  Then I headed up the trail further to see the middle and upper pools.  When I got up above the lower falls I hit a snag in the trail.  Because it had been raining for a while, the trail which crosses what normally is a quite stream had become a rushing torrent so I just had to jump across the shortest part.

At this point it was not really raining, only a drizzle, so I headed further up the trail (I don’t really remember a middle Pools) to the upper Pools.  I noticed a waterfall cutting through the sandstone cliffs up ahead and I figured that would be the upper falls.  I decided even though it was raining that I would take out my camera and get a quick shot of the waterfall, which ended up being a pretty nice shot.

Upper Emerald Pools Falls

After getting the shot I wanted I went further up the trail, and noted that I didn’t see anyone else up there.  After getting closer I noticed the sky started to darken a bit so I began to freak out a bit.  I figured since I was not at the top of a mountain I’d be fine so I stayed.  Then I started to noticed a thundering roar, and that really got my heart rate pumping.  I was not about to get struck by lightning, then I realized that the noise I was hearing was just the power of the waterfall hitting the rocks below.  I tried to find a decent composition for a shot, but by now it was pouring again and being under the waterfall I had a steady spray coming at me.  There was no way I was going to keep the lens dry enough to make a decent shot, so I figured I’d call it a day and head back down.  I noted at the beginning that the trail was a loop, so I crossed the stream to the other side of the falls, once again soaking my boots and socks.  Once across I couldn’t for the life of me find a trail, or even foot prints other than my own.  I figured I’d just head back the way I came, again soaking myself even more.  So by now, my boots were soaked, my socks, my hat, my backpack, my tripod, my camera and my soul…all soaked.  Heading back down the trial I noticed across the canyon, the cliffs were starting to lighten…there must be a break in the clouds down the canyon, so I once again brought out the camera and took a few shots and I actually really liked the results.  The side lighting makes you wonder whats around the corner, and the reds of the cliff contrast well with the greens of the trees and the blues of the sky.

Across Zion Canyon

Anyways, thats pretty much all I got for today.  Hopefully the clouds will break tomorrow, but it doesn’t look good.  The forecast for the next few days calls for thunderstorms and rain…It’s a good thing that I decided to camp for the next two days to keep my costs down. It looks like I’m going to be sleeping in the car…Oh well.

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