Outdoor/Landscape Photography

Zion National Park-Through the Windows of my Car

Here I am,  Zion National Park in Southeastern, Utah.  One of the most popular parks in the nation.  It’s been pouring since I got here, with little glimmers of hope of sunshine doused by fast moving clouds that bring in more rain and lightning.

Yesterday started off alright, I headed up canyon as far as the shuttle takes you to the Riverside Walk.  Beyond that is no-mans land now…because of the constant rain, the Narrows, which is the main attraction that I wished to photograph, is closed due to flash flooding.  While the canyon itself is a majestic view, with sandstone cliffs rising thousands of feet above the canyon floor, there was no subject worth photographing in that light.  To really get a good view of the canyon, I would need to head up one of the trails, which was also not very wise considering the exposure up there to lightning and dangerously steep drop-offs on the slickrock trails.

After it was apparent that the rain would not cease, I decided to head back to my campsite to wait it out and see if it would clear.  Obviously it did not, and I was stuck lying down in my Jeep.  I figured I would try out cooking some of my instant rice when the rain stopped for a bit, next thing I know once the water started boiling the rain started again and there I was huddled in front of my propane grill covering it with an umbrella.  I looked around at the other campsites around…all of them RV’s, I noticed the one RV next to me.  I could see through the window they were watching Judge Judy or some other courtroom TV garbage, and I almost envied them.  I’m not much of a camper, but I think the reason people do it is to get away from the normalcies of their life and experience nature first hand.

It’s been kind of a let down so far, but that may be due to uncontrollable circumstances.  If it were not for the weather, I would probably be out hiking on trails and finding cool subjects to photograph, but instead I’m huddled in the back of my Jeep, typing on my computer (with Wi-Fi, by the way!), surrounded by other Pseudo-campers.  I guess I should be happy that my trip has been rain-free up until now.

Well that was yesterday, and today is a new day!  Right?  Wrong…same $#*@ different day.  After a hellish night of trying to sleep through rain tapping on the roof of the car and the constant aches from sleeping on the stiff trunk floor, waking up every hour and failing to fall back asleep, the rain wasn’t going anywhere.  I decided this morning to head up to Kolob Canyons in the northwestern region of the park that attracts only a minute fraction of the thousands of yearly visitors to this park.  After about a forty minute drive I arrived to the same crappy weather.  It was only a five mile scenic drive to the end where there was an overlook.  I made it the parking lot of the overlook driving through Kolob Canyon and large sandstone monoliths that would look amazing in late afternoon sun, if there was a sun anymore.  I headed up the half mile trail for no other reason than to see if I could muster a decent shot out of the conditions.  About half way I saw in the distance a flash of lightning.  While it startled me, I had felt a sense of safety in that it was pretty far away and I thought the clouds were heading in the other direction.  I walked a bit farther up the trail and set up my tripod hoping to get a shot of one of the sandstone monoliths with some lightning in the background.  By the time I set up and got a shot off, the storm clouds were right over head and I started to panic.  I took one more shot and headed back towards the car, running as fast as I could through the sloppy trail.  I was in no mood to be struck by lightning for a poorly composed photograph.  After I made it back to the trailhead, the clouds had moved past, but there were rain clouds heading through the canyon which looked kind of mystical in a way.  I took a few shots and left, hopefully something useable came out of the experience.

That brings us until now.  Back in the campground, with my newly found Wi-Fi signal.  I feel as though this might have come in handy yesterday, but I am also relieved that I had one true day of being out of touch, to a degree.  I had ideas of the loneliness of this trip from the start.  I wasn’t going to see a familiar face for five weeks, no distractions from home, just me, my camera and nature.  Well I was surely mistaken.  While it may be by my own doing,  I have been easily connected to the internet every where I have stayed…been able to keep my blog updated daily, been able to talk to people on facebook.  There’s no sense of being “out there” when you’re out here.

Oh well, enough rambling.  Can’t wait for tomorrow…Bryce Canyon, hopefully no rain, tons of stuff to photograph there.

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