Thursday, October 8, 2009

Waiting for the Sun and Two for One

"Waiting for the Sun" - Grand Canyon, AZ
This particular day started out lucky; pulling up to the Desert View entrance ranger post and reaching for my ATM card, I was informed that it was a national park "Free Admission Day", so "Thank you, sir" and off to a good start.
After spending the day just wandering around and shooting a few different locations (a couple I've already posted), I decided to head over to the main Canyon Village for a break and an early dinner, leaving plenty of time to find a good location for sunset. My preferred spot was going to be Yaki Point, but the road into there was closed for some reason; if I had been able to scout a likely shot earlier in the day I would probably have hiked it, but without that very specific plan I wasn't willing to spend the time and effort; I settled for searching out this promising little outcropping not far from the main road. The afternoon had developed quite a bit of cloud cover, but it tends to break up as the sun goes down and there was already a pretty steady opening down near the western horizon which was obviously going to light up at some point, so with nearly two hours until sunset, I had plenty of time to line up a shot and settle in on the edge wearing my sweatshirt (after 100° days previously on the trip) and ponder the immense beauty of the canyon.
The key thing with nature photography sometimes just boils down to patience.. you can make do with what nature offers you at any given time, or you can try to anticipate a much better situation that will turn the ordinary into the extraordinary. Here, I had the time to wait... and the reasonable expectation of something worth waiting for, so I determined to stick it out no matter what.
The "2 for 1" part of the story is that I was able to set up two different and distinct shots from the very same tripod position, just 180° apart. This one, directly at the setting sun, the other back towards the east catching the (hopefully) sunlit canyon walls under a stormy sky.. I'll cover that one next week. A very high contrast situation, so 3 bracketed RAW exposures were necessary to capture the entire range, blended together and then processed as normal from there.
Be sure to check out more interesting skys from all over the world at the Skywatch home page.
You only get one sunrise and one sunset a day, and you only get so many days on the planet. A good photographer does the math and doesn't waste either.
- Galen Rowell

24 comments:

Gaelyn said...

This is a great shot. Love the sunset colors showing on the foreground rocks. I usually have the best luck looking east at the canyon for sunset. I was probably right across the way.

VALKYRIEN said...

What a dramatic landscape and a stunning photo! The best I have seen this evening!

Photo Cache said...

It's a sight that no one can ever get tired of.

Amy Lilley Designs said...

Just beautiful...the contrasting blues works so well w/ the strong, stately cliff...would make a gorgeous painting as well..

JaviZ said...

WOW! Your landscapes are simply great!!!! In this particular shot I really like the perspective, the super wide angle of your lens and those gorgeous colors!!!!

Warmly,
Javier

PS: thanks for your words @ my blog!

Light and Voices said...

I can always expect the BEST shot when I visit your blog. Nice job!
Joyce M

eileeninmd said...

It is a wonderful shot, I love the colors in the sunset and the Canyon looks great.

Carolyn Ford said...

Simply gorgeous...the Grand Canyon never disappoints. I, also, really like the reflected color on the foreground rocks!

Lene said...

Breathtaking and really amazing nature! Well captured!

Lew said...

Beautiful shot! The sun setting under the clouds makes for some spectacular skies.

storybeader said...

that is a very long skyline, and worth waiting for! Love the composition of the trees at different levels. My eye caught that red crack (line?) on the bottom right, at 5:30...

Gary Heller said...

The subtle colors reflected off the rocks are a real treat. Nicely captured and worked.

moe lauher said...

I love the composition - the way the outcropping lines up with the horizon -- and also the random red line.

Regina said...

Breathtaking!

Carolyn Ford said...

I am visiting the Grand Canyon in mid November! I so look forward to returning there. This is a breath-taking photo...beautiful capture.

Elisabeth said...

Fabulous!

Arija said...

Great light in your ohoto, I love how the pink paints the rocks.

kyungmee said...

Yes, really great shot! And not only two for one..but three:) The decision to go to the park on that day!! Thank you!

Michelle (artscapes) said...

I haven't had much time to comment lately, but this one I just had to. Completely stunning....

earthtoholly.com said...

Gorgeous shot, as usual, Mark. I went back through our GC photos as this location looked familiar...different place, I think. Your pics really make me want to revisit the west!

The Retired One said...

Just stunning!

Kcalpesh said...

Superb vibrant colors and great composition! This must have been a really beautiful evening for sure!


- Pixellicious Photos

Mama Shujaa said...

Wonderful! I found you through EC. Lovely shot, amazingly inspiring.

Poetic Shutterbug said...

Your landscapes are always breathtaking and this one is right up at the top. The tree give's it a unique feel as well. The colors, spectacular.