Zion National Park

Day One Hundred and Fifty One. And Day 8 of our Epic Cross Country Road Trip! We got extremely lucky in Monument Valley with the epic cloud cover. Then, we got lucky in Antelope Canyon with not a cloud in the sky to prevent even a single photon of light from making it into the canyon to bounce off the walls. Then, we got to Zion and our luck ran out. There's not a whole lot worse to a landscape photographer than a flat blue sky. We went on a hike that was fun, but not visually stunning. I took a metric boatload of pictures, trying desperately to find a subject so compelling that it completely made up for the lack of dramatic cloud cover. I failed. I edited, re-edited, edited again, and finally deleted most of them. Zion is such a beautiful place, I'm extremely disappointed with what I captured here ... and I haven't even gotten to the stupid part of the story yet. After the hike, we went and grabbed a late lunch, then meandered for a bit, waiting for the sun to approach the horizon before heading to Canyon Junction Bridge. If you've only seen one picture from Zion, it was taken at sunset from Canyon Junction Bridge. We got there early, knowing it was going to be crowded. I planted my tripod in what my moderately professional opinion was the best spot and proceeded to not move the next two hours. Over the course of those two hours, I took far more 9-stop HDR exposures than I'm currently willing to admit, so you're just going to have to excuse the last 8 images in the set for being a study, while being happy I didn't post all of them. I was really wishing I'd had two cameras here. It would have been amazing to shoot a time-lapse of the moon rising during sunset. That aside, when you're shooting a mountain range at sunset, the goal is the elusive red glow. That happens at the very last moment of a day. If the sun goes behind a cloud bank before disappearing over the horizon, you won't get it. But, if the sun does go behind a cloud bank, that doesn't mean the cloud bank won't end before the critical moment. Don't give up. The last three images were taken after over half of the photographers (of which there were probably 50 or so of us packed onto that bridge) had given up and left. The red glow they were chasing came, but only after they'd lost hope. Sometimes the sun won't come back out, but sometimes it will. And, if you've given up already, you won't be there to see it.

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