Years ago I wrote in my profile somewhere, “Photography provides a way to capture time and then travel back there whenever you wish. Every time you look at a photo, it can transport you back to that moment, allowing you to relive and remember.”
Recently, I was browsing through some of my old photos and came across a series I took in 2004, back in my Canon days with the 10d. About a week after I retired from flying airplanes for Delta Air Lines, I struck out on a solo photo journey through part of the great American southwest. The main points of interest on my itenerary were those awesome national parks: The Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and Canyonlands.
I started very early at The Grand Canyon, and spent several hours roaming the rim and shooting the canyon. I was disappointed that the sunrise was obstructed by clouds, but was still able to view and stand in awe at this magnificent natural phenomenon. It’s hard to comprehend just how huge it really is … even standing there on the precipice. And thankfully, later in the morning the clouds allowed some sun light to shine through.
Then I headed for Monument Valley, and after getting a hotel in Kayenta, AZ, drove north to the park to try and catch it at sundown. On the way, I was treated to this stunning view of Agathla Peak, an eroded volcanic core rising 1,500 feet above the surrounding terrain and considered sacred by the local Navajo Indians.
… and some other miscellaneous (meaning I don’t know the name) formations, beautifully lit by the setting sun.
The next morning, after another very early start I was in Monument Valley before sunrise and caught this silhouette of the Mittens. I’d like to go at another time of year, or try a different spot to shoot from and add the sun into the image, like you see in many of the epic images that some photographers have captured here.
After sunup, I drove through the park enjoying the great red rock formations there, and that was when I spotted this hot air balloon just starting to lift off the ground. With no time to get closer, I stopped the car and jumped out to start a sequence of images as it majestically rose through the still morning air. With a huge rock formation right behind it, and the morning sun directly lighting the entire scene, I felt very fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time.
Another late afternoon arrival in Moab gave me enough time to get out to Grand View Point for the evening session. It has definitely earned its name because the views are stunning in several directions as you look over the incredible maze of canyons stretched out below.
Here, I found an example of just how harsh the environment is, and how difficult it is for plants to survive. This little pinion (I think) is twisted and shriveled, clinging to a crevice in the rocks.