A final photograph for 2018, and a final one from my recent trip to Arizona and the Grand Canyon – a day long hike along the Bright Angel Trail led to this panorama of the Colorado River.
Standing on the edge of Plateau Point, nearly one thousand metres below the Grand Canyon South Rim, a drop of 1,300 feet beckons with another step forward…
Getting up when it’s still dark and – quite frankly – bloody freezing – is never easy. But we photographers know the rewards can be rich for making the effort.
Certainly I was hoping for a grand sunrise over the Grand Canyon when driving down the few miles from my Lodge to Navajo Point – the highest point on the South Rim – a whopping 2.275m above sea level!
The sky was still dark, crystal clear and only the stars shining brightly when I set out at quarter past six. The air chilly, I knew even the thickest of gloves wouldn’t be good enough to protect my hands of turning stiff and numb, when standing exposed to the wind, fiddling with camera settings and tripod.
I found my spot on the edge of a huge stone that extended a metre or so beyond the Canyon Wall of the Rim. I didn’t quite move to the edge… too afraid of stumbling!
It was to be the place for another nearly two hours…. at temperatures around minus 9 degrees initially (kindly dropping to more balmy minus five after sunrise)
As I took my first shots, going as wide as possible – 8mm – the sky looked simply fantastic. Hues of violet, red and orange…. beautiful!
Unfortunately, the “grand sunrise” never materialized. Slowly but steadily, the light got flatter, the colours washed out – it was to be an overcast day!
Well, thankfully I was early there to capture the beautiful scene before the actual sunrise, which resulted in the image accompanying this article. In truth, I couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful sunrise image of the Grand Canyon. It was well worth the early start and the freezing. Those moments, though – the raw nature, the scale of the landscape, the camera and yourself – there is something special about it.
In order to get maximum colour depth from a scene that had different light all over, I shot this is an HDR and used Lightroom in post for the HDR part.
Unsure what to expect, I planned only one full day in Monument Valley. Little did I know, indeed!
The overwhelming beauty, grace and magic of this landscape blew my mind – this stretch of planet Earth is something hard to describe in words, and certainly no photograph will ever do it justice. It’s got to be experienced by oneself!
Snow fell in the Valley the days before I arrived; covering parts of the red desert ground and the Mitten Buttes in deliciously fine white powder. Arctic temperatures… a result of the winter not making an exception for an area that only a few weeks ago was still piping hot as warning signs reminding hikers to take plenty of water on board during their travels.
Depending on what directions one looks, rock formations, size but also light and atmosphere changing dramatically. Snow covered peaks to one side; planet Mars-like landscapes the other way.
Photography-wise Monument Valley, but particularly The Mittens, present a riches of subjects to explore; so many different scenes want be captured – but nothing compares to the sunrise, when those first precious rays find their way over the massive stone walls, illuminating the valley in warm, golden light.
There’s this one world famous view everyone will have in some form or another; and if only in a Hollywood movie that gives the place its name: Forrest Gump Point. A particular delicious panoramic view with Route-63 leading right into it…. a place synonymous with selfie sticks these days.
I don’t own a selfie stick and wasn’t after the “money shot”. Rather, the setting sun, provided the perfect backdrop to create a powerful silhouette of the Mittens – the imagine I probably most love of all the ones I got during my time in Monument Valley.
Tamron 70-200mm G2
As I am over in Phoenix, Arizona right now, I took the chance to pay the local horse race track – Turf Paradise – a visit.
A compact race track, on the outskirts of Phoenix, I was greeted by a super relaxed, serene and friendly atmosphere. Sure, splendid sunshine always helps; nonetheless, this place has loads of charme: you’re close to the action, entry is free and fair food & drink prices make it wonderful day out.
There were only a few hundred or so people attending this mid-week race day. But as this is such a compact place, it didn’t feel lonely as it can be at bigger tracks on these type of days.
Having the big lens with me on the day, briefly some security guy came up and ask “are you with the media?” – otherwise no bother, and I could take some great images.
Tamron 70-200mm G2
The Devils Glen waterfall this afternoon – a truly breathtaking place in the Wicklow Mountains I didn’t know about until discovering it on Saturday in a magazine pullout of the Irish Times weekend edition.
So off I went today right away. An hours drive from Naas, Devils Glen is easily to reach, parking onsite and two excellent looped walks waiting to be explored. Easy enough terrain, nothing extreme.
Unfortunately it was an overcast day which means the light wasn’t quite as I would have liked it. Surely I’ll be back in autumn when it must be such a colourful place.
I got a 25 second long-exposure at the foot of the waterfall – a beautiful scene that may have been enhanced by some sun rays shining through the trees. It’s an image I quite like nonetheless.
Does this bridge look familiar? It certainly did to me the first time I saw the Ponte 25 de Abril… it appears to be strikingly similar to the world famous Golden Gate Bridge!
Well, as it turns out these two bridges have things in common: they are red in colour and belong to the category of the suspension bridges.
However, even though a taxi driver told me a tale of the same architect who constructed both bridges, the truth is Lisbon’s Ponte 25 de Abril has been built by the American Bridge Company – the same company that built the other massive bridge connecting the Bay Area: the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge.
That doesn’t make the Ponte 25 de Abril less imposing. As the longest suspension bridge in Europe this is quite an enormous construction, connecting Lisbon with Almada on the other side of the Tagus River.