Photographing Zion 2018 Day Four - The Narrows Video and Journal
It is all very beautiful and magical here---a quality which cannot be described. You have to live it and breathe it, let the sun bake it into you. The skies and land are so enormous, and the detail so precise and exquisite that wherever you are you are isolated in a glowing world between the macro and the micro, where everything is sidewise under you and over you, and the clocks stopped long ago. ~ Ansel Adams
We were really looking forward to this outing. From the photographs we saw and research that we did it was clear that it was a special place in the world. We picked the day as the forecast was for clear skies which is necessary to get the fabled reflected light on the canyon walls. We caught the first shuttle to do our best to beat the crowds which unfortunately are also fabled with tales of thousands in the canyon at a time. We were happy that there were only a dozen or so other folks with us on that first shuttle giving us hope to at least enjoy the hike up the canyon with just a few fellow explorers around.
So outfitted with our dry pants (kayak pants), neoprene socks, canyoneering boots, gaiters, hiking poles and plenty of layers to be comfortable throughout the day we began the hike. After a mile or so the path ends at the river where it is time to get wet. The Narrows is essentially a large slot canyon with the walls coming right down to the Virgin River so there is no way to explore the canyon without doing most of the hike through the river. Anyone who has waded in a river will know that a river bed is a variety of surfaces from sand to slippery round river rocks so the six or so miles we hiked took a little extra effort and time.
There is really no way to describe the wonder I was feeling. This place is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen, unfolding with each bend of the canyon as we made our way. At first the sky was overcast but soon cleared which started the show with the reflected light doing its magic on the canyon walls. The red canyon walls rising out of the turquise colored Virgin river was unbelievably beautiful. I would highly recommend this trip to anyone with the caveat that the fall season towards winter is probably the best time to go. The spring water is too high and fast, the summer too crowded and hot. The trees were just starting to turn in the main canyon as opposed to the higher elevations that we had been exploring which as you have seen from my photographs were in peak color.
I made four images. For each I had my tripod set up in the river making sure it was firmly planted. I did have to work around the other people that were in the canyon. Early on everyone was very courteous asking if it was ok if they walked by while I was still setting up. A few of the images were on the way back out and for the last, Two More, I had to wait 25 minutes for there not to be anyone in the frame. When the window came it was probably 5 - 6 seconds. The exposure was probably a second so time to spare!
I hope you'll watch the video as the footage, even though it's a bit shaky at times, speaks volumes in a way I can't convey with words the beauty we experienced.
As I write this we are preparing to leave for Death Valley so I hope to share some of its beauty with you early next year.
Thank you for spending a little time to share in this journey with us.
To view high res images, click here.
Wonderful photography of the Canyon…the yellow cottonwoods contrasting with the stone walls are striking. I guess what I took to be ice along some of the stone faces might have been just glistening water streaming down…or not?
Thank you Peter, I’m glad you enjoy the video and images. The glistening on the canyon walls was moisture that weeps out of the rock lower on the canyon walls. The water begins on top of the mesa and seeps into the soil to eventually be forced out of the walls by gravity and pressure. Cool phenomena and beautiful to see.