100 Days of National Parks: Day 46 – Living on the Edge, Grand Canyon National Park

Living on the Edge


Living on the Edge
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One of the unique challenges of photographing the Grand Canyon in northern Arizona is finding a way to capture more than the macro impression of the Park, the wide vistas, the depth and breadth of this massive chasm.  As someone who loves landscapes, and particularly panoramas, I can say there are few places that lend themselves more readily to focusing on the big picture.  What I find makes the most interesting shots, however, is often using the canyon as a backdrop, rather than the focus, of a shot.

After I’ve taken my share of panoramas and wide angle shots of the canyon as a whole, I often find myself looking for smaller subjects, particular outcroppings or formations that stand out uniquely amidst the vast landscape surrounding it.  This shot is an example of these searches, as I noticed this tree on one outcropping and loved the solitary nature of it, the way it was clinging to life alone in a small crack on an isolated outcropping, clinging to life on the edge of a thousand foot drop.

I love the way the tree and rock stand out against the deeper background of a massive rift in the canyon floor, how the impressive breadth of the Grand Canyon serves merely as texture for a seemingly insignificant detail along its rim.  It’s emblematic of the great challenge I find in shooting this particular park, especially from the rim, where it’s so easy to get lost in the grandeur.  It’s a challenge I enjoy, and take a great deal of pride in successfully tackling.


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