100 Days of National Parks: Day 61 – Morning Beneath the Patriarchs, Zion National Park

Morning beneath the Patriarchs

One of the benefits in becoming as familiar with Zion National Park as I have become over the past half decade is the fact that I can go to the park and not feel the need to constantly chase new sights or places I haven’t seen. On my last real trip to the park in November of 2014, I spent two weeks hiking familiar and unfamiliar trails and generally wandering the park freely, as the winter chill had emptied the park of most of its crowds, allowing me the peace of exploring at my own pace in my own manner.

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Morning Beneath the Patriarchs

 

Morning beneath the Patriarchs
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One of the benefits in becoming as familiar with Zion National Park as I have become over the past half decade is the fact that I can go to the park and not feel the need to constantly chase new sights or places I haven’t seen.  On my last real trip to the park in November of 2014, I spent two weeks hiking familiar and unfamiliar trails and generally wandering the park freely, as the winter chill had emptied the park of most of its crowds, allowing me the peace of exploring at my own pace in my own manner.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 61 – Morning Beneath the Patriarchs, Zion National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 50 – Bighorns on Checkerboard Mesa, Zion National Park

Bighorns on Checkerboard Mesa

It’s the halfway point of my 100 Days of National Parks Photo Series, and I wanted to mark it by going back to the photo that in many ways marked the beginning of my love affair with Zion National Park, with landscape and nature photography, and with travel and exploration in general. This shot of a herd of bighorn sheep on the slopes of Checkerboard Mesa in Zion is the first photo I took in the park, and marked the point where I stopped shooting randomly as a tourist, and started to take photos with a purpose in mind.

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Bighorns on Checkerboard Mesa

Bighorns on Checkerboard Mesa
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It’s the halfway point of my 100 Days of National Parks Photo Series, and I wanted to mark it by going back to the photo that in many ways marked the beginning of my love affair with Zion National Park, with landscape and nature photography, and with travel and exploration in general.  This shot of a herd of bighorn sheep on the slopes of Checkerboard Mesa in Zion is the first photo I took in the park, and marked the point where I stopped shooting randomly as a tourist, and started to take photos with a purpose in mind.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 50 – Bighorns on Checkerboard Mesa, Zion National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 47 – Double Falls, Zion National Park

A few weeks back, someone asked me what my favorite place in Zion National Park was, and I froze, not sure how I should answer. How could I pick just one place in my favorite National Park, one example of the boundless examples of natural beauty around every corner, in every tucked-away canyon, up every seemingly unremarkable streambed. When I finally answered, I offered up the Right Fork of North Creek, which seemed to catch them off guard.

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Double Falls

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A few weeks back, someone asked me what my favorite place in Zion National Park was, and I froze, not sure how I should answer.  How could I pick just one place in my favorite National Park, one example of the boundless examples of natural beauty around every corner, in every tucked-away canyon, up every seemingly unremarkable streambed.  When I finally answered, I offered up the Right Fork of North Creek, which seemed to catch them off guard.   Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 47 – Double Falls, Zion National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 37 – Cable Mountain, Zion National Park

Atop Cable Mountain

There’s something about climbing to the top of a mountain or ridgeline and looking out across the landscape laid out below that always appeals to me. I think it’s the sense of perspective, literal and figurative, that I get on the world and the places I travel. There’s no place I like to do this more than along the rims of Zion National Park.

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Cable Mountain

Atop Cable Mountain
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There’s something about climbing to the top of a mountain or ridgeline and looking out across the landscape laid out below that always appeals to me.  I think it’s the sense of perspective, literal and figurative, that I get on the world and the places I travel.  There’s no place I like to do this more than along the rims of Zion National Park.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 37 – Cable Mountain, Zion National Park”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 25 – Emerald Pools Waterfall, Zion

Emerald Pools Waterfall

I took this photo of the waterfall pouring from the Middle Emerald Pools in Zion National Park during my second trip there in 2012, in the midst of my first thunderstorm in the park. In what became a lasting memory, I walked the trails in the mist and rain, sheltering my camera from the wet as best I could, marveling at the way the entire park seemed to burst into a dozen spectacular waterfalls, all pouring forth from seemingly dry fissures in the sandstone walls.

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Emerald Pools Waterfall

Emerald Pools Waterfall
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I took this photo of the waterfall pouring from the Middle Emerald Pools in Zion National Park during my second trip there in 2012, in the midst of my first thunderstorm in the park.  In what became a lasting memory, I walked the trails in the mist and rain, sheltering my camera from the wet as best I could, marveling at the way the entire park seemed to burst into a dozen spectacular waterfalls, all pouring forth from seemingly dry fissures in the sandstone walls.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 25 – Emerald Pools Waterfall, Zion”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 23 – Scarlet Gilia, Zion

I find that it’s all to easy to get caught up in the big picture stuff, and bypass the small things that are often just as important. I find this nowhere more true than when hiking, and taking photos in a place like Zion National Park, where the expansive vistas and impressive rock formations often dominate the eye to such an extent, that you don’t notice the simple beauty of a late summer wildflower, or the vibrant life hiding behind shaded branches of a nearby juniper.

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Scarlet Gilia

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I find that it’s all to easy to get caught up in the big picture stuff, and bypass the small things that are often just as important.  I find this nowhere more true than when hiking, and taking photos in a place like Zion National Park, where the expansive vistas and impressive rock formations often dominate the eye to such an extent, that you don’t notice the simple beauty of a late summer wildflower, or the vibrant life hiding behind shaded branches of a nearby juniper.

Continue reading “100 Days of National Parks: Day 23 – Scarlet Gilia, Zion”

100 Days of National Parks: Day 16 – Light in the Storm, Zion National Park

Light in the Storm

After what’s been an unexpectedly rough and emotional week, I find nothing re-energizes me on a creative, emotional, and spiritual level than getting out and exploring. When work has me worn down, or my personal life seems to be falling to pieces, I find the simple act of getting out and wandering, finding beautiful moments and beautiful places to photograph, is often enough to clear my head and bring the peace of mind I’m craving.

In September of 2012, my wanderlust was in full swing. I’d started a new job, but had a week off each month to get out and explore, and the main target on my list was a return to Zion National Park. Still trying to find some piece of myself that I found lacking, trying to make myself whole after multiple failed relationships and personal losses, I set out for seven days in southern Utah that would wind up being transformative in my outlook and would further establish my profound love affair with Zion and the National Parks in general.

I’d been once before, seemingly in passing during a weekend road trip the year before, and associated much of the places in the Park with a relationship and people that I no longer wanted to be connected to. Instead of hiding from those associations, though, I faced them head-on, and made a concerted effort to establish new associations, new connections, that have proven more profound and real than any that may have existed before.

A few days into my week there, a massive storm rolled through, and I was privileged to witness one of the most spectacular scenes that everyone should have a chance to appreciate some day. Zion in the rain is a singular experience, one that transforms the park from a dramatic landscape to something otherworldly, seemingly created just for your eyes. As the crowds thin and the clouds obscure the pinnacles of the surrounding cliffs, waterfalls spring out of dry rock faces and life abounds, animals and plants bursting forward to revel in the surrounding wetness.

The morning of the storm, I woke early to take photos of the sunrise, and was treated to this amazing vision as the sunlight streamed through a small hole in the clouds on the East Rim of the park. The darkness of the storm seemed to part and let the light through, and I stood in awe of the scene, brief and fleeting though it was, and consider myself profoundly lucky to have been there to witness it.

It’s a true metaphor for the effect visiting these amazing places has on my life and my outlook on the world. No matter how dark things may seem, that darkness just makes it easier to appreciate the moments of light when they find their way through the holes and cracks in the storm.

Light in the Storm

Light in the Storm
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After what’s been an unexpectedly rough and emotional week, I find nothing re-energizes me on a creative, emotional, and spiritual level than getting out and exploring.  When work has me worn down, or my personal life seems to be falling to pieces, I find the simple act of getting out and wandering, finding beautiful moments and beautiful places to photograph, is often enough to clear my head and bring the peace of mind I’m craving.

In September of 2012, my wanderlust was in full swing.  I’d started a new job, but had a week off each month to get out and explore, and the main target on my list was a return to Zion National Park.  Still trying to find some piece of myself that I found lacking, trying to make myself whole after multiple failed relationships and personal losses, I set out for seven days in southern Utah that would wind up being transformative in my outlook and would further establish my profound love affair with Zion and the National Parks in general.

I’d been once before, seemingly in passing during a weekend road trip the year before, and associated much of the places in the Park with a relationship and people that I no longer wanted to be connected to.  Instead of hiding from those associations, though, I faced them head-on, and made a concerted effort to establish new associations, new connections, that have proven more profound and real than any that may have existed before.

A few days into my week there, a massive storm rolled through, and I was privileged to witness one of the most spectacular scenes that everyone should have a chance to appreciate some day.  Zion in the rain is a singular experience, one that transforms the park from a dramatic landscape to something otherworldly, seemingly created just for your eyes.  As the crowds thin and the clouds obscure the pinnacles of the surrounding cliffs, waterfalls spring out of dry rock faces and life abounds, animals and plants bursting forward to revel in the surrounding wetness.

The morning of the storm, I woke early to take photos of the sunrise, and was treated to this amazing vision as the sunlight streamed through a small hole in the clouds on the East Rim of the park.  The darkness of the storm seemed to part and let the light through, and I stood in awe of the scene, brief and fleeting though it was, and consider myself profoundly lucky to have been there to witness it.

It’s a true metaphor for the effect visiting these amazing places has on my life and my outlook on the world.  No matter how dark things may seem, that darkness just makes it easier to appreciate the moments of light when they find their way through the holes and cracks in the storm.