On the very last evening of my trip around the American Southwest, we had the option of either returning to Page, Arizona or driving an extra hour to the Grand Canyon and being there for sunrise. Needless to say, we chose to make the trip to the Grand Canyon.
We arrived late at night, after midnight, and drove along the rim trying to scout a location where we'd be happiest shooting the next morning's sunrise. We endured freezing winds as best we could, but our plans got cut a little short as a storm rolled in directly over us bringing snow with it.
When we woke up that morning the storm we ended up driving only to Yavapai Point, a great vista, but frequently visited. When we arrived the canyon walls were covered in snow that had freshly fallen through the night. The heavy cloud cover prevented the sun from ever really penetrating, so we missed out on the sunrise we'd envisioned. The tradeoff was a canyon beautifully blanketed in snow.
I spent a bit more time than normal working with my Grand Canyon shots to get one to a state I've been happy with. The biggest issue is that with the heavy cloud cover coupled with the vast expanses of the Grand Canyon the light is heavily biased towards blue. The cool blue light does nothing for the natural colors of the canyon walls (in my opinion) so the difficulty was in dealing with that. All it really took was the addition of a warming filter, applied digitally to balance the colors out. I considered purchasing a new 85A warming filter prior to the trip and I realize now it would have been a good investment after all.
As a side note, almost immediately after returning from the trip I spotted a calendar with images of Galen Rowell's incredible photography. The image for that month was from this very perspective with a fresh dusting of snow and very similar light. I thought his image was outstanding and just a reminder how easy it is to make excuses when we're not happy with our images, while someone like Galen Rowell could always seem to see and capture the scene in an exceptional way.
Nikon D90 | Nikon 18-200VR@31mm | f/8 | 1/30s | ISO200 | Handheld
All text and images © Tyler Westcott, All rights reserved, Unless otherwise noted.