There are few National Parks that rival the beauty of Zion. It's sheer sandstone walls are painted red with iron and the blue-green water of the Virgin River compliments the canyon with harmonious splendor. What I'm trying to say here, is that Zion is an incredible place to dive into some photographic adventures. The night before the Aperture Academy workshop started, I met with a great group of landscape photographers who were looking to capture the mighty glory of this scenic wonder. We went around in a circle to introduce ourselves to one another before heading back to our rooms to get some quality rest before the next morning's shoot.
The following morning we packed into "ApCab" and made our way to the shuttle stop. Vehicles are not allowed throughout much of Zion, so we make sure to be on the first shuttle to ensure that we make it to our sunrise location on time. The first stop was The Court of the Patriarchs. Here, the rushing river rolls down a slab before cascading over a small waterfall. There are many opportunities to explore various compositions along the river's edge, so we shot the area for about an hour and a half before catching the shuttle back to our van.
We then drove to a bonsai tree where we were able to capture it's silhouette against a golden light stricken wall. It can be rather difficult to get the framing just right in this spot so we spent a decent amount of time in the area so everyone could get the shot just right. Once everyone got the shot, we headed out on the canyon view hike. This hike is about a mile and a half round trip and offers some great views of the canyon at the end of the trail. After the canyon view we made our way back to Springdale for a quick lunch and a little break.
After our break we headed to Zion Outfitters to rent our gear for our Narrows hike the following day. Once everyone was situated with their gear, we headed back to the hotel for another short break so people could drop off their gear and grab their cameras. For sunset we headed to a sublime vista over the Virgin River with a great view of The Watchmen. After Sunset we headed back to the hotel to get some sleep before our big hike the following day.
On the second morning we got up a few minutes earlier just to make sure that we caught the first shuttle bus of the day. After a cozy bus ride, we arrived at the Temple of Sinawava. The first mile of the trail took us through groves of oak trees as the soothing sound of the Virgin River invoked the feeling of bliss. When we reached the narrows, the group wasted no time getting in the water and began hiking with an ambitious pace that would soon slow as the narrows started to catch up with us. First, we stopped at a beautiful cascade that had many rocks that could be used as foreground elements. The group shot the scene until I had to drag them away from it's beauty with the promise of more great scenes to come. With just a few more bends in the river we found ourselves stopping again to photograph some excellent reflected light. This kind of light is really what the narrows is all about. After the stop we hightailed it to Wallstreet where we had lunch and shot some more great reflected light. After Wallstreet, we made the long journey back to the bus stop with a few photo stops along the way. By the time we got back on the bus the group was exhausted from a great day of photography. When we got to Springdale, we said our goodbyes and went our separate ways with memory cards full of fantastic images.
Until next time,
Mike and the rest of the Aperture Academy Team!
If you'd like to join us at one of our workshops, you can find the schedule/sign up here.