Winter at the Grand Canyon
Clouds lift off Isis Temple as the cliffs of the Grand Canyon bask in the warm glow of the light of the setting sun. This image, titled As the Storm Lifts, is available as a fine art print on traditional photographic paper and as a Luxe acrylic print.
Timing is everything. I lucky to live about 90 miles south of Grand Canyon National Park near the town of Flagstaff, Arizona. I make frequent trips to the canyon to capture it in a wide-range of light and weather. The drive normally takes about an hour and a half, but on this particular day, January 1st of 2015, it was just a bit longer.
It had been snowing for about (if my memory serves me) 36 hours and the snow was beginning to get deep. The weather forecast was calling for the storm to begin clearing a couple hours before sunset…ideal conditions to capture the canyon with a fresh dusting of snow. My hope was to photograph the Grand Canyon covered in snow with the golden light of sunset striking its temples and buttes.
Being 7,000 feet above sea-level, we’re accustomed to strong winter storms here in Flagstaff, but unfortunately most folks that are driving across our state figure that it’s all desert and hot all the time. The roads were icy and becoming snow-packed, I knew that if I was going to make it to the canyon in time to capture sunset, I would have to get on the road early. Sally and I loaded-up the 4Runner with camera gear, plus the very important winter survival gear just in-case we got stuck somewhere, and hit the road. Getting out of Flagstaff proved to be uneventful albeit slow-going, but 30 or so miles west of town near Williams, Arizona traffic came to a stop as cars and semi-trucks were struggling with the winter driving conditions. We switched into 4-wheel drive and pressed on, making to the South Rim of the canyon after a little over 3-hours on the road.
For this photo I captured the scene in a single exposure using a Nikon D800e and 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G lens, and a 3-stop soft-edge graduated neutral density filter.