2021 Grand Canyon River Trip Portfolio

November 15, 2021  |  Grand Canyon National Park

Earlier this year I was the photography guide & instructor on a photography expedition rafting the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. Our group was composed of 12 photographers, plus myself and Sally, along with 4 river guides. We spent 10 days on the river, running rapids, hiking to waterfalls & slot canyons, and photographing the Milky Way. Thanks to our boatmen we ate very well and slept comfortably under the millions of stars in the night sky.

The photographs in this collection were all made on this trip. I've also included a teaser of an upcoming collection of photographs of black and white scenes of Grand Canyon. I still have many more black and white photographs of the Grand Canyon to add to the collection, but I will share those in a separate journal entry sometime in the future, hopefully before the end of the year.

The cliffs surrounding the Little Colorado River begin to glow in late afternoon light. Across thr river is Beamer's Cabin. The...

Beamer's Cabin on the Little Colorado

The cliffs surrounding the Little Colorado River begin to glow in late afternoon light. Across thr river is Beamer's Cabin. The cabin was built below the overhanging cliff by a prospector named Ben Beamer who had come to Grand Canyon in the winter of 1890 and spent two years searching for copper ore. He used the cabin as his base camp but never had much luck finding the ore he was searching for.

The warm light of sunset on distant cliffs reflects in the Colorado River. From the Escalante Route in Grand Canyon National...

Reflections of Sunset

The warm light of sunset on distant cliffs reflects in the Colorado River. From the Escalante Route in Grand Canyon National Park.

The Colorado River cuts a path that is 277 miles long through Grand Canyon National Park. The section of the river from mile...

Into The Roaring Twenties

The Colorado River cuts a path that is 277 miles long through Grand Canyon National Park. The section of the river from mile 20 at North Canyon Canyon rapid seen here to mile 27 at Tiger Wash Rapid are known as the "Roaring Twenties" due to the number of rapids spaced a half-mile or so apart. The rapids make for a fun ride, but the scenery is just as spectacular.

A waterfall in Matkatamiba Canyon, a side canyon to the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park.

Polychrome Falls

A waterfall in Matkatamiba Canyon, a side canyon to the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park.

The towering cliffs of the Grand Canyon frame the Milky Way. A touch of moonlight illuminates the surrounding cliffs, and the...

Rivers of the Canyon and the Sky

The towering cliffs of the Grand Canyon frame the Milky Way. A touch of moonlight illuminates the surrounding cliffs, and the Colorado River quietly flows by disappearing around a distant bend.

A waterfall cascades into a slot canyon along Deer Creek in Grand Canyon National Park.

Deer Creek Slot Canyon Falls

A waterfall cascades into a slot canyon along Deer Creek in Grand Canyon National Park.

The cliffs of the Grand Canyon reflect in the Colorado River. From Fern Glen camp at river mile 169 in Grand Canyon National...

Canyon Canvas

The cliffs of the Grand Canyon reflect in the Colorado River. From Fern Glen camp at river mile 169 in Grand Canyon National Park.

Looking upstream along the beach at Fern Glen camp on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.

Fern Glen in Morning Light

Looking upstream along the beach at Fern Glen camp on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon.

The cliffs of Stephne Aisle reflect in the waters of the Colorado River. From Big Dune camp at river mile 119 in Grand Canyon...

Tidal Impressions in Stephen Aisle

The cliffs of Stephne Aisle reflect in the waters of the Colorado River. From Big Dune camp at river mile 119 in Grand Canyon National Park.

A waterfall cascades into Elves Chasm. Along Royal Arch Creek in Grand Canyon National Park.

Land of the Elves

A waterfall cascades into Elves Chasm. Along Royal Arch Creek in Grand Canyon National Park.

The Ross Wheeler, an old metal rowboat, sits high above the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The boat was designed and built...

The Ross Wheeler

The Ross Wheeler, an old metal rowboat, sits high above the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The boat was designed and built in 1914 by Bert Loper, who named it for local steamboat pilot Roswell "Ross" Wheeler.

The boat was used during an expedition led by Charlie Russell, who, along with August Tadje and Leslie Clement, had planned to make a motion picture of running the Grand Canyon by boat. They, unfortunately, discovered that the small boat was cumbersome and prone to tipping. After several mishaps and with fatigue setting in, they elected to abandon the boat at Bass Rapid at river mile 108.3 and hiked out of the canyon, never returning.

A miner by the name of John Waltenberg thought the boat might be useful to someone at some point, so he winched it up into the rocks above the high water line. In 1984 the Ross Wheeler was secured with a chain by the National Park Service.

A lone tree in North Canyon, a tributary of Marble Canyon within Grand Canyon National Park.

Lone Tree in North Canyon

A lone tree in North Canyon, a tributary of Marble Canyon within Grand Canyon National Park.

A ribbon of green lines the dry Unkar Creek as it meanders through Grand Canyon.

Unkar Creek

A ribbon of green lines the dry Unkar Creek as it meanders through Grand Canyon.

Deep within Grand Canyon along the Colorado River is a site that is sacred to the Hopi people known as the Hopi Salt Mines where...

Hopi Salts

Deep within Grand Canyon along the Colorado River is a site that is sacred to the Hopi people known as the Hopi Salt Mines where near river mile 64.5, salt clings to the lower stretches of the canyon walls. Hopi males would make a pilgrimage from the Hopi Mesas to the Salt Mines as the culmination of the Wuwutsim (woo- woow-tsem) ceremony, the initiation ceremony for males into adulthood. It's also common for initiated Hopis to collect salt from the Hopi Salt Mines outside the salt pilgrimage.

A panoramic view of rolling hills in the Grand Canyon. From the Escalante Route near Hilltop Ruin in Grand Canyon National Park...

Rolling Hills from the Escalante

A panoramic view of rolling hills in the Grand Canyon. From the Escalante Route near Hilltop Ruin in Grand Canyon National Park.

In this section of the Grand Canyon many of the terraces and points above the river to the right on the Powell Plateau are named...

The Land of the Explorers

In this section of the Grand Canyon many of the terraces and points above the river to the right on the Powell Plateau are named for explorers of European descent. These explorers include Joseph Christmas Ives, Edward Fitzgerald Beale, and George Montague Wheeler.

Dramatic light strikes the cliffs of Marble Canyon as a storm clears turning the rock to gold. From North Canyon in Grand Canyon...

Alchemy in Marble

Dramatic light strikes the cliffs of Marble Canyon as a storm clears turning the rock to gold. From North Canyon in Grand Canyon National Park.

The cliffs of the Grand Canyon reflect in the Colorado River. From Fern Glen camp at river mile 169 in Grand Canyon National...

Reflection of a Towering Wall

The cliffs of the Grand Canyon reflect in the Colorado River. From Fern Glen camp at river mile 169 in Grand Canyon National Park.

Golden light reflects off the walls of Blacktail Canyon, a slot canyon within Grand Canyon National Park.

Passage Through Blacktail

Golden light reflects off the walls of Blacktail Canyon, a slot canyon within Grand Canyon National Park.

First light begins to paint distant cliffs in warm rosy hues. From Trinity Creek along the Colorado River deep within the Granite...

Trinity Sunrise

First light begins to paint distant cliffs in warm rosy hues. From Trinity Creek along the Colorado River deep within the Granite Gorge in Grand Canyon National Park.

The cliffs of Marble Canyon reflect in the Colorado River. From Redwall Cavern in Grand Canyon National Park.

Watercolors at Redwall

The cliffs of Marble Canyon reflect in the Colorado River. From Redwall Cavern in Grand Canyon National Park.

The Colorado River near the Unkar Delta. From the Escalante Route in Grand Canyon National Park.

The Colorado River from Furnace Flats

The Colorado River bends around the Unkar Delta. Viewed from the Escalante Route in the Furnace Flats area of Grand Canyon National Park.

Late afternoon light glances across the rolling terrain above Unkar Creek in Grand Canyon National Park.

Light Play Across Unkar

Late afternoon light glances across the rolling terrain above Unkar Creek in Grand Canyon National Park.

A waterfall cascades into a slot canyon along Deer Creek in Grand Canyon National Park.

Deer Creek Slot Canyon Falls

A waterfall cascades into a slot canyon along Deer Creek in Grand Canyon National Park.

Golden light reflects off the walls of Blacktail Canyon, a slot canyon within Grand Canyon National Park.

Golden Light in Blacktail

Golden light reflects off the walls of Blacktail Canyon, a slot canyon within Grand Canyon National Park.

The cliffs of the Grand Canyon reflect in the Colorado River. From Fern Glen camp at river mile 169 in Grand Canyon National...

Watercolor at Fern Glen

The cliffs of the Grand Canyon reflect in the Colorado River. From Fern Glen camp at river mile 169 in Grand Canyon National Park.

The tall cliffs of Matkatamiba Canyon glow in warm light. From along the Colorado River cooridor in Grand Canyon National Park...

Reflecting in Matkat

The tall cliffs of Matkatamiba Canyon glow in warm light. From along the Colorado River cooridor in Grand Canyon National Park.

The Colorado River peacefully flows between the canyon walls of the Granite Gorge, the soft notes of the water burbling is the...

River Song in the Granite Gorge

The Colorado River peacefully flows between the canyon walls of the Granite Gorge, the soft notes of the water burbling is the only sound to be heard. From Trinity Creek in Grand Canyon National Park.

This little tree has continued to grow in this beautoful side-canyon to the Colorado River for many years. It has been nearly...

The Spirit of North Canyon

This little tree has continued to grow in this beautoful side-canyon to the Colorado River for many years. It has been nearly wipedout by flash floods, only to return again the next year. From North Canyon in Grand Canyon National Park.

A black and white photograph of the Colorado River from a ledge high above Randys Rock camp in the Grand Canyon.

Northern Vista

I made this photograph while on a photography expedition in 2021. We had stopped for lunch and had already packed up the boats when I noticed that I could reach a ledge high above the river with some scrambling. As I raced up to the ledge, anticipation was building as I knew I would only have a few minutes to set up my camera, build the composition, and photograph the scene before the clouds, light, and shadow would change. This view is one of the few places in the canyon where the river is flowing north.



Photo Gear

The photographs on this page were all made with my Fujifilm GFX 50R, a 50-megapixel medium format mirrorless camera, and Fujifilm lenses. I also used a Really Right Stuff tripod and Acratech Panoramic Head. You can learn more about the equipment I used by clicking on the links below.