Canyon Smile by Pcoskun

The narrows in Zion National Park is one of my favorite places. It instantly became a favorite location of mine the first time I stepped in last year. I’ve always wanted to make some wide panoramas from this place, but had gotten so consumed by the beauty last time that I barely remembered to do so. It almost happened again this time, but on my way out of the narrows I saw these two trees against the canyon wall. I noticed the glowing corridor on the one side and the nice cascades below. I knew I couldn’t get this in one shot, so I thought this would be my chance to go super wide. The image is seven vertical frames stitched together and I was just barely able to fit the trees in going vertical. This is a pretty expansive scene and I had to wait for quite some time for people to pass as the exposures were a little longer here. Luckily, the glow lasted for a little while and I was able to get the series of shots uninterrupted. When I put the image together I noticed that the scene almost resembled a smile, as if the trees were the eyes, the large rock the nose, and the cascading water the actual smile. I did a lot of smiling in the canyon myself, not only greeting other hikers, but admiring the incredible beauty of this place.

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Chamber of Light by Pcoskun

Warm light bounces off the deep canyon walls of Zion’s narrows early in the morning. Rushing waters flow through this magnificent canyon constantly changing it’s appearance. Hard to believe, but I was nearly waist deep in the water here trying to keep my tripod and camera steady from the turbulent rapids. I tried making a similar image from this spot last year, however it was much later in the day providing more lackluster light on the walls and water.

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Reflection by Pcoskun

There is something magical about this particular section of the narrows. Last year on my first visit, I was overwhelmed at the beauty of this dark and narrow canyon. On this recent trip, the main goal was to photograph autumn color throughout the canyons. However, on this particular morning I had my mind set on spending some quality time amid my favorite part of this remarkable canyon. Unlike last years visit, I took a beeline straight to “wall street”. I knew if I could get there quickly and ahead of the rest of the hikers I would have the place all to myself. When I finally reached my destination, I took a moment to appreciate my surroundings. Towering canyon walls with the sound of water echoing throughout made me feel at peace. There was no place I would rather have been at this moment other than standing in the middle of this river. It would have made for a great self portrait and reminded me of those images of hikers peering out into the endless wilderness. I wish I would have thought of that looking back at this, but I will always have the memory of being there and the few photos I captured of the moments enjoyed. I was able to enjoy this spot for nearly a half hour before the first few people caught up to me. On the way out, I encountered enough people to make me really appreciate my quality time here in this canyon. If you have never been to the narrows in Zion National Park, I highly recommend a trip up the river. It is surely one of the most incredible experiences you will have in nature.

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Color Wheel by blurrr001

Color Wheel
Narrows, Zion NP

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For those that have never been to the Zion Narrows my small bit of advice (which should be common sense anyway) is get up early and be the first ones into this popular trail, you will get the best light, you will still have the whole day ahead of you and most important thing of all is, you most likely will have the whole place to yourself. My wife and I did a recent trip to the southwest and as I mentioned above we were the first ones into the narrows that day. I was able to freely stop and shoot anything I wanted with out having to wait for people in my shots, the light was great and it was so peaceful, until we started heading back. We stopped and turned around just after wall street (for those that are unfamiliar with this name its the most narrow section of the trail/river). Once we started heading back mobs of people and loud kids splashed and yelled as they all trudged up stream. Harsh sun was now just about out in full and any decent color on the rocks was long gone. the magic of this place was pretty muted by the bad light and the chaos of screaming kids, woman in heels (yes you read that right) and just unfit and unprepared people everywhere. So take my advice and get in there early if you should ever find yourself in the Zion narrows.

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