Saturday, January 12, 2013

Grand Canyon in Winter

Adventures on the High Plateau

Arizona.  Land of sun, sand, and cactus.  An oasis where one might expect to play a round of golf any day of the year.

Granted, part of the state matches this description, but Arizona is a complex landscape.  Vast areas of Northern Arizona rest on high plateaus, considerably higher in altitude than the "Mile High" city of Denver, Colorado.

When winter comes to the high plateau, it's cold.  Surprisingly cold.  Nighttime temperatures can approach zero degrees Fahrenheit (-17 C).  Dress warmly if you want to greet that once-in-a-lifetime sunrise.

a fine art photograph of the palisades of the desert at grand canyon at dawn
Pre-Dawn Glow Over The Palisades Of The Desert

Winter can be an interesting time to visit Grand Canyon.  The crowds are smaller.  The life-threatening heat of summer is no longer an issue.  And if the weather cooperates, you'll be able to enjoy views of the canyon graced with fresh fallen snow.

a fine art photograph of grand canyon with snow
Sunrise Over Grand Canyon in Winter

Ice and snow add subtle highlights to canyon features.  Since the winter sun hits the canyon at a low angle, interesting shadow patterns are visible throughout the day.

a fine art photograph of grand canyon rock features and temples in winter
Snowfall atop Grand Canyon Features

At sunset, very little of the canyon will be lit by direct sunlight, but unexpected lighting effects can occur.  In this image, warm light from the setting sun was reflected downward into the canyon.  The effect lasted for only a few minutes.  Luckily, I was able to frame this shot before it faded.

a fine art photo a grand canyon at sunset from the abyss
Sunset Reflected Downward From Winter Clouds

Witnessing a Grand Canyon sunset over snow-crested cliffs is a breathtaking experience.

a fine art photograph of a winter sunset with snow at grand canyon
Winter Sunset, Grand Canyon National Park

If you want to see a different dimension of Grand Canyon, consider a trip during the winter months.  Drive carefully, dress warmly, and enjoy the unexpected as it unfolds before you.

a fine art photograph of a lenticular cloud over the grand canyon at sunrise
Lenticular Cloud over Grand Canyon at Sunrise

I would like to extend a special 'Thank You' to all of the wonderful people who keep Grand Canyon open for tourism every day of the year.

            Canon EOS 5D Mark II

            Canon TS-E24 f/3.5L II
            Canon 24-105 f/4L IS
            Canon 70-200 f/4L IS

Wishing you great light and meaningful moments!

Copyright 2013 Daniel R. South
All Rights Reserved

1 comment:

  1. There are palaces,pyramids,cathedrals, and countless other wonders, but none, I think, equal nature in their power to stir human emotions. I have hiked in Utah's canyons and run through Yellowstone and felt the reverence and sacredness of "church". These exquisite shots put us in that sacred place and stir those emotions.