Utah Trip–Thursday, Zion | Jim Kofron Photography | Jim Kofron

Utah Trip–Thursday, Zion

So Rick had been real easy on me so far this trip. No super early sunrises. Being in a valley helps too, the sun doesn’t get up over the sides for a while. This morning, we decided to do a classic sunrise shoot; the cliffs behind the Zion Human History Museum. That’s (1) on the map, and it’s just a mile into the park from Springdale. This was going to be our last full day in Zion, so we wanted to make sure we got our money’s worth.

The pre-sunrise light puts some nice colors on these rocks. It was pretty windy and cool this morning, and that probably helped to cut down the number of photographers at this popular spot. This was also my first attempts at using the SFD mode on the sd Quattro—it takes six exposures in rapid succession, followed by a 7th (wait for it!). These are all bracketed by 1 stop around whatever your base exposure setting is.

This is the SFD mode. The sun is also starting to move over the cliff on the left side.

And one last one. As always, these are out of SPP with no additional manipulation. I’m going to have to play with these files a bit to get the best out of them. They are amazingly noise free (for a foveon image)

So after this little outing, I believe that we got some coffee and muffins. No breakfast burrito—the one from Wednesday saturated our burrito receptors. With the light up, we headed up into Zion, through the first big tunnel, and through the second tunnel. Immediately after that, we parked in a little lot to the right side and did the overlook hike (2). Pretty cool area, and this was by far one of the most crowded things we did in Zion. Very popular. We got to walk in this overhang, and there was a scary bat hanging from the ceiling...

However, the overlook was well worth the trip! It’s like a gazillion feet down to the bottom of this valley. You can see the hairpins in the road that we drove up.

This group of crazies were having a discussion about the best route to climb. Where?

Up there! It’s pretty steep, but the sandstone provides good footing and there are ‘channels’ that you can walk up to get to the little (haha) rocks on the right side. I don’t believe that they were talking about climbing to the top of the formation; that would have taken some technical climbing.

Views. Crazy ass views. 

So, after hiking back down, we jumped in the car and continued driving up the canyon. We saw some cars randomly pulled over on the side, so we stopped too (3)… and were treated to some bighorn sheep! This was the first time I had seen them in the wild. Made me think fondly of Indy and Nikki (our departed pygmy goats). As an aside, some angry guy driving a Mercedes sprinter flipped Rick off for not pulling off the road far enough (for his fat ass)—so we incorporated the phrase ‘anger management’ into the rest of the trip.

We continued up the road a bit, and pulled off near 4 (I think). There are some petroglyphs on the side of a sandstone formation that’s a brief hike from the road. The sun was reflecting off the sandstone and everything was an amazing red-orange.

Rick knew of some hiking up a ways from this, so we continued down this path and started to scramble up some slick rock formations until we got into this amazing expanse of slick rock, surrounded by large sandstone formations. This area is really cool; it’s shaped by both wind and water as erosive forces. There are a number of pools in the slick rock where the water will flow during rain storms. No chance for us to see that on this day—blue sky with a few puffy clouds was pretty much all we were seeing.


versus landscape. Each have their strengths.

This gives you a better view of how this things are formed, and how crazy the layers are here. The cliffs on the background will be a climbing/scrambling target a little later in the hike, and we got some nice perspectives from over there.

I love the patterns that the rock makes, and these make some really interesting B/W images.

I may print this one, but I’ve got to crop my shadow out of the lower right...

And back to color

I like this photo in both color and B/W (below), but probably better in B/W. Again, no cropping yet—the tree on the frame on the right will have to go.

As I mentioned, we decide to do some scrambling/climbing to see how far out of this canyon we could get. So this is a shot onto the sandstone playground that we were shooting. What an amazingly beautiful area!

Now we’ve climbed high enough to point back towards the road. 

It’s a nice overlook from here, but you can see we’ve still got some climbing to do (to the left).

Once we got a bit more elevation, we had a look through those bigger sandstone formations to the northeast.

Rick finishing up some photos from our highest vantage point for this area!

So, are we done yet??? Not even close. We drove back into Springdale and spent a bit of time in David West’s gallery. I was checking his online reputation, and he’s a five-star kind of guy who gets the description of ‘incredibly talented’ and ‘nicest guy’ in most of his reviews. I would concur; his work is great, and we were able to chat with him a bit and he was just fantastic. He does a lot of medium format work, and some of his large prints are just incredible.

After that visit, we decided to head back into the park and grab the bus into the valley (5). Patriarchs, etc…, it was the first time I had been in here. Pretty hard afternoon light, but some clouds made this a really neat experience. I could have used either a ND filter or some more dynamic range.

Great shadows with clouds coming over these formations.

Note the last two images; only about a minute between the two of them. The shadows kept moving across these cliffs!

And with this, that concluded our day of photography! A huge variety of sites to shoot, and a really long day!

Copyright 2014, Jim Kofron. All rights reserved.