View from the Rim (Grand Canyon National Park)

My one and only trip to the Grand Canyon was unforgettable – we want to go back but competing priorities have gotten in the way. Maybe when we have some little ones we can take a road trip like the Griswolds.

View from the Rim (Grand Canyon National Park)

View from the Rim (Grand Canyon National Park)

My goal is that after seeing ‘Grand Canyon,’ every person in the audience will go home knowing they have to conserve water: even something as simple as installing a low-flow toilet or showerhead, or turning off the faucet while they’re brushing their teeth.

Hiking in the Red Rocks (Sedona, Arizona)

A few years back my wife and I piggybacked off a work trip to Phoenix and drove up to Sedona and before carrying on to the Grand Canyon. It was a fun trip and we are looking forward to next week’s trip to the Smoky Mountains for similar reasons – we will be able to get away from everything for a week and just relax. No email, phones (okay maybe a little) but for the most part we will just be out enjoying the scenery around us.

We were hiking through Sedona and saw these really interesting red rock formations in the distance. We were looking for an interesting foreground and my wife pointed out this star looking shrub and thought it would look good. I hiked over, set my camera up, framed up the shot and then take a few shots. A few minutes later I was running back to the trail and taking off my shoes, socks and pants. Apparently I stepped in an ant hill while over there and they were climbing all over me. Fortunately, they weren’t the biting kind….Happy to say I still got the picture though!

Hiking in the Red Rocks (Sedona, Arizona)

Hiking at the Red Rocks (Sedona, Arizona)

Sunset from Camelback Mountain (Phoenix, Arizona)

A few years back before heading out to Grand Canyon National Park for a few days I went hiking up on Camelback Mountain in Phoenix, Arizona. It was a nice hike – although HOT – and more challenging than I expected given it was a local hike right outside of the city. Maybe it was because I wasn’t in solid shape because I’m a city guy but man it was harder than I expected – the elevation change, the heat, etc… I felt silly that locals were jogging up it like it was nothing but I eventually made it up to the top where I ate a protein bar, drank some water and watched the sunset over the city of Phoenix. It was a nice view from up there and well worth the hike but just be warned if you aren’t from there – the hike is no joke and will kick your ass if you aren’t prepared.

Sunset from Camelback Mountain

Sunset from Camelback Mountain (Phoenix, Arizona)

I’ve been a little preoccupied lately between moving and a new role at work so posting is a little sporadic over the past few weeks. However, I hope to catch up this weekend and be back to semi-normal by next week. Thanks for hanging in there with me.

Clouds over the Grand Canyon (Grand Canyon National Park)

During our trip to the Grand Canyon we were treated to some pretty crazy weather but with that weather came epic clouds which made shooting during the day interesting as well. Normally, I avoid shooting landscapes during the day but when the clouds are big and puffy like this you can fire away all day long.

Clouds over the Grand Canyon (Grand Canyon National Park)

Clouds over the Grand Canyon (Grand Canyon National Park)

This was the first picture I shot when we entered the park. Initially we just did the drive around the South Rim taking in the different vantage points but on the way back I got out and shot a few pictures before we checked in to the hotel and went back out for sunset pictures.

The Grand Canyon in this picture looks stunning and sharp – the edges of the photo are a little blurry but I’ll chalk that up to the lens/camera body I was using at the time which isn’t as sharp as my setup today. However, the main focal point (the canyon itself) with the shadows from the clouds passing over is stunning (in my humble opinion). One of my favorite shots from the trip but it took me almost three years to process it!

Purple Rain in the Grand Canyon (Grand Canyon National Park)

Three years ago we spent a week hiking and photographing in the Grand Canyon. During that time we were treated to some pretty nasty weather – flash storms and abnormal amounts of rain for the middle of the dessert. However, that meant that we were also treated to some pretty sweet skies at sunset – this night in particular a storm was approaching over the canyon and the setting sun lit up the rain and made a nice purple streak as it swept across the canyon.

Purple Rain in the Grand Canyon (Grand Canyon National Park)

Purple Rain in the Grand Canyon (Grand Canyon National Park)

I’d love to go back one day but maybe next time check out Horsehoe Bend on the North Rim.

Last Light on the Grand Canyon

A few years back my wife and I spent a few days in the Grand Canyon. It was the beginning of the fall when we were there so there was little chance of snow. This week the Grand Canyon had snow before we did here in Chicago – however, we’ve more than caught up now as we are back under a deep freeze. I’m not sure it’s been above zero on a temperature basis all week. Warmer days are ahead though and I’m hoping to get out this weekend to take some pictures around the city.

Last Light on the Grand Canyon

Last Light on the Grand Canyon

“Do nothing to mar it’s grandeur, for the ages have been at work upon it and man cannot improve it. Keep it for your children, your children’s children and all who come after you.”

— Theodore Roosevelt

Early Morning Light on the Grand Canyon

It’s been awhile since I revisited my pictures from our trip to the Grand Canyon in 2012 but last week I saw a funny blurb on ‘The Funniest Bad Yelp Reviews of National Parks’ and it caused me to go back and take a look at some old images to see if there are any I may have missed over the past two years.

I came across this picture which was one of the last images I took while I was in the Grand Canyon – I headed out to Yaki Point for sunrise that morning and was treated to a really nice one. The majestic colors had come and gone but the sun was still low enough that it was painting light across the canyon and causing shadows to slowly work there way through the canyon. As I was waiting for the bus to come pick me up I was sitting on a rock watching the light and noticed the rays were strong and visible – hoping to pick them up I grabbed the camera and shot a few images at different tones of light.

Early Morning sun lights up the Grand Canyon

Early Morning Light in the Grand Canyon

Want to see what the original exposure of this image looked like? Here is a link to the ‘Before and After’ version of it. Quite an amazing improvement by capturing additional ranges of the light in the Canyon.

By the way the review from Yelp about the Grand Canyon was:

“As amazing as the views are it is really kind of boring. Every 500 ft a new vantage point of the same thing: a really big hole in the ground. Don’t get me wrong, the canyon is amazing. What would be better is a guided tour of the canyon from open-air view trams via a very long (much longer than exists) rim side roadway. What would also be nice is Segway rentals, but I know the reason why this isn’t done is because someone would inevitably drive off the edge of the canyon to their death.”

And because of that – the Grand Canyon only gets ‘one star’. I couldn’t agree with this reviewers assessment any less – each vantage point does provide a unique view of the canyon.

If you’ve made it this far – Thanks! But that isn’t why I put that here – I am starting to (finally) transition over to a new website and blog. If you clicked on the ‘Before/After’ link then you visited that new site. This is in ‘demo’ stage but it is coming together. Please take some time and click around – let me know what you think in the comments here. Thanks again for spending some time here today!

Sunset over the Grand Canyon

A tip if you ever plan on going to the Grand Canyon and hope to watch the sunset or the sunrise from one of the numerous viewing platforms on the South Rim…Back in 2012 we spent five days in the Grand Canyon and had the opportunity to take in a few sunsets. The Grand Canyon is pretty amazing but unfortunately since alot of the areas are off limits and well there is a giant canyon your viewing areas are limited. As such the viewing platforms are typically very clustered and you are forced to get in position sixty to ninety minutes in advance and then you have to defend your position. Sunrises – for obvious reasons – are a little less crowded but still expect to have more people (10 – 20) than you typically would at other national park locations where the views are more spread out.

Sunset over the Grand Canyon

First Light on the Grand Canyon

One of the most amazing places I’ve ever been to in my life is the Grand Canyon. It is also one of the most frustrating because it is so hard to get a picture of it that tells the full story of just how amazing it is. I tried in a few pictures that I’ve posted here before – Sunset over the Grand Canyon, sunrise at Yaki Point or the view from Mather Point – but find myself constantly wanting to just expand the image left or right since in my mind I can remember the whole expanse so vividly. In some pictures while there – like the one below – I zoomed in a little bit to catch the dynamic contrast of the canyon walls as it stretched off into the distance. So many different layers, stretching for miles.

Photo of the Day – Dynamic Contrast in the Canyon

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Four client meetings this week followed up by two next week. This is certainly my busiest two week stretch of the year. Alot of travel involved as well so let’s hope that the airplane Gods are kind.

Slow and Steady

He who wishes to be rich in a day will be hanged in a year

– Da Vinci

We are coming up on about a three years since I first caught the photography bug. When I go back and look at pictures that I took in December 2010 when down in New Orleans with my wife for Christmas the quality of the photos is completely different from the stuff I’ve taken in the last six to twelve months. It’s funny though because when I was taking and posting those pictures (like this one) to Flickr I felt they were really high quality and comparable to some of the ‘pros’ that I see on other websites today. It’s obvious looking back that it wasn’t the case and I think I’ll look back in a few years and feel the same way about my current work. The whole process of photography and the constant learning has been rewarding and hey who knows maybe using that creative side of my brain will make me live longer as this news report seems to believe.

Photo of the Day – Shadows in the Canyon

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In the grand canyon during September 2012 I watched the sunrise several mornings. I loved the way the canyon changed from minute-to-minute as the shadows crept across the landscape. From sunrise (around 6 AM I think?) to 8 AM in the morning the whole atmosphere would change.