Our south-west road trip was on a loose schedule. We had a general idea of where we wanted to go, what we wanted to see, and even had a couple of extra days in the mix for flexibility. This seemed like a good plan until we were confronted with a perfect storm.
Zion and Bryce Canyon are tucked into the south-west corner of Utah, easily accessible from several large urban centres. We left Monument Valley around mid-day, heading due west and hit Zion National Park in the late afternoon, just as the soft, photo friendly light was casting its magic on the red standstone rocks. Several photo stops later, we arrived at Springdale, our destination for the night, and this is where the elements of a perfect storm came together.
A combination of Easter Break and National Park Week had attracted many other travellers from those nearby, large urban centres. This little town was packed and finding a place to stay would prove to be somewhat challenging. Persevering, we made several anxious trips up and down the main street until finally locating one of the last rooms available.
There was, however, a silver lining to be found amongst these storm clouds. Spotting a photography gallery just across the street, I decided to check it out. I was seeking inspiration and ideas for my photo-hike the next day, but I got much more than that. I got some great advice on polarizing filters, which are used to filter out cloudy haze to create those great sky shots.
Here’s a picture I took with my new filter, the next day at Bryce Canyon. I’m pretty pleased with the results – the composition is quite acceptable, with good eye movement, but it’s the dramatic blue sky setting off the red rock formations that gives this image its vitality.
Fortunately, I got the filter at the beginning of our trip and would have many pleasurable hours working with this new found tool. I actually learned to appreciate and even search out a bit of cloud in the skyline. Stay tuned for our next instalment – Devil’s Garden.