Month: December 2007

Arizona Perspective I – Grand Canyon

It is that time of the year when the rain, cold and the gray weather put me in a reflective mood. It is that time to look back on the journeys I have taken and look forward to the exciting new ones that I will be exploring. This coming January will mark my third year in Arizona, so it is timely that I write a series of Arizona Perspectives – each highlighting my photo journeys here. If anyone had asked me three years ago whether I ever thought that I would take photographs such as these, I would shake my head in disbelief. Just Imagine That! 🙂

Arizona is known as the Grand Canyon state, so it is appropriate for the first Arizona Perspective to be on Grand Canyon – South Rim. On my first visit, I was led to the edge of the Canyon, eyes closed. Even though I had seen photos of the Canyon before, nothing prepared me for the grand view when I opened my eyes. It was just impossible to absorb the whole scene all at once. When it was that close and personal, it was just uncomparably breathtaking!

The Grand Canyon has been described as the grandest of all canyons. Carved by the Colorado River, it is a geological wonder and nature’s masterpiece. The Canyon strata depict an epic time travel through billions of years.

The weather is the key to getting good shots of the Canyon. Ironically, many photographers hope that they get bad weather as it provides a dramatic backdrop. Unfortunately, all my Canyon visits coincided with almost perfect weather. Nevertheless, my favorite sunrise spots are the overlooks at Yaki and Lipan Points along Desert View Drive.

For sunset, Yavapai Point offers the flexibility of framing different compositions in one location.

If you feel energetic enough to walk down the Canyon, try hiking the Bright Angel Trail – a popular one-day trail. Do take precautions when hiking as it is more demanding than it looks, especially for the hike back up. Remember to carry sufficient water and dress appropriately.

At the eastern end of the park, Desert View has a replica of a 70-foot prehistoric Indian tower. The interior murals of the Watch Tower were created by a Hopi artist. If you have time, walk up the tower to get a panoramic view. Be sure to look out for the reflectoscopes to get a different view of the Canyon.

Desert View is one of the overlooks where you can see and even hear the rapids of the Colorado River. You can also see the Palisades separating the Canyon and the Painted Desert with Navajo Mountain at a distance.

A final note: Try to catch the canyon at the first light or last light or both. Skip the free breakfast at the hotel because by that time you would have missed the canyon light and there will be loads of tourists jostling for a spot. So wake up early, set up in the cold wind and wait for the magic moment when the sun rays move across the rocks, slowly illuminating the canyon, revealing its colors and beauty. Only then, you will see why it is known as the ‘Grand’ Canyon!

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