At the start
It’s been almost a month since I have returned from White Sands National Monument and about two more months to go before I head for Zion National Park. I find myself both looking back and looking forward. Looking back to see how my photographs morphed from day one to day last. Looking forward to Zion National Park and thinking about the approach that I wish to take when photographing Zion.
When I go somewhere like on vacation, or to photograph, I have no predetermined plan. I just love to go with the flow; however, in looking at Google Earth and doing some research, there are so many things to see in within a 3 hour radius that it is tempting to “flit about”. I’m not prone to flitting, but the urge seems to be there.
I’ll be spending May 24 – June 1 there. Mind you Saturday, the 24th and Sunday, June 1 are travel days; however, I should be able to shoot on Saturday evening, as I will arrive in Las Vegas at about noon on 5/24, add to that a 1 hour time difference + 1 hour to get suitcase/rental car, etc. and a 3 hour drive, I should arrive in Hurricane, UT at about 6:00 PM. Never mind, no shooting on Saturday!
Near the end
Now, about that flitting. In the area there are many things to see: Bryce Canyon, Zion National Part, North Rim of Grand Canyon, and a host of other smaller desert parks around St. George that I have discovered from visiting Utah twice before! Overload! My initial thought is to spend some time in each of them, but I know myself and that will lead to a bunch of superficial shots for me. I won’t get sense of place, but will probably have some pretty pictures. I won’t take much time to explore. I have been to Zion before, but it was a one-day thing with my family. I netted only a few snapshots.
While at White Sands, I started with my wide angle lens, progressed to an 80-200mm zoom, then took lots of pictures with the 50mm. Also, it started with the grand landscape, if you will, and ended with individual plant studies. There was no intention, but it’s just how it happens. I find that the same thing happens when I visit a place over and over again. I just start looking closer, closer, and closer still.
At both ends of the range, wide and close, I got some shots that I really liked; however, I think that if I just stick with the big picture, the grand landscape, I’ll come home with a feeling that I’ve missed something. Something intimate.
As for this last picture, to the right, I call it understanding. It was taken on the last evening where I started to get an understanding of how these plants survived in this harsh desert environment. Having not been there on three consecutive days, I think that I would have missed this.
So, it’s still not decided what I will do. Honestly, distance will play a huge factor. Bryce Canyon is a 3 hour drive from where I’ll be staying. The North Rim, about 90 minutes, and Zion, 25. I’m sure that I’ll spend most of my time getting to know Zion.
How do you approach a new place?