Varina and Jay Patel
Sunday was the last day or our workshop, and we drove North to Bryce Canyon National Park for our sunrise shoot. The drive from Kanab takes a couple of hours in good weather conditions, so we gathered our students at 4am. The park offers an incredible variety of options for composition – and of course, a spectacular view of the hoodoos in the Bryce amphitheater. Many of our students were visiting for the first time. They were as awed by the beauty of the place as we are every time the sun lights up those bizarre sandstone formations. Getting a good shot isn’t as easy as you’d think, though. Jay and I spent the morning working our way back and forth from one student to the next – helping with filters, exposure, and composition. Our students captured some beautiful shots. (Copyright for the photographs in this post belong to the photographer as noted. Some images were provided by our students.)
Afterward, we drove over to Ruby’s Lodge for breakfast. We said goodbye to our students, and drove to Zion National Park. A bald eagle flew overhead as we left the valley – this truly is the Land of the Free.
We had several hours to kill before we needed to be at the airport, so we planned to spend some time shooting the Autumn colors along the Virgin River. As we followed a small trail towards the water, Varina heard a rustling in the tall grass, and a terrified stag leaped directly into her path – so close that she could see the whites of its eyes. It was as surprised to see her as she was to see it – but it made a split second decision to turn tail and run. It’s a darn good thing it didn’t decide to plow right through her – that set of antlers was impressive!
We decided to drive out The Valley of Fire in Nevada for a sunset shoot instead. We spent an hour driving through the park, then chose a location to shoot the sunset. We got a few nice shots. A nice finish to another great trip.
Unfortunately, we still had a long way to travel!
At night - from 50 miles away - the smog over Law Vegas glows with a sickly, yellow light. It’s a rude awakening after spending time in pristine wilderness. We grabbed a bite to eat after making our way through airport security, and prepared for a long night. We were taking the red-eye home, and our flight didn’t leave until around midnight. By the time we reached the airport, we were feeling seriously sleep-deprived. Varina stretched out on the chilly floor for an hour of sleep before boarding the plane. It was uncomfortable – but at least she was horizontal! We were both asleep (no longer horizontal in ridiculously uncomfortable airplane seats) by the time the plane took off from Las Vegas. Luckily, it was a direct flight, and we could sleep all the way.