Unexpected Drive Through Zion National Park | Active Light Photography | Photo Tours to Hidden Destinations, Anasazi Ruins
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I hadn’t been to Zion National Park since 1983, and didn’t remember exactly where it was in Utah. (“Anybody seen Zion National Park lately? I know it’s around here somewhere…”)

So my wife’s return route through it from Albuquerque’s Balloon Fiesta took me by surprise.

Autumn leaves added brilliant yellows against Zion’s pale Navajo Sandstone, and misty fog added mystery to photographs. We got some drizzle, but missed most of a severe storm that provided more dramatic skies.

I used to think that Zion’s blocky rocks and canyons didn’t cut it compared to Yosemite, but this drive showed me something different. I found myself wishing we had more than an afternoon there, with time for hikes through the Virgin Narrows or to viewpoints on surrounding ridges. I loved the banded sedimentary shapes in exposed desert rock, with bright splashes of fall colors.

After a forgettable dinner in Springdale, we drove to St. George. The next morning brought a hailstorm with 1” stones, a dramatic finish to our Utah detour.

Shot Notes

I should have used a tripod for most of these, except where lack of space dictated a monopod. I can see some camera shake, especially as sunset approached. Mountain canyons get dim…

I was glad for fairly water-resistant dSLR cameras and lenses. Wet, drizzly weather is unkind to rangefinder Leicas.

I used Lightroom’s graduated filter function to hold back skies slightly and add contrast. In film days, I would have used a Singh-Ray ½ ND grad filter in a Cokin holder. If skies had been any brighter, I would have wanted one.