Friday, 4 May 2012

Bryce Canyon, UT

Another place I was really looking forward to see, and wasn't disappointed. It is breathtaking. I would love to come here when the hoodoo’s are covered in snow. We got a campsite in the Sunset campground and we had collected wood before we got in so that we could have a fire. The campground is lovely and the rest rooms are nice and clean, with trails in the middle so that you don’t have to walk through anyone’s camp site or back along the road. The campsites are surrounded by Ponderosa pines which are beautiful and as Lindsay said, you don’t have to worry about them dropping their limbs, like gum trees. They do have a bus service but we decided to drive to some of the points. Sunrise, Sunset, Inspiration and Bryce Points.

Bryce Canyon

I wanted to check where Thor’s Hammer was for the next morning, so walked partly down the Navajo trail to the two bridges. I had told Lindsay to go back as he had pinched a nerve in his back, but I didn’t know if he had taken that as back to the car or back to the campsite. So I came back without completing the loop. Part of that loop was closed due to reconstruction and the loop I would have taken would have joined up with the Queen’s Garden and taken about 45 minutes – providing I had found the right turn! Walking back up was really hard work, it was steep and I was hot and we are talking about 9,000ft above sea level. I had to stop frequently to drink my Gatorade which gave me the energy to go the next bit along. The colours during the day are not washed out like the Grand Canyon. Sunset was at 8:22pm, so we decided to have dinner first. What we hadn’t checked on was that Lindsay’s watch matched the time on the phone and we had switched time zones again! As we were washing up, Lindsay said that sun is coming down, you better go. So I grabbed my camera and tripod and walked as fast as I could to Sunset Point. When I got there, I was too late. I asked some British tourists what time they had, and they had the same as Lindsay. They thought that because of the valleys, sunset was different than here. I still hadn’t twigged that we all had the wrong time. I stayed and took some shots at a slow shutter speed which look really good and another torist let me try his 1.5x teleconverter. I need one of these too! A friend had lent him his 5D, 70-200 f/2.8 lens and teleconverter! Lucky guy. I want one of these lenses too as mine is only an f/4 and the teleconverter drops down a stop. So the trip wasn’t wasted, there always seems to be a reason we do things, we stop somewhere and we meet someone, who tells us something that we need to know. The next morning, I set the alarm on my iPod for 5:30am. When I woke up, Lindsay said it was only 4:30, so I stayed in bed. Then I thought that I better check the time on the mobile. It was 5:40am by then! So up I get and rush off to Sunset Point again. Lindsay wanted me to get a shot of Thors’ Hammer.
Thor's Hammer
On the way there I saw some Pronghorn (elk) grazing in the grass but it was too dark to take a picture of them, besides I was on a mission. It was freezing and I had my gloves, jacket and beanie on. Camera with two lenses and tripod. I had to walk down the Navajo trail a little bit to get the right perspective of Thor and by then I was very hot. The sun was behind him, which meant the rest of him was in darkness. The shots we had seen had him blanketed in a beautiful light from the front and behind. The light it turns out, at a certain time of the year bounces off the rock behind you and lights up the front. Not so in May! I moved on and went down to sunrise point to get some more pictures and walked a little way down the Queens Garden trail. It was too far to walk back to the campground so I decided to take the bus, so I only had a short walk to the Sunrise carpark. And I waited, and waited and waited. I was cold, I was tired, I was hungry. Lindsay was worried and went looking for me at Sunset point but of course I wasn’t there. It felt like an hour before the bus came, he said they were doing 40 minutes intervals at that time of morning. Right. I don’t think so, someone had a nap. I had to go down to the Visitor centre and change buses, to get the one coming back. I think I was away for about three hours. Lindsay wasn’t happy. I wasn’t happy either. By the time I walked in from the bus stop to our campsite I was exhausted. We had to leave our campsite by 11am as we weren’t staying the night. We had been invited to dinner by a photographer and his wife who were having friends over too. Luckily they have showers at the General Store, so we could have a shower and wash our hair.

Bill had told us a couple of nights before about a camping spot not far from Bryce, so we went somewhere in that vicinity to spend the day. It turned out it was bear and mountain lion country, but we didn’t see any. Dinner was great and Bill was taking a photo of the full moon, so I grabbed my camera and tripod and he told me what setting I should have on my camera to get the best result. You can see the shading on the moon, I am very pleased with the result. He also took me through his gallery showing me some of his favourite pictures with moons in them. It was a great night and we stayed the night near their hot houses and had breakfast in the morning with them. Lindsay had had too many Margaritas to drive to our camping spot nearby.

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