Clearing Storm, Morning Light. Zion National Park, Utah. October 13, 2012. © Copyright 2012 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.
Clearing storm clouds and morning light on sandstone towers, Zion National Park
We had arrived in Zion the day before, driving through rain across lower Utah and upper Arizona, stopping to photograph here and there including the still-wet upper elevation areas of Zion. On this morning we got up relatively early so that we could be on one of the first shuttles up into the canyon, and the day began with sun coming through breaks in the remaining clouds from the previous day’s rain. In my view, clouds in Zion canyon are not usually all that conducive to photography, since I tend to rely on the diffused midday light coming from open sky to light up my subjects, which are often found in the shade. Clouds can produce too much shade and move the color balance away from the warm tones of daylight and toward the dark and blue tones.
On the other hand, I love sunlight broken and muted by clouds, especially if they are moving and are a bit transparent. I love shooting in Yosemite Valley when winter storms or fog are swirling around the Valley’s walls and spires, alternately revealing and hiding bits of the cliffs. As we rode the shuttle into Zion Canyon, with a vague plan of heading toward the middle or upper part of the canyon, I looked up to see that same sort of effect high on the cliffs along the west side of lower Zion Canyon – early morning sun was shining through breaks in clouds that swirled around the upper cliffs, alternately revealing and concealing their form. Plans change, and we quickly hopped off the shuttle. I put the long lens on the camera and spent a few minutes exploring this subject.
G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer whose subjects include the Pacific coast, redwood forests, central California oak/grasslands, the Sierra Nevada, California deserts, urban landscapes, night photography, and more.
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Text, photographs, and other media are © Copyright G Dan Mitchell (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from G Dan Mitchell.