Monday, February 22, 2016

Sunrise, Sunset

(Continuing the recap of my mid-October trip to southern Utah and Northern Arizona...)

It had been a busy first day at Bryce Canyon National Park.  My hubby and I hiked Queens Garden and Navajo Loop and then explored the Bryce Canyon scenic drive.  Now, tired and hungry, we were ready for some dinner and rest. 

Bryce Canyon, minutes before sunset park map showed two lookouts on the main canyon rim, named Sunrise and Sunset Point.  Per my guidebook, experiencing the sun rising and falling at these overlooks was not to be missed.

Crowds at the overlook

So what's a photographer to do?  Of course, I wasn't about to pass up a possible opportunity for some spectacular shots!

Glowing orange hoodoos

After checking into our camper cabin, Roger worn out and suffering from scenery overload, chose a rest before dinner over experiencing the sunset.  So, I set out to Sunset Point with only my camera and tripod for company.

Another view of the orange canyon

However, I soon discovered I'd be far from alone.  The narrow overlook platform was crammed with people - photographers of all types jockeying their tripods for the prize spot.  Mixed in with the more serious camera buffs were other tourists, wiggling amongst the tripods, holding their smartphones high.  To top it off, a few tour buses full of Asian visitors unloaded at the last minute, and these people swarmed the walkways, chattering loudly in their native tongues.

Right after sunset

It was far from the peaceful scene I had imagined.  Adding to my disappointment, that night's sunset was a total dud.  Clouds obscured the skies, and the canyon's hoodoos glowed orange only briefly before darkness descended like a thick blanket.

Sunrise sky the next morning

After the sunset debacle, I wasn't too excited about waking up early to catch sunrise.  But my hubby convinced me to give it another try.

First light on the hoodoos

So I set my phone alarm for o'dark hundred.  When it first chimed, I was sorely tempted to roll back over and sleep in.  But I knew this might be my only chance to capture a sunrise over Bryce Canyon and roused myself.

Sunshine explodes over the horizon

Only a half mile down the rim trail from it's companion Sunset Point, I arrived at Sunrise Point in predawn darkness.  A half dozen sleepy photographers had staked claims along the railing and were bundled up against the morning chill.  I picked what I hoped to be a good spot and prepared to wait for daylight.

Glowing rock formations

But just like Sunset Point the previous evening, I wasn't alone for long.  Crowds of people began arriving, some setting up tripods, others hovering between the more serious photographers, clutching smartphone cameras.  I was amazed at the number of people willing to get up at such an early hour!

Day breaks

Sunrise Point was just as much of a circus as Sunset Point had been the night before.  As I patiently waited for the sun to show it's face, people crowded in front of my camera.  Although I didn't care at that moment, I shooed them away when the sun began to peep over the horizon.

Another view of the canyon

That morning's sunrise was much better than the sunset.  A few wispy clouds illuminated into a soft pink color.  And then, hearing the crowd gasp, I watched the first rays of daylight break over Bryce Canyon.

Rosy pink rocks

I concentrated on one area of the canyon, a unique formation of arches and narrow cliff edges.  A small group of photographers had set up across from these hoodoos, and in a minute I saw why.  The rising sunlight bathed this rock in a warm, pink glow.

Spectacular!  I took copious images, from many different angles and focal lengths.  Then I trained my tripod on some of the other columnar hoodoos lit up in brilliant shades of orange.

Hoodoo highlights

Totally glad I'd gotten up early, I left Sunrise Point with a memory card full of keepers.  Arriving back at the cabin, Roger informed me he wasn't feeling well.  The high altitude was bothering him, affecting his sleep.  Since we'd seen most of Bryce Canyon the previous day, there wasn't much else to do, so my hubby suggested we head home a day early. 

So long Bryce Canyon!

Under a brilliant blue sky (finally a sunny day!) we packed our car and bid Bryce Canyon National Park, and Utah, goodbye.  Despite the soggy weather changing a few plans, it had been a wonderful trip.  I'd finally been able to check a few of my "must see" national parks off the bucket list.

This ends my National Park vacation recaps!  Hope you've enjoyed them.  Now to catch up on all the other things I've been doing in the past couple of months.....  :)

Sharing with:  Through My Lens


  1. Bryce Canyon is one of those places that looks as though it can't possibly exist! I'm not surprised that people would get up early to see it. Your photos capture the magic perfectly without too much intrusion from goggling humankind!

  2. Absolutely fabulous captures, especially that sunrise!

  3. This is almost beyond belief. It is just mind blowing.
    What is the altitude?

  4. Excelente trabalho e belas fotografias.
    Um abraço e continuação de uma boa semana.

  5. Hello, Bryce Canyon will always be a favorite of mine. I love the hoodoos and arches. Gorgeous views! The sunrise and sunset shots are all beautiful. As always, your photos are awesome. Great post. Happy Tuesday, enjoy your day!

  6. These brought back wonderful memories of a trip there a few years ago. Your photos are brilliant!

  7. Such a fascinating landscape!!! I'd love to see it "live" some day.

  8. Hello Linda,
    Very great shots. Amazing these rocks.

    Many greetings,

  9. Lovely photos. It's an addiction only those in the grip of it can understand as I've often walked miles added on to a trip just to get that one special snap that most folk will not really value or understand. It's the effort and the memories created as much as the actual shot itself as we all need something to get excited about.

  10. Spectacular shots! And yes, I've really enjoyed all your posts on the Utah parks!

  11. I've visited Bryce twice in the early spring and had good luck with weather and no crowds. It was cold, but I was prepared for that. I hiked down on the Sunrise Trail and took photos with nobody present. The chill down on the canyon floor was unbelievable though! Your photos show the amazing formations - I love the breaking light.

  12. Stunning shots! What an incredible place to visit. Simply breathtaking!

  13. So lovely! But the crowds...certainly the biggest drawback to our National Parks.

  14. I liked the light of the sunrise on the rocks. The colors are amazing and it looks out of this world. I updated my post on Picasa with more info. It will continue until May 1st.

  15. Thank you so much for all the posts and wonderful photos. I makes me want to visit all these places SO much more.

  16. I haven't been to Bryce in a long time. It looks the same but it looks like there's a lot more visitors now.

  17. Hi! The proverb says," The early bird gets the worm." It's nice that you could see the Sunset. I enjoyed your photos very much. Thanks for sharing.

  18. So much beauty to take in. - I'm not sure about trying to get photos with all the crowds (that's a bummer) but I think you captured the canyon so well. I really enjoyed your shots very much.

  19. How funny! I guess with names like Sunrise and Sunset Point, you're bound to attract the photographers. You really caught the light both times though!

  20. I am working on catching up with my reading and so glad you fought the crowds for thos I don't have to. LOL

  21. I know the feeling about the sunset but your photos are still amazing!

  22. I will never forget Bryce Canyon....great picture!

  23. These are all beautiful shots, but how irritating to have swarms of people like that. Seems like mid-October shouldn't be so crowded!

  24. Beautiful....I want to go some day.

  25. Totally, totally awesome. Some people say Bryce is the best. Others say Zion, but really you can't compare. They each have their own spectacular beauty. So glad you got to visit so we could too.

  26. Those spikes of the canyon bathed in the golden light of sunset are just marvelous. Such stunning photography here. Thanks for sharing your post with "Through My Lens"

    Mersad Donko Photography

  27. Thanks for sharing this place I have never been to. planning a trip out that way this summer so looking forward to seeing these amazing views up close. Your photos are lovely and never a waste of time to get up at the crack of dawn to get these.

  28. Absolutely stunning lighting and photos.

  29. Just gorgeous! The sunshine makes the colours truly glow.


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