Day 3: Grand Canyon

by John Nelson May. 07, 2011 4055 views

The 3rd day of the Father-Son Photography Adventure was started awfully early: 4:45 AM. We got up to photograph sunrise over the Grand Canyon. And it was 16 degrees outside. (oh the things we'll do for a blasted picture, right?)

Sunrise viewing was crowded, but non-photographers left right after the sun broke over the rim. Dad and I stayed around for another 2-3 hours photographing and walking around.

Apparently, the indigenous elk are pretty accustomed to people. We were standing withing 8 feet of 12 female elk while they grazed around the visitor center.

Evidenced by the last couple of pictures, scale at the Grand Canyon is unfathomable at the rim. A small blob on the side of mountain below us turned out to be a 2-story bathroom/check-point for hikers. Even seeing this through the lens, it doesn't compute in my head of the vastness and scale of the Canyon.

The very first light breaking over the Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Sunrise over the Grand Canyon. I'm amazed at the color changes that occur in seconds as the sun rises in such a colorful place. Brilliant reds, blues, & greens will be drab the next minute. Thankfully, I took a million pictures to capture any moment I wanted. :)

Taken only minutes apart from the image above. Notice the lack of vibrant colors as the light changes.

Just me and the Canyon. I set up my camera at a viewpoint, told Dad to take a pic when I got to that little rock over there. It was almost a 1/2 mile away! (scale is unfathomable). I slowly climbed out there and posed. While it doesn't look bad from here, I was 12 feet from the end and it was about 10 feet wide. With a deadly drop on 3 sides, I was nervous at best. But look at the shot I got!!

Even the locals come to marvel at the Grand Canyon!

Scale: if you look along the first ridge, you'll see a trail. Full resolution, you'll see a tiny building. Now go to the next shot…

Scale: using a 400mm lens with a 2x extender (& a 1.6 cropped sensor), this shot is just over 1,300mm. And that's a 2-story check-in point along the trail. Notice that there's also about 8 people in this shot. Scale…no comprehension.

Scale: 2 shots above, you'll notice the small trail that winds around the edge of the canyon down toward the building seen above. Here, at 1,300mm, you can see 3 hikers making their way down the trail.

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There are 8 comments , add yours!
Brenda Nelson 9 years, 8 months ago

One of my favorite memories in my whole life was sunrise over the Canyon! So breathtaking and awe-inspiring!

9 years, 8 months ago Edited
David Cardona 9 years, 9 months ago


9 years, 9 months ago Edited
Andrea 9 years, 9 months ago


9 years, 9 months ago Edited
Jumic 9 years, 9 months ago

very good set of photos. hope can go there...someday

9 years, 9 months ago Edited
Kaitlyn 9 years, 9 months ago

WOW...Fantastic post!!!

9 years, 9 months ago Edited
Ricardo 9 years, 9 months ago

I love gran canyon and I loved your shots!
simply gorgeous to my eyes!

9 years, 9 months ago Edited
Larry Nelson 9 years, 9 months ago

Great shots, John! Of course, the tree shot in #8 appeals to me a LOT! Nice way to show the detail on the check-in and trails - I was there, and it's still hard to comprehend what I was looking at!

9 years, 9 months ago Edited
Lukas Gallo 9 years, 9 months ago

beautiful photos!!!love it!!

9 years, 9 months ago Edited