4am...is just a bit early to start your hike...especially when the coffee shop doesn't open until 6am! But we are all pretty stoked and headed out to kick off the workshop with some spectacular views overlooking the main canyon. This was a 7 mile round trip hike and we were hoping the clouds and colors would put on a show and we were not disappointed. Fantastic clouds don't always happen in the Southwest but on this morning it did.
One of our highlights was a full day of hiking and photographing in the Narrows. The ideal conditions include some fall color lining the river banks and mostly clear skies which create the dramatic glowing canyon walls. About 7 miles round trip with 5 miles in the river, it's very important to have the proper gear. The river flow was mild to moderate and water temperature around 45F. The trick is deciding where to be in the river when the glow light happens. In the end, we were able to hit some fantastic locations in dramatic light in the upper and lower sections of the Virgin River.
Another highlight for us was an overnight camp in the backcountry of the Paria Canyon Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness area. This allowed us to photograph a sunset, sunrise and even do some night photography in some amazing sandstone formations. Temperatures dropped down to 25F at night, so just a bit chilly...But great light for both sessions and even some clear skies at night. Quite an adventure driving out there and back...
Our last stop would be in the region around Page including some Glen Canyon locations and a lesser known slot canyon, which we had virtually to ourselves. The slot canyons are worlds unto themselves, with colors, textures and reflected light that defies the imagination.
All in all, we photographed intensely, had some adventure, and made some compelling images. And even though we pushed hard, everyone got along well, told way too many good stories, and had a fair bit of good food along the way.