The forecast was not good. Any time a winter storm with a name is approaching, look out! But after making the late night drive from Zion to Bryce we were hoping for just a brief glimpse at sunrise. I was hiking and photographing with good friend and business partner Ken Koskela. We had originally planned to hike the Narrows and move on to Bryce and eventually hike Coyote Gulch in the Grand Staircase. Well, rain and winter storm warnings changed those plans for us but we were still hopeful for some clouds to clear at sunrise before heading back down to Zion and eventually Valley of Fire where the storm would not be too much of an issue. The Narrows and Coyote Gulch would have to wait for another day. And that's ok, it's always good to look forward to something new to explore on the return trip.
Well, we woke up about an hour before sunrise and it was not raining super hard but the rain was a soaking rain and the clouds were heavy. And it was maybe 35F so there was some sleet and snow in the mix. Then we heard the forecast for a winter storm warning for southern Utah and that cemented the decision to head back down. Although we would have loved to photographed Bryce in the snow, we didn't have quite enough time to wait out a storm until the roads could be cleared and safe for driving. So, it was all or nothing for sunrise and we decided to shoot Sunset Point which provides lots of interesting perspectives to photograph the canyon. And so it did not look good up until 10 minutes before sunrise. But suddenly the clouds miraculously broke and we headed down the trail to get set up and take some shots as long as the light would hold. Unbelievably, we had about 30 minutes to shoot which was amazing given the forecast and conditions. The light in Bryce is unique and the hoodoos really glow adding to the surreal nature of the moment. We were super excited about the open window we had and made the most of it. The lesson for us at least was to give it a shot. You never know what might develop in spite of the forecast. Weather moving in or out is always dramatic and if you can shoot it safely with a healthy dose of optimism, you might just get something interesting.