080037-grand-canyon-sunset

Grand View

© 2008 Adam Kenneth Campbell

LOCATION

Moran Point
Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon Village, Arizona
United States

GPS

N 36°00’18.8″
W 111°55’27.2″

THE STORY

One thing I recommend to anyone getting into serious photography is to get comfortable working ALONE. While it’s possible to capture images in the company of others, it can also cause serious problems.

The most important thing about taking photos is the light. The light is everything. Without good light your subject doesn’t matter, I guarantee the image will suck. The second most important thing is patience. Sometimes you have to be willing to sit in the same place for a long time, waiting for the right light or situation to occur. Photographers sometimes wait days, months, and even years for the conditions to be right.

The PATIENCE part is what kills the whole thing if you’re trying to juggle photography with socialization of any kind. I was driving through the Grand Canyon with an ex-girlfriend, but we only had one day to soak it in. Her idea of “enjoying the scenery” was more like “let’s eat at a restaurant by the canyon, check out the gift shops, and drive back to Vegas where I can go shopping.”

After eating at the fancy restaurant overlooking the canyon, the only thing I purchased at the gift shop were 2 large bottles of water while saying “We’re going to need these!”

Considering we arrived at the canyon around 8am, when we reached the top of the canyon late in the afternoon after hiking halfway down, and back on a “bunch of rocks covered in donkey shit” — she wasn’t very keen on waiting around for the “golden hour” before sunset.

You cannot have a photographic agenda, AND a social agenda at the same time. They can‘t coexist. It would be easier to get all the religions on that bumper sticker to get along with each other.

If you want to go out and do serious photography, anyone you are spending the day with will get angry and impatient. You will get upset with them over the same reasons. Your want to take your time, make random stops, and sit in one place longer than what most people find acceptable.

This will happen regardless of whether you previously agreed photography would be a big part of the day. People don‘t know what they‘re asking for when they say “Oh, it’s fine, bring your camera, I don’t mind if you want to take some serious photos while we’re there…”

“…I just want to spend the day with YOU!”

In the parking lot next to this overlook, I could tell she was no longer thrilled about spending the day with me.

Upon realizing my DSLR batteries were dead and unable to be recharged in time for the sunset, she screamed “Thank god! Didn’t you get enough pictures of these fucking ROCKS yet? Can’t we just go back to the fucking hotel already?”

I replied “Well, thank god I have another battery…”

I sat there for at least 20 minutes while she sat in the car getting PISSED. And then the sun hit those rocks and BOOM!!!

SNAP!!!

This was the best image captured on the entire trip. The sun slamming into those rocks and the brightness of the snow contrasting against the backdrop of the opposite side which had just dropped into shadow, was the perfect moment to hit that button. 30 seconds later the scene was completely flat, 30 seconds earlier the opposite wall of the canyon was too bright. Every other photo I took looked completely drab with no contrast or solid color until that brief window.

I had to sacrifice enjoying the remainder of this trip for the sake of the photo, but it was worth it. It’s not every day I go sit on the edge of the Grand Canyon. In fact, I haven’t done that since I took this photo.

I am glad I left my ex in the car so I could capture that moment…

ALONE.

KEYWORDS

grand; canyon; national; park; arizona; sunset; golden; hour; snow; winter; vista; panorama; overlook; moran; point; scenic; tourism; rocks; boulders; desert;

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