November 7, 2014

Nature's Transitions

Nature's Transitions - Zion National Park

Over the years, I've become rather spoiled when scouting images here in Zion. Often, even with fall color scenes, I'll come upon a very promising composition under less than ideal lighting conditions. Assuming the weather isn't forecast to dramatically change, I know I have a day or maybe three (in some cases, even years!) to attempt making the photograph in more favorable lighting conditions.

This trip, however, nature has reminded me her transitions can be quick, unexpected, dramatic. The comparison image here is a small section of stream taken only three days apart. I'd discovered the leaves in cloudy conditions with winds gusting so hard I had to mind I wan't standing underneath pine trees and their resident kamikaze pine cones. And when rain began to polka dot the ground around me, I hastily departed the area not wanting to risk traversing steep wet slick rock (my only route back), a particularly dangerous scenario in canyon country.

The conditions that drove me out of the canyon dissipated and while rain did return later in the evening, it was light enough I felt confident the leaves would still be there when conditions were favorable. So I was shocked when, three days later, I eagerly started up the canyon and discovered dramatic changes. The rain had been heavy enough to mildly flood the stream bed. New channels were carved in sandy bottoms. Water pockets were refilled and clear of wind spawn debris. Oily sand pockets soaked maroon and violet were repainted tan and bone. The transitions were, in their microcosmic way, startling.

Climbing the slick rock I weakly held on to a glimmer of hope my composition of leaves remained intact. But when I arrived, clear water reflecting trees and blue sky left me wondering if I'd merely dreamt the image.

One other thing I've learned over the years under such circumstances, there is only one reasonable response orchestrated in three simple steps.

Smile. Bow. Walk on.


There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs.

Ansel Adams