The Grand Canyon is considered one of the natural wonders of the world. Teddy Roosevelt famously said there is no way to improve it, it was already so perfect. Today it sits as one of the most popular national parks and undoubtedly one of the crown jewels of the NPS.
I make regular visits to the Grand Canyon to photograph it. I have visited both the north and south rims. I have yet to make the trip to the bottom, but it is on my list of things to do.
In May of 2016 I went west with a plan of spending a couple of nights in the park at the south rim before driving over to Zion.
My plan was to visit some of my favorite viewpoints for Milky Way images, sunrises and sunsets.
Do understand that this is a busy park. So busy that west of the lodge you have to take a shuttle bus to access the points. That is actually good thing as it cuts down on traffic and parking issues at the overlooks.
I had a plan to drive the rim east of the lodge where several of my favorite viewpoints are.
I went out around 0400 to Grandview knowing it had a grand view to the east. sure enough the Milky Way was arched over the canyon and I was able to photograph it over the depths of the canyon. The canyon is very dark during the new moon and on prior visits I got nothing but black inside it. However having switched to the Sony A7S for my night work, I hoped I would be able to capture detail in the canyon.
Sure enough the images I was getting showed the ridges, domes and temples in the canyon. I was able to use both my fisheye as well as other lenses for some fun images.
As night faded I went farther east to Lipan Point to await sunrise. Here there are three views to the river as well as the desert. It is also one of the less popular spots meaning I can often have it to myself.
Clouds were building in the east and I was treated to an amazing sunrise. Probably the best one I have gotten in this park.
I spent time hiking the rim. Here is where the shuttle is really great. Walk as far as you want and then catch the shuttle bus back.
I spent my second morning at the south rim walking the rim looking for the right spot. The clouds did not look like a great sunrise was in the making but I happened to be at the right spot when the sun popped out between the clouds making for some great morning light.
All in all two nights are never enough for this spot. Despite the crowds it is still a place I like to keep returning too and I am already working on that next trip.