Canyon Dawn

The Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA

The Grand Canyon at dawn (south rim, Arizona, USA)
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Sunrise at the Grand Canyon. Nancy and I are driving across country and have stayed the night at the El Tovar Hotel, a historic hotel perched right on the south rim of the Grand Canyon. It is only February and the Grand Canyon is actually at altitude (about 7,000 feet above sea level), so the weather is cool and crisp. (OK, so it’s pretty darned cold. But it will warm up to just “cool” once the day warms up a bit.) There is still snow in the canyon and around the rim. The air is clear and the day will be bright.

This morning we got up a little bit before dawn and drove about a mile down the road from “Canyon Village” (where all the hotels are) to Yaki Overlook. The hotel has published sunrise/sunset timetables and the guide books say this is the perfect place to photograph dawn at the Canyon. We arrive a few minutes before the sun and walk to the overlook in the predawn light. We can see where we are and where we’re going, but at this hour the canyon is just a very dark, very deep, gap in the view. The sun gradually rises behind us, bright and clear. The trees and rocks around us light up with a warm glow. Soon, the warm orange-yellow rays of the morning sun clear the canyon rim and illuminate the colorful rock cliffs on the far side of the canyon. The morning sun moves gradually down the canyon walls to cast a warm glow over the scene and illuminate a few trees clinging precariously on the cliffs.

(Nikon D70s, ISO 400, Nikkor wide-zoom lens at 16 mm, f/5.6 at 1/60 sec.)