Zion Narrows IV

cross-bedding

Careful attention to hidden boulders is essential when hiking the Narrows of Zion National Park, Utah

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Zion Narrows III

cross-bedding

The pronounced cross-bedding (diagonal layering) of this Navajo Sandstone wall exposed by Virgin river erosion is the effect of wind drifting sands of the largest known sand desert formed in the Jurassic era lasting for 56 million years (185 million years ago). This photograph contrasts the ever new Virgin River with this ancient rock, deepening shadows suggest the depth of time.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Zion Narrows II

more Narrows information and perfecting the photograph

My research for Zion Narrows I included a useful map. Perusing the the National Park Service web site I could find nothing for the Narrows. This week, while perfecting the three file merge, I kicked around in “google” and found this map hidden away in a section devoted to dedicated canyoneers planning multiple day backpacks through the entire canyon. These trips are from the “top down” and, I suppose, they do not want to expose the information to day trippers.

Anyway, I downloaded the map and present it here. You can either click on the hyperlink or click “download” to view the map. The file is a 2.5 MB pdf, if you want to download it. The trail accessible from the park proper starts from the bottom. Pam and I made it to just beyond where Ordway canyon joins, about 2 hours from the start. Note there are NO places to escape a flash flood beyond this point and, below, we learned from observation there are few places and many of these were for hikers more, lets say, nimble than Pam and myself.

The following is the result of several hours work merging the three files of Zion Narrows I. Click on the image to open a larger version in a new tab.

This is a comparison of the before and after photographs. Enjoy!!

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Zion Narrows I

Virgin River at work

Our first day was spent hiking up to the narrowest section of Zion Canyon, called “Wall Street,” where the gorge walls are 1,000 feet high. There, the river is 20 feet across in places and not much wider anywhere. There is NO high ground to escape flash floods, only the high, unforgiving canyon walls.

As we were planning to venture beyond the tame sidewalk of “The Riverside Walk”, our first stop was to an outdoor supply store in Springdale to rent canyoneering shoes, to wade the river comfortably and safely, a sturdy stick to improve stability and free advice on current conditions for the potential of flash floods. You can see the stick in this portrait, mid-narrows. This was July, with a danger of torrential downpours, and we were nervous about this; however, proceeded anyway.

Several miles in, I set up the Manfrotto 468Mg studio tripod with the Kodak DSC pro SLR-c (the “c” specifies compatibility with Canon lenses) and the Canon 50 mm f/1.4 USM lens. Here we look downstream, the way we came. I waited for a clear shot w/o fellow hikers coming up from behind. This was before investing in a wide-angle lens. My plan was to stitch the three shot together.

Click on each photograph for a larger view, in new tab.

The work remaining on the rough draft are to match the edges as close as possible, smooth out the differences until the joins are indiscernible.

Here are the same photographs as a slide show. I enjoy how the long exposure blurred water lead the viewer into the gorge walls.

Captured with a Kodak DCS Pro SLE/c dslr and a Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 lens stabilized with the Manfrotto Studio Tripod model 475 and the 468 Hydrostatic ball head.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Hanging Gardens II

Refreshing and live-giving mist

Effects of these dual waterfalls is deeply refreshing for the people on the narrow walkway underneath.

Photograph two of this Hanging Garden series has the aspect shifted slightly to include the sheer cliff hovering over the waterfalls. A low ISO and tamped down diaphragm (f/8) resulting in longer exposure (1.3 sec) impart a presence for two low volume waterfalls.

Captured with a Kodak DCS Pro SLE/c dslr and a Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 lens stabilized with the Manfrotto Studio Tripod model 475 and the 468 Hydrostatic ball head.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Hanging Gardens I

Waterfalls high overhead

Visitors to Zion on a narrow path beneath this vast overhanging cliff of Navajo sandstone.

Changing the camera angle from the last “Hanging Garden” photograph, with visitors, here the visitors are less apparent, overawed by the waterfall. A low ISO and tamped down diaphragm (f/8) resulting in longer exposure (0.8 sec) captures and blurs just enough the fine waterfalls.

Captured with a Kodak DCS Pro SLE/c dslr and a Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 lens stabilized with the Manfrotto Studio Tripod model 475 and the 468 Hydrostatic ball head.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Lush Zion with visitors

Slickrock!!

Visitors enjoying a waterfall mist (upper left) in the summer desert heat.

Notice a combination of low ISO and tamped down diaphragm (f/8) resulting in longer exposure (1.3 sec) has the facial features of two visitors blurred, the third was transfixed by the experience of Zion Hanging Gardens.

The header photograph is myself, at work beneath Zion cliffs, taken by Pamela Wills.

Captured with a Kodak DCS Pro SLE/c dslr and a Canon EF 50 mm f/1.4 lens stabilized with the Manfrotto Studio Tripod model 475 and the 468 Hydrostatic ball head.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

History and Ghosts of the Triangle T Ranch

a ghost story

In my last post, Homecoming Parade 2003, I described my initial reconnection with the University of Arizona (U of A) as a 1975 graduate and alumnus.  This personal project of involvement with U of A and Arizona continued through 2011 with annual autumn trips to coincide with Homecoming.  The travel was as a CALS (College of Agriculture and Life Sciences) Alumni Board of Directors member, a primary responsibility was raising funds for scholarships.

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The Amerind Foundation and weathered boulders of Texas Canyon granite.  Beyond are the Dragoon Mountains

I met, Linda Kelly, the owner of the Triangle T Guest Ranch, while camping in the Chiricahua Mountains.  I arrived a week before homecoming to photograph the landscape, nature and rock formations of the Chiricahua National Monument.  Click this link for my Arizona Online gallery, including some work from that time.  Linda and a friend were visiting that day and we struck up a conversation about the area and her Triangle T Guest ranch.  The next day I was scheduled to guest lecture a class at the U of A, as an alumnus of CALS.  The ranch was on the way and I needed a place to stay, so Linda gave me directions and I checked in.

She gave me a tour of the incredible weather granite rock formations of Texas Canyon and, meanwhile, shared stories of the history of Texas Canyon.  It is appropriate for the Amerind Foundation to be here (see first photograph), the winter camp of an Apache tribe for generations.

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Weathered granite boulders greet visitors to the Triangle T Ranch.

That night, my request was for a room storied to be haunted by a spirit they call “Grandma,” as in when her foot steps wake you from a sound sleep you say, “It’s all right, Grandmother.”  She woke me that night, footsteps in the dark, hollow on the wood floor, the room filled with a hard cold.  I talked to her, without a response, while swinging my legs out of bed to reach the gas heater in the wall.  I turned on the heat and the sound of expanding metal heat fins lulled me to sleep.

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I call this pair, “Father and Son.”  The restaurant is built around a round boulder. 

It made a good story for the students.  They were surprised I could fall back asleep, but after all I had to be there the following morning.

Texas CanyonGranite2007-3
Your imagination roams among the natural forms.

I gave Linda a few of my photographs from that day and we made arrangements for the Triangle T to supply a two night package for the CALS “Dean’s Almost World Famous Burrito Breakfast” silent auction during 2008 homecoming.

Texas CanyonGranite2007-4
A tableau of figures keep silent watch with the ghosts of Texas Canyon.
Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Zion Merged

revelatory

The first photograph is the myriad fractures within the Zion Navajo sandstone, hidden water transits from rainfall miles away.

The second photograph, water emerging as a blessed sacrament, bestowal of life nourishing wildflowers, ferns, mosses, trees.

For this third photograph the first two were merged in photoshop for a revelation. I did not take time to smooth the transition, visible as a line. I graduated from this merge technique with the purchase of a wide angle (24 mm) lens. It is so difficult to organize all the angles and exposures, plus time to bring it together.

All photographs from the Kodak DSC Pro SLR/c, Canon Lens EF 200mm 1:2.8 L II stabilized via a Manfrotto 468MG with Hydrostatic Ball Head.

Can you spot the foot path?

Here is a gallery of the three photographs, to flip back and forth.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Three Zion Images

full of ferns, wildflowers, and mosses.

“Water seeping out of the Navajo sandstone creates tranquil springs and the unique “hanging gardens” for which Zion is famous, full of ferns, wildflowers, and mosses.”

Here are three exposures of the same scene.

Click on an image for a closer view.

Can you spot the foot path?

Here is a gallery of the three photographs, to flip back and forth. the primary difference is the exposure within the shadow under the projecting cliff face.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved