Virgin River, Sunset, Zion National Park

Virgin River, Sunset, Zion National Park

Despite just taking a trip specifically to Zion National Park, my two previous visits here have actually not been very productive photographically, and I did not have a great experience with it. This is largely because we have not given it a fair chance, and had only stopped by briefly for some cliche photographs. Zion happens to be just far enough from our meeting point in Las Vegas to be able to arrive just in time for sunset, and that has meant stopping to photograph The Watchman - a classic sunset vista. On this trip we had ample time to do something different and yet, after an afternoon photographing in Nevada, we found ourselves once again back in Zion just in time for the sunset without any fresh ideas. We were back at The Watchman for a third time.

We stopped, again, at the classic bridge over the Virgin River lined with Cottonwood Trees beautifully framing the sunset on The Watchman. This scene has been photographed to death and, truthfully, is at its best in autumn anyway, when the leaves have changed color. We started to disperse from this spot in search of anything different to photograph. After some struggling through branches and hillsides I started following a rough trail along the south bank of the Virgin River. While little was catching my eye photographically, I kept noticing occasional patches in the river where the glow of sunset on the red rock above would reflect. My new goal was then to find some scene that emphasized those reflections, which proved rather harder than I’d expected.

The end result was just this point along the river where it took a turbulent plunge through some river rocks. I took several photographs to find some order in the randomness of the river, and included a little of the upper bank at the top of the frame, essentially to anchor it with some context. I had hoped to find a broader scene in which to include the river but despite my efforts didn’t find quite what I had hoped for. Nonetheless, it was the reflections in the river that I had wanted to share, and I think the simpler composition succeeds in that.

Nikon D90 | Nikon 70-210mm@110mm | f/16 | 1/8s | ISO200 | Tripod

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