Grand Canyon National Park, May 2007
Painting with Light
Until recently I had not been to the Grand Canyon since the late 1980s; several lifetimes ago, or so it seems. In spite of my nearly two-decade absence, I was welcomed with open arms upon my arrival at Desert View on the south rim. Well perhaps not open arms, but open wings... as I walked to the edge of the overlook, I noticed a California Condor out over the canyon sailing in my direction. I watched with amazement as it flew closer and closer to me, until it finally veered off and headed back over the canyon when it was about 30 feet away. When a bird with a 9 foot wingspan is gliding in your direction, 30 feet seems like 5 feet. It was an incredible experience to witness one of the world's largest and rarest birds from so close, and less than a minute after setting foot on the rim. Thank you for an incredible welcome, Grand Canyon.
My first day there was "beautiful" and sunny and cloudless... a perfect warm May day for wandering and dreaming, but less than ideal for photography. For any landscape - and particularly this one - there's nothing more boring than a bright, cloudless sky. I spent a wonderful day reacquainting myself with the canyon and listening to the voices of visitors from all over the world, yet the harsh, glaring light was less than inspiring. So I headed south to Flagstaff for further adventures, not sure when I would make it back to the canyon. The next day I saw an exhibit at the Museum of Northern Arizona that blew my mind: "Lasting Light: 125 Years of Grand Canyon Photography". Regardless of what else happened on this journey, seeing this exhibit made the trip worthwhile. I looked, and looked carefully at these images... I saw... I learned.
A few days later after an aborted visit to a hot and hazy Sedona and a decision to stay in northern Arizona rather than head south, I played a hunch based upon reports of clouds and "worse", that is, better weather. This time the canyon light did not disappoint, and here is a sampling of what I experienced. Thank you again, Grand Canyon, for inviting me back. Next time, it won't take me 20 years to return.
- John Lorenz