I last visited Bryce Canyon National Park almost three years ago. Bryce is an other-worldly place of hoodoos and other colorful, sculpted rock formations. When I make landscape photographs, I especially like to photograph at sunrise and sunset because the light is best at those times. During this trip to Bryce Canyon, I decided to create two panoramic photographs from the same location--one at sunrise, and one at sunset. Here’s the sunset photograph, which I made first.
When I arrived at the viewpoint, the sky was cloudy and mostly blocking the sun. The entire landscape was in shadow, and these conditions were not good for the photograph I wanted to make. One thing I’ve learned from landscape photography, however, is to have patience. I’ve also learned that the sky conditions can change quickly, especially at sunset. It wasn’t completely overcast, and if the clouds broke enough to let some sunlight through, it would be a really good opportunity for a beautiful photograph. After an anxious wait, while the sun was still just above the horizon, the clouds started to break and the sun came through. The clouds above were lit up creating a beautiful sky, and the landscape on the southeast side of the canyon was glowing a deep orange color. My patience paid off, and I was very happy with the photograph I was able to make.
The next morning I returned, but unfortunately the clouds were completely blocking the sun. I couldn’t get what I wanted that morning, but I returned the following morning. It was perfectly clear that second morning, and now the sun was casting its early morning golden orange glow on the Bryce Canyon amphitheater to the northwest.
It’s really interesting to me to compare the two photographs. I like them both for different reasons. I like the way the sun lights up the landscape at sunrise. At sunset we get some of that light, but we also have a much more dramatic and interesting sky. The feel of the photographs is completely different, which I find fascinating. If you think about it, what’s the difference between sunrise and sunset? At both times, the sun is low in the sky, and the landscape fills with yellow, red, and orange colors. But when I look at these two photographs, they feel completely different. The sunset photograph feels like sunset. That couldn’t be sunrise. I don’t know why. And the sunrise photograph feels like sunrise. It feels like the start of the new day. Maybe it’s just me because I was there, but when I look at these photographs, those are some of the feelings I get from them. Whether you get those feelings from them or not, I hope you enjoy viewing these photographs.