Grand Circle — Bryce Canyon

I have spent the last few days viewing God’s handiwork in ways I’ve never before experienced.

Sunrise Point — Bryce Canyon National Park

We all met in front of Ruby’s Inn in the pitch black at 6:00a.m. for a trek to the a sunrise photoshoot on the rim of Bryce Canyon from Sunrise Point. Imagine more than 20 enthusiastic photographers setting up their cameras in 30 degree weather to shoot the sun rising and casting a glow through the hoodoos – sedimentary rock formations. It was so bitter cold that we all had to wear heavy gloves and hats with ear flaps. Once I had set up my camera on the tripod, and grabbed another sip of steaming black coffee, I stepped back to behold this amazing expanse of beauty created by the Lord, my magnificent Creator. As I waited for the sun to rise, I talked with the Lord about how beautiful His work of creation is. Matt Kloskowski and I shivered side by side shooting the breeze about various camera settings and shooting in cold temperatures. He is really one of my favorite professional photographers — what talent! And then, the sun rose and lit up the whole canyon. It was an life confirming event to shoot this sunrise because it was so beautiful and we had waited so long for the perfect light. I almost felt as though we should give the Lord a standing ovation. The heavens do, indeed declare the glory of God. What a magical moment!

Bryce Canyon National Park is a national park located in southwestern Utah in the United States. The major feature of the park is Bryce Canyon, which despite its name, is not a canyon but a collection of giant natural amphitheaters along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Bryce is distinctive due to geological structures called hoodoos, formed by frost weathering and stream erosion of the river and lake bed sedimentary rocks. The red, orange, and white colors of the rocks provide spectacular views for park visitors. Bryce sits at a much higher elevation than nearby Zion National Park. The rim at Bryce varies from 8,000 to 9,000 feet (2,400 to 2,700 m).

Something that has so blessed me about this trip is the fact that all of us have a passion for photography. And many of those attending are Christians. And while we are out in the field attempting to capture just a glimpse of God’s beautiful creation we get to fellowship and share about the Lord’s greatness and glory. Breathtaking views abound and then the Lord blesses through these people.

One of the greatest blessings of all has been spending time with Bill Fortney — he is an amazing photographer and loves the Lord with all his heart. His Light Workshops of His Light Ministries is such a blessing to so many, including me. Just today I was up early having my quiet time in the lobby and who should come out and sit in the chair next to me but Bill himself. He and I started talking and he shared some amazing, encouraging, and inspirational stories of what God has done in his life. You can’t imagine how blessed I was! He said something that was so great about photography — something to the effect that a person’s photos show what is in their heart. Photography is more about the heart than the equipment or training or anything else. I like that and I will be thinking about that in the days to come.

By the way, I captured a candid moment of Bill Fortney and R.C. Concepcion at Ruby’s Inn getting outfitted in new western hats. What do you think?

A Deer Encounter — Bryce Canyon National Park

So I was driving along the road back from the sunrise shoot and I suddenly noticed some movement along the side of the road in a nearby grove of trees. It was a mule deer, you could tell by the big ears. And then I looked more closely and there were three deer! Mule deer are the largest mammals at Bryce Canyon. They can usually be seen on summer mornings and evenings in meadows along park roads. By browsing on shrubs and young trees along the margin of the forest they help maintain the meadow environment. But unchecked numbers of deer can quickly outstrip available vegetation. I could have kept driving especially since we were all supposed to be back at Ruby’s Inn for breakfast. No way. So what do you think I did? I jammed on the brakes and swerved over to the side of the road, put my 70-300 mm telephoto lens on my Nikon D7000, and walked slowly and quietly to a grove of trees right by the deer. They all stopped foraging, and looked up at me curiously, but they didn’t run. The closest deer saw me and froze, staring straight at me. I leaned against the tree and didn’t move. I stayed completely still, something I learned from Moose Peterson about shooting wildlife. When they see you, stand still. I knew I might have a really great photo opportunity. What a gift from the Lord that morning. After about 45 minutes, those deer were like my friends and I captured a lot of incredible shots. This one deer in the grassy area seem mesmerized, staring straight into my camera, quietly approaching me with interest as it ate the vegetation. Made a new friend that morning. I got so many wonderful photos of that dear deer especially. It was one of those unforgettable photo ops.

What a time I had there in Bryce Canyon National Park. One of the things I thought about, especially in retrospect over the last few days, is that God is Creator and He is sovereign. If He can create such beauty and make such intricate designs, then nothing is too great for Him. I love the promise in Isaiah 41:10 where God says, “Do not fear for I am with you. Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” I was talking with one of my new photographer friends here and he said that a promise that encouraged him was “I will never leave you or forsake you.” I like that personal promise from the Lord to each one of us.

This final photo in the gallery was taken on the highway to Zion National Park, our next stop on the Grand Circle Red Rock Adventure. And I think it’s a good reminder for all of us — we are on the road to Zion meaning we are on our way to heaven. Psalm 9:11 says, “Sing praises to the LORD, who dwells in Zion; Declare among the peoples His deeds.” The Lord is on the throne, dear friends, and we are on our way to forever in heaven. Hebrews 12:22 tells us: “But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.”

Just as I was on the road to Zion, any who know Christ are on the road to heaven.

I love the adventure of photography.

♥ God bless you in the great adventure of knowing Him!


myPhotoWalk — Grand Circle Red Rock Adventure — Featured Posts

The Grand Circle is a beautiful, expansive region located in the Southwestern United States. Encompassing portions of five states — Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, and Nevada — the Grand Circle contains America’s largest concentration of national parks and monuments, linked together by nationally designated Scenic Byways. Some of America’s most extraordinary scenery can be found within the Grand Circle — Grand Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Lake Powell, Arches National Park, Monument Valley, Utah, and Antelope Canyon, Arizona.

Bill Fortney, a world renowned professional photographer and Nikon legend, founded His Light Ministries upon John 8:12 (NKJV), “Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.'” He conducts His Light Workshops in spectacular photography locations such as Monument Valley, Utah, Glacier National Park, Montana, and The Great Oregon Coast.
Bill Fortney, His Light Ministries

— myPhotoWalk

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