Grand Circle — Zion

What a photographic adventure I’ve had this past week!

After a breath-taking experience at Bryce Canyon National Park, we traveled onward to Zion National Park.

Zion National Park

Zion National Park is located in the Southwestern United States, near Springdale, Utah. A prominent feature of the 229-square-mile (590 km2) park is Zion Canyon, which is 15 miles (24 km) long and up to half a mile (800 m) deep, cut through the reddish and tan-colored Navajo Sandstone by the North Fork of the Virgin River. The lowest elevation is 3,666 ft (1,117 m) at Coalpits Wash and the highest elevation is 8,726 ft (2,660 m) at Horse Ranch Mountain. Located at the junction of the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin, and Mojave Desert regions, the park’s unique geography and variety of life zones allow for unusual plant and animal diversity. Numerous plant species as well as 289 species of birds, 75 mammals (including 19 species of bat), and 32 reptiles inhabit the park’s four life zones: desert, riparian, woodland, and coniferous forest. Zion National Park includes mountains, canyons, buttes, mesas, monoliths, rivers, slot canyons, and natural arches.

We entered the park from the East Entrance, along Route 9, so we could travel the winding Zion–Mount Carmel Scenic Highway past Checkerboard Mesa heading toward Canyon Junction and Springdale, Utah. Oh how beautiful are the mountains and colorful the trees lining the streams of water along the way. I wanted to stop every 5 seconds to shoot another amazingly beautiful scene but knew if I didn’t keep driving I would never make it on time to our rendezvous point with the rest of the His Light Workshops group. I had to actually travel through a tunnel cut through the mountain rock (drilled in 1930) to get to Zion’s Virgin River area. You can see the tunnel entrance appearing as a little hole in the rock in one of the images — that’s where the mile-long tunnel begins. There are no lights in the tunnel and, of course, you have to turn on your headlights when you drive through it. When they have large vehicles like motor homes or large tour buses, they only allow traffic one-way because the tunnel is so narrow.

By the time we got to Zion I felt as though I was now in the routine of going to the hotel, checking in, grabbing my camera gear, jumping in the car and traveling to another location for a photoshoot. I’m telling you this is serious nature photography and I love it! I was thanking the Lord every step of the way. I loved the challenge and also the opportunity to be out in God’s creation. It has been a very inspirational time with my Lord as I’ve taken time to notice His handiwork. We went to the beautiful Virgin River bed at Big Bend the first evening and spent a few hours shooting in sunset lighting. Even though there were other people around, I felt as though I was alone with the Lord admiring His design.

Big Bend — Welcome To Devotional Photography Video

The next day, the group traveled at it’s own pace in slinky fashion starting the Temple of Sinawava in the north winding along the Virgin River to Big Bend, Weeping Rock, Angels Landing, The Grotto, Zion Lodge, and finally the famous Court of the Patriarchs. My husband and I stopped for some lengthy period at Big Bend specifically to shoot an introduction video about myPhotoWalk Devotional Photography, an idea that the Lord had presented me to expand and enhance Quiet Time Ministries. You can see the live Welcome Video on the PhotoShoots page.

The sun began to set so we all got in our cars to meet at a restaurant for dinner. On the way, I looked to my right along the road and guess what I saw! Yes, you guessed it – another surprise – a buck mule deer! So I pulled over to the side of the road and spent a half hour shooting with my 70-300mm lens. At the end I said, “Thank You Lord!!”

The Court Of The Patriarchs

The next bright sunny morning, our exit day from Zion, my husband and I traveled back to the Court of the Patriarchs location. And am I glad we did. I was able to stop at this river bed area and shoot some of the most beautiful trees along the stream with the rock as the backdrop. One of the other photographers from His Light Workshops had also discovered this location and I decided to shoot it also. That’s one of the great benefits of a trip like this — you learn from others as you see them composing the scene in their viewfinder. I actually zoomed in more for my shot than he did. I find that when you get closer to the subject the detail is somehow more interesting. And so, there I was in this valley, shooting these trees, and then I turned in the opposite direction and I noticed a couple of the other photographers focused in on the Patriarchs from the stream below. Not to be outdone, I hiked down into the stream bed and set up shop. I spent an hour to capture the shot of the Three Patriarchs under difficult lighting conditions. This shot of the Patriarchs became the cover photography for my new A Quiet Time Experience, Walk On Water Faith — Discovering Power In The Promises Of God. Isn’t it fun where the Lord leads?

I’ve taken hundreds and hundreds of photos all along the way on this amazing Grand Circle Red Rock Adventure. And I have so many more to share in my future Devotional Photography portfolio. I often think of Psalm 84:5 “Blessed are those whose strength is in You, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage.” I have felt like God’s pilgrim this week — loving Him, trusting Him, following Him, and truly enjoying Him as we have embarked on the adventure of a lifetime. I will never be the same as a result. Thanks for joining in with me so far. But there’s more to come. Wait until you see some of the photos in the next few days as we travel to areas around Page, Arizona. And one was my very favorite locations of all — the best is yet to come!

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

Catherine

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

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