Snow Canyon State Park–Photographer’s Paradise

Well here we are–Thanksgiving already come and gone. Can’t believe it. I am grateful for many things–most importantly I’m incredibly grateful for my sweet wife and son. Without my wife’s support, and my son’s endearing smiles, I could never do what I do behind the lens, or anywhere else for that matter. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Okeydokey–enough with the sentimental stuff…Over the holiday I headed south to St. George. The snow up in the Wasatch is virtually non-existent for the time being, so I decided to try another type of snow–Snow Canyon State Park. Located just 10 min. from St. George, this easily accessed state park has soaring redrock buttes, deep cut canyons, petrified sand dunes, lava caves and a number of hiking trails from super easy to moderately difficult. I knew I would only have one morning to shoot sunrise, so I took advantage of a free afternoon to scout locations. Incredibly, I stumbled upon some great shooting opportunities during mid-day. I generally abhor mid-day lighting, but I decided to make use of the light cloud cover and exceptional compositional opportunities to create some memorable images. Key to these mid-day images was my Singh-Ray Reverse Grad ND. The images I made that afternoon would not have been possible without this well-made (albeit pricey) filter.

Although I came away with some great images that day, I failed to find an adequate spot for a sunrise shoot. Generally, when shooting sunrise, I look for a location that offers great image opportunities both looking into and away from the sun. If the sunrise is complimented by dramatic skies, I find a foreground element and shoot into the sun. If the skies are lackluster, I usually shoot away, and capture that first light as it breaks the horizon. I took a guess as to where might work best, and lucked out as Lava Flow Overlook turned out to be a perfect location. Skies were somewhat uninspiring, but dawn with the redrock emanating subtle pink hues and dee-licious indigo sky was pointedly peaceful. Anticipating the first rays of light, I decided to settle in on a layered section of redrock with deep grooves leading the viewer effortlessly into the rest of the sprawling vista. Man it was beautiful–absolutely stunning. One of those moments when you look around and soak it all in (all the while clicking away on that cable release).

If you anywhere near St. George, make time in your schedule to visit this spectacular state park. It’s well worth a drive or hike, and even more worth a sunrise or sunset with tripod and camera in hand.

Snow Canyon Sunrise, Lava Flow Overlook.jpg Snow Canyon Scraggly and Starburst.jpg Snow Canyon Black Rock Lines.jpg Tony Lava Flow Overlook Stoic.jpg Tony Trail Run Snow Canyon Layers.jpg