Zion National Park – Lower Emerald Pool Waterfall Spray

I finally finished editing Autumn 2021 images but still have many more to post. This one is a return to Lower Emerald Pools one the most assessible places in the park.

Note: There is a lot more detail in the spray on the actual image than the JPEG above. Also conversion to JPEG shifted the blue sky a bit in a manner not true to the image.
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Zion National Park – Left Fork Trail – The Slide

This is the third and final post for this second trip on the Zion Subway trail, officially called the “Left Fork” Trail.

It’s a very rugged trail, about 9 miles round trip scrambling over boulders and crossing the river many, many times. The scrambling and length of the trail makes it a difficult hike, much more so than the Narrows trail which I have written about. The first decent and even more so final assent back up is brutally steep.  ….

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Zion National Park – Left Fork Trail – Subway Entrance

 

It’s been a very busy Autumn for me. I was on the road taking pictures from late September through mid-November. I have lots of images to share and just finished editing them all.

Some of my favorites were close by.

I hiked what is known as the “Subway” route, officially called the “Left Fork” Trail. It’s the second time I have done the trip.

It’s a very rugged trail, about 9 miles round trip scrambling over boulders and crossing the river many, many times. The scrambling and length of the trail makes it a difficult hike, much more so than the Narrows trail which I have written about. The first decent and even more so final assent back up is brutally steep.  ….

Continue reading “Zion National Park – Left Fork Trail – Subway Entrance”

Zion National Park – Left Fork Trail – Subway

It’s been a very busy Autumn for me. I was on the road taking pictures from late September through mid-November. I have lots of images to share and just finished editing them all.

Some of my favorites were close by.

I hiked what is known as the “Subway” route, officially called the “Left Fork” Trail. It’s the second time I have done the trip.

It’s a very rugged trail, about 9 miles round trip scrambling over boulders and crossing the river many, many times. The scrambling and length of the trail makes it a difficult hike, much more so than the Narrows trail which I have written about. The first decent and even more so final assent back up is brutally steep.  ….

Continue reading “Zion National Park – Left Fork Trail – Subway”

Zion Narrows Take IV (Just how Waterproof is Canon’s EOS Mirrorless R5?) Part II

This is Part II of images I took on a June Narrows Hike.

I have hiked the Narrows Trail in Zion National Park 4 times. The other 3 times were in the Fall when you need a wetsuit. This June was my 4th time and everyone in my group was  wearing shorts.

The “trail is the Virgin River, literally. The water is mostly ankle to knee deep but in spots can be up to waist deep.

I took a spill in water that was deeper. I carry my camera high in deeper water but fell forward. My camera and lens were totally, and I do mean totally submerged for however long it took me to raise it out of the water. I will guess 1+ second.

I had an R5 with a circular polarizer adapter, and 24-105 L lens. There are about 24 buttons or dials, a flip screen, battery compartment, flash card compartment, and two side panels for various electronic connections.

So what happens to an EOS R5 when it is totally submerged for a second or two?

That is not a question I cared to find the answer to, but I now have the answer.

What happens? Nothing!

I expected a nasty repair bill but thanks to a metal screw cap that I keep on all my lenses, not even the lens got wet. The only leakage I could see was a single drop of water on the front element. As soon as the camera dried off, I tested the camera and it worked fine. It’s still working weeks later.

Kudos to Canon for a clearly a superior job in taking rain resistance to a much higher level. I had a second lens with me in a backpack that was in the water for 20 seconds or so until someone helped me up. That lens may have been ruined but it was in a dry bag as was my iPhone.

Continue reading “Zion Narrows Take IV (Just how Waterproof is Canon’s EOS Mirrorless R5?) Part II”

Zion Narrows Take IV (Just how Waterproof is Canon’s EOS Mirrorless R5?)

I have hiked the Narrows Trail in Zion National Park 4 times. The other 3 times were in the Fall when you need a wetsuit. This June was my 4th time and everyone in my group was  wearing shorts.

The “trail is the Virgin River, literally. The water is mostly ankle to knee deep but in spots can be up to waist deep.

I took a spill in water that was deeper. I carry my camera high in deeper water but fell forward. My camera and lens were totally, and I do mean totally submerged for however long it took me to raise it out of the water. I will guess 1+ second.

I had an R5 with a circular polarizer adapter, and 24-105 L lens. There are about 24 buttons or dials, a flip screen, battery compartment, flash card compartment, and two side panels for various electronic connections.

So what happens to an EOS R5 when it is totally submerged for a second or two?

That is not a question I cared to find the answer to, but I now have the answer.

What happens? Nothing!

I expected a nasty repair bill but thanks to a metal screw cap that I keep on all my lenses, not even the lens got wet. The only leakage I could see was a single drop of water on the front element. As soon as the camera dried off, I tested the camera and it worked fine. It’s still working weeks later.

Kudos to Canon for a clearly a superior job in taking rain resistance to a much higher level. I had a second lens with me in a backpack that was in the water for 20 seconds or so until someone helped me up. That lens may have been ruined but it was in a dry bag as was my iPhone.

Continue reading “Zion Narrows Take IV (Just how Waterproof is Canon’s EOS Mirrorless R5?)”

Grafton Ghost Town Cemetery Sunset

Grafton is a ghost town, just south of Zion National Park in Washington County, Utah, United States. Said to be the most photographed ghost town in the West, it has been featured as a location in several films, including 1929’s In Old Arizona—the first talkie filmed outdoors—and the classic Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The nearest inhabited town is Rockville.

To get to Grafton, you cross the Rockville bridge built for the National Park Service in 1924 to provide a link between Zion National Park and the North Rim area of Grand Canyon National Park.

Image Details
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Full Moon Over Rockville Steel Girder Bridge Near Zion National Park

The Rockville Bridge and Grafton Ghost Town are just outside Zion National Park. The bridge was built for the National Park Service in 1924 to provide a link between Zion National Park and the North Rim area of Grand Canyon National Park.

The bridge was designed by the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads for the Park Service, fabricated by the Minneapolis Steel and Machinery Company, and erected by Ogden contractor C.F. Dinsmore. The bridge spans 217 feet (66 m) in a single span, using a steel twelve-panel Parker through-truss.

The Rockville Bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.

 

Image Details
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Rockville Bridge Milky Way and Grafton Ghost Town

The Rockville Bridge and Grafton Ghost Town are just outside Zion National Park. The bridge was built for the National Park Service in 1924 to provide a link between Zion National Park and the North Rim area of Grand Canyon National Park.

The Rockville Bridge is 91 years old now and is showing its age. The Department of Transportation’s inspection of the bridge in 2012 revealed such deterioration that the bridge’s load rating was reduced from 25 to 14 tons and the Town of Rockville was put on notice that “something” needed to be done about the bridge.

Plans were made to put up a new bridge next to the old one but the town objected. In 2016, the Joint Highway Committee allocated $2,500,000 for the Rockville Bridge to be rehabilitated – with the condition that the Town submit a plan for an alternate route for a new road and bridge to cross the Virgin River at another location.

In March of 2017, the Town of Rockville finished raising the matching funds required for the Federal funding of the bridge restoration project. The project is scheduled to get underway in October of 2017.

The preceding three paragraphs are slightly modified excerpts from The Rockford Bridge Organization. The organization has a photo tour.
Continue reading “Rockville Bridge Milky Way and Grafton Ghost Town”

Zion National Park – Autumn – Clear Creek

Clear creek runs parallel to the road through Zion in many places.

For the images in this article, I parked in designated but unnamed parking spots and scrambled down to the creek. I did not run into another person but in several places, I did see footprints on occasion.

The water-carved canyon walls are quite impressive and well worth exploring.

Feature Image Details

The light was fading fast but it was nearly calm so there was little movement in the leaves. In retrospect, I should have used a much higher ISO.

ISO 800 would have provided 4 stops of light. 50-100 is one stop, 100-200 is another stop, 200-400 is the third stop, and 400-800 is the 4th stop.

Each stop doubles or halves the exposure time. Instead of 8 seconds, my exposure would have been 1/2 second.

To achieve the depth of field in the images, I used a technique called focus stacking. I focused on the wall in one image and the background in another. Two images are generally insufficient for focus stacking but that is all I took.

One can combine the images manually or use a program like “Zerene Stacker“. I was forced to do a manual combination as I accidentally shifted the camera slightly between images and they did not line up.

Thus, I made a lot of mistakes, but I am pleased with the final result.

Additional Clear Creek Image

Scrambling Tips

The key to these images is easy: Get off the beaten path and explore!

There is nothing difficult about the preceding image other than scrambling down the hillside with no marked trail to get to the creek bed. I took the above image about 15 minutes before the feature image.

I almost stopped at that point because the light was fading fast but an inner voice said look around the next bend. The result was one of my favorite images from the trip.

When you are off the trail, please look around you in all directions even if you have a Garmin or other tracking device. It’s important to know how to get back out, whether or not your tracking device fails.

I frequently leave cairns for myself. In this case I didn’t because I have an excellent memory for features, even individual rocks. When in doubt, please mark your spot so you know how to get back to your car.

Other Zion National Park Articles 

  1. Zion National Park – Subway Trek Part Three – Inside the Subway
  2. Zion National Park – Subway Trek Part Two – The Crack
  3. Zion National Park – Subway Trek Part One – Archangel Falls
  4. Zion National Park Autumn – Great White Throne
  5. Zion National Park – Autumn – Lower Emerald Pools Part 1
  6. Zion National Park – Autumn – Lower Emerald Pools Part 2 (After a Rainfall)
  7. Zion National Park – Autumn – Middle and Upper Emerald Pools
  8. Zion National Park – The Watchman – Autumn
  9. Zion National Park – Autumn – Hiking “The Narrows” Part I
  10. Zion National Park – Autumn – Hiking “The Narrows” Part II
  11. Zion National Park – Autumn – Hiking “The Narrows” Part III

Equipment

Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

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Mike “Mish” Shedlock

Zion National Park – Autumn – Hiking “The Narrows” Part III

This is the third and final of a series of posts that covers the “Narrows”, a hike whose only trail is the Virgin River itself. Some parts of the hike are relatively open, but other sections are narrow, between water-carved sandstone walls rising over a hundred feet on each side of the river.

In the summer you can hike in shorts, but in November, when we went, a wetsuit is best.

Water carved beautiful shapes in the canyon walls that rise up on both sides you for hundreds of feet.

If you are in or near the narrows in a flash flood, you will not survive as there is no reachable high ground.

Tip List

  1. Get up early. Be in the river at dawn. If you wait until later in the day there will be masses of people in every shot.
  2. Rent your gear the night before.
  3. Turn around. Look behind you every few minutes. Light in the canyon can change fast
  4. If you see a section of the canyon you like and it is not lit up with reflected light, try again a half hour or so later.
  5. Once you reach the section of the canyon of the feature image with nearby ferns on the wall, the best sections of the narrows are downstream. I recommend spending more time in the narrows than going further upstream.
  6. Be careful with vibrations. The water may move your tripod if the sand or rocks below it shift on long exposures.
  7. Consider taking one exposure for the canyon walls and another longer exposure to smooth the water.
  8. Reflected light is best. Avoid the sky and any direct light on the canyon walls.
  9. I only used two lenses in the narrows: a 16-35MM lens and a 24-105MM lens. Long heavy lenses are not useful and will weigh you down.
  10. Rent a half wetsuit rather than a full one. The latter is too hot and too cumbersome when you have to pee.

Feature Image Details

Additional Images

Reflected light is the key images in the Narrows in general. There is no sunlight on the water or the canyon walls. Rather the light hits one canyon wall and bounces off it providing a glow everywhere else.

I used a polarizer on this image as I did every image in the Narrows.

Moving Water

There is no tripod movement if you are braced on hard rock. But in the water, currents can vibrate the tripod resulting in an image that looks nice on the playback screen but is actually a little soft.

In this particular area, I ruined a lot of images and could not figure out why until much later.

If I am in the narrows again, I will take a much faster image of the walls at a higher ISO then a slower image to get the water the way I like.

Gear

We rented wetsuits, hiking poles, and shoes suitable for river hiking.

For an image of the rental gear you will need, please see link #9 below. There are numerous places just outside the park to rent equipment.

I only took two lenses with me: A  Canon 16-35MM F4 L Lens and a Canon 24-105MM F4 L Lens.  Add a polarizer and a tripod (the latter is a necessity), and that is all you will need. If you are in the canyon and you think you need a flash, you are shooting in the wrong light.

I saw people carrying massive telephoto lenses and I was constantly wondering “What they hell do they need those lenses for?”

The hike is not strenuous if the water level is low. If the water level is high and fast, they close the hike. There is no elevation change but you are hiking in the river, against the current on the way in.

Relatively speaking, I found the upper Emerald Pools Trail more difficult than the Narrows, but we were fortunate to have easy conditions. The rental places and the park visitor center can assist if you have questions.

Other Zion National Park Images

  1. Zion National Park – Subway Trek Part Three – Inside the Subway
  2. Zion National Park – Subway Trek Part Two – The Crack
  3. Zion National Park – Subway Trek Part One – Archangel Falls
  4. Zion National Park Autumn – Great White Throne
  5. Zion National Park – Autumn – Lower Emerald Pools Part 1
  6. Zion National Park – Autumn – Lower Emerald Pools Part 2 (After a Rainfall)
  7. Zion National Park – Autumn – Middle and Upper Emerald Pools
  8. Zion National Park – The Watchman – Autumn
  9. Zion National Park – Autumn – Hiking “The Narrows” Part I
  10. Zion National Park – Autumn – Hiking “The Narrows” Part II

Equipment

Those interested in my equipment and recommendations can find it here: Mish’s Equipment List.

Please Share!

If you like this article, please share by email or use one of the share buttons beneath the article.

Much more coming: Click to Subscribe by Email.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock