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The Great White Throne -- Photo  Chris Carvalho/Lensjoy.com



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Each year over 2.5 million people visit Zion National Park, one of Utah's most popular tourist attractions. The park is known for its majestic beauty and combination of rock formations, rivers, canyons, and plants that seem so out of place in the surrounding desert landscape.  The entire park is a lesson in geology as one passes through layers of multicolored sandstone, shale, and other kinds of rock that surround the visitor and demand attention at every turn.  

The light-colored tower in this photo is called The Great White Throne and rises about 2450 feet above the Zion Valley.  It is part of the Navajo Sandstone deposit, formed long ago from a great desert of sand dunes.  The Virgin River runs through the valley and is responsible for eroding the sandstone to create sheer canyon walls, a favorite of rock climbers.  The red rocks seen in front of the Throne are part of a formation called The Pulpit and owe their color to iron oxide present in the rock.  

The park is a delight for photographers, both amateur and professional.  While beautiful scenes abound, there are challenges because access to most of the Zion Valley is only by shuttle bus for most of the year.  To photograph areas away from the busy shuttle stops one must be prepared to walk or bring a bicycle, which is allowed in the valley.  During the winter months cars can travel on the road and the crowds are gone, making it easier to explore.  This photo was taken from the last shuttle stop, The Temple of Sinawava.  it was sunset, and the unusual reddish sky comes from sunlight reflecting off red sandstone plateaus, creating an otherworldly air.  The light on the Great White Throne was a wonderful yellowish pink that evening.  This is a difficult print to make because the colors easily become garish if not carefully balanced.  It's my mom's favorite and she's been urging me to add it to this web site.  

While beautiful photography can be done in the valley, I recommend visiting other areas of the park that are less crowded.  Many parts of the valley suffer from erosion, foot traffic, and trampled vegetation that make shooting difficult and tempt photographers to do more damage trying to find a good angle for a picture.  Roads surrounding the park offer quiet walks on uncrowded trails where surprises await the patient observer.  


Info:  Chromira digital print of Velvia 4x5 chrome, Fuji Crystal Archive CD paper

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