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3 a.m. out of Sedona

September 3, 2012

Recently, I took my first trip to Sedona, Ariz. While I wanted to see the legendary red rocks of the high Arizona desert, I also really wanted to watch sunrise over the Grand Canyon.

It meant leaving my hotel by 3 a.m.

Given that it was the middle of summer, I knew that sunrise was a better option than a sunset viewing of the canyon, when the National Park was likely to be packed with tourists.

So, I reluctantly dragged my butt out of bed and headed north.

The first surprise was the number of elk that I encountered on the drive to the park. The second surprise was — while I havd seen elk from a distance in the past — was just how big these beasts could be when you were up-close and personal with them. As I slid to a stop next to a herd that was crossing the blackened road in front of me, I realized that the lead cow was easily as tall as the Ford Escape in which I was driving.

Unfortunately, I was too shell-shocked to think to grab my camera and take a picture.

Of course, the third surprise was the number of people who had the same thought I did. While the roads to the Grand Canyon were fairly clear, the best sunrise views in the park were already filled with dozens of photographers, each jockeying for the perfect view of the light cresting over the edge of the canyon.

Once the first rays spread across the canyon, most of the people left, feeling confident that they had the perfect photo.

I stayed behind, knowing I still hadn’t seen the beauty the deep red canyon had to offer.

I wasn’t disappointed.

As the sun continued to rise over the east end of the canyon, it illuminated the beauty of the west-end cliffs. The landscape transitioned from a flat blue-gray to light red and green to intense rust-red layers.

I’d say I won.

This is the point when most people departed from the park. I remained behind, walking the rim and taking photos.

  1. Mr.NoGoodWriter permalink

    wow! great images! i just wonder, did you capture all this?

    • Thank you. I find the key is just being willing to take a lot of photos. Sometimes, you may think you have the perfect shot and it doesn’t turn out like you thought it would. But when you take a lot of photos — when you’re willing to fill your camera with lots of photos from lots of angles and views and settings — you are far more likely to get the photos you love.

  2. Beautiful capture, Julie. Glad you stayed after the sunrise. The light and colors in the last few images are amazing.

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