May  19, 2013

On Friday, after leaving Page, Arizona, on the Utah border, I decided I’d take a short hop up to Zion and spend the evening enjoying the National Park. I had heard friends and fellow travelers rave about its beauty. Arriving at its entrance and riding the first few miles  confirmed everything I had heard. The rain clouds followed me, which made lighting a challenge for photographing the landscape. But it wasn’t so much the landscape that captivated me as the texture of its rocks.

On the eastern side of the park I imagined eons ago a great community of giants lived. Eastern Zion was where they made their clay pots. The rock layers looked like they formed from mounds of clay slapped down and left to dry. Later, the giants left this area. The mounds of clay they used to form their ceramic remain as the mountains of Zion. In the western part of the park they made their bricks. The mountains there changed from the rounded white and pale yellows in the east to more geometric patterns in shades of red and orange. I write this post in the shadow of the great Sequoia trees of eastern California. Perhaps the giants I imagine made their homes from these towering queens of the forest.

Leaving the arid, wind-swept Navajo reservation of northern Arizona

The Rez

Crossing over into Utah just a little  beyond the Glen Canyon Dam on Lake Powell.

Glen Canyon Dam

Glen Canyon

The landscape changed from pastel-painted deserts and mountains to rounded rock formations as I passed into Utah.

Pastel landscape


Zion National Park: The textures of the rocks seemed to captivate me more than the mountains themselves. Maybe it was because of how I imagined a land of giants making pottery here ages ago, or maybe it was because of how the rain-sodden skies forced my vision downward into the rock formations themselves rather than up through the mountains. I’ve enhanced the images of the rock formations intentionally – changing color and contrast – with the intention of highlighting the surrealism of the landscape.

Before  entering the park, my first glimpse of Buffalo!







I found a spot, thought of a picture I wanted to take, set my exposure and waited for a tourist with a nice camera to come by. I found a Japanese man who looked like he knew what he was doing. I asked him if he’d mind taking some shots. He obliged. I explained how I wanted the picture taken, handed him my camera, and this is the result.

Dead Man

As I traveled westward through the park the rock formations changed from round to geometric.


Sunlight peeked through the clouds periodically, highlighting mountain ranges previously obscured and flattened by the gray shades of thick cloud cover.





My plan to camp in the park and do some hiking had been foiled. It was a weekend in mid-May and the weekend campers and hikers were out in throngs, despite the weather. All camping sites were full. I also had no desire to once again set up and tear down my tent in the rain, so I decided to breeze through Zion and blast my way into Nevada. The weather radar showed clear skies to the west. Zion undoubtedly will receive a future visit by me. This is not a park that should go unexplored. Recommendation: See it!  If you do and see any giants, please let me know.  😉

On the road to Nevada.



All content Copyrighted ©  Stephen Tavella

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