The thing about sunsets in the Grand Canyon, when you are viewing the canyon from the South Rim as we were in February because the North Rim is closed in the winter, is that the sun is mostly behind you. Until my visit to the Grand Canyon, whenever I thought of photographing a sunset, I pictured the intense orangey red of the sun dipping behind a mountain or the sea as the sky changed color. At the Grand Canyon, the one time a few of us faced away from the Canyon to photograph the sun as it dipped in the west, Moose smirked at us and looked back over his shoulder as the setting sun splashed its light and bathed the layers of this geological marvel with unimaginable color. We all turned back to where the real photograph was, humbled by that lesson.
I brought only one camera and lens with me on this particular day. Everyone in the group was taking time lapse sequences and I was reticent to relinquish my only camera to a tripod letting the camera’s intervalometer take control. Almost on a whim, and without really assessing the scene or my lens, I decided to try a time lapse so I set up on the rim and took my chances. The sequence started at 4:52PM and ended at 6:33PM. I focused mostly on the canyon rocks instead of the sky because there were no clouds to speak of which was fortunate because the drama was on the rocks, not in the sky. The lens I used was the 70-200mm f/4 set at 70mm. While at the Grand Canyon, I discovered that wide angle lenses produced the most spectacular shots. I can only imagine what this would have looked like with my 24-70mm lens set at 24mm, or at 14mm lens which was the lens of choice of many of my fellow workshop particpants.
After about an hour, Moose realized I was camera-less and allowed me to use his Nikon D800 and Bob, one of my fellow students, loaned me his 24-70 lens. I was happy not to be wandering aimlessly, peeking at my camera and watching it click every 30 seconds. Today, as I processed these shots, I noticed that the metadata from the camera indicates that the “creator” of this photograph is B. Moose Peterson! Ha! Does this mean that I have an original Moose Peterson photograph? This is a Grand Canyon sunset, Moose Peterson style and from Moose’s camera, taken by Carol Smith. I took this shot about 5 minutes before the end of the time lapse.
And this is my first attempt at time lapse photography. It is not quite as dramatic as the other time lapse I posted a couple of days ago because the movement in it is very subtle, the clouds are almost nonexistent, but the dramatic color changes are striking.