Secluded viewpoint

October 21, 2011

I write from a small wooden table looking out a window facing north in the living room of the Verkamp’s apartment. Of course, there is a stunning view of the canyon. Unfortunately, when I edit photos, I have to pull the shade down to cut the glare, also cutting off my view of the canyon.

Deer seem to be used to the people and activity around the Grand Canyon village. I came back very late one night to see 3 deer sitting on the grass in the small traffic circle in front of the El Tovar Hotel, which shares a parking lot with Verkamp’s.  Last night, as I drove on the Village Drive past the South Rim hotels, a huge buck was lumbering west. This part of the road is raised, with a small stone wall on one side, and the deer couldn’t find his way out. I slowly followed behind him on the one-way road as he astonished visitors who were out at that hour. As the road winds its way past the mule barns, I passed a small herd of quite large deer feeding on the grass to the right and left of the road. They seemed hungry and didn’t mind the traffic.

Tried to find the hidden aspen grove yesterday afternoon. I followed directions from Betty, who is a librarian at the park headquarters. It’s off an unmarked trail, and you feel like you’re wandering through the woods. Never found it, but was hoping I wouldn’t get lost and be a statistic in “Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon,” a book about fatal mishaps that can be found in every visitor center and gift shop here. The apartment has a copy. It was an hour before sunset and I had 20 ounces of water, though it was not hot. I did have my compass and by the sounds of cars, I seemed to be close to the road. After searching in vain for the aspen grove, I found a secluded ledge with a great view of the canyon being lit by the last rays of the sun. I decided I had to take at least a few pictures after all the hiking I’d done. At one point the sky had muted bands of colors, and I did my best Mark Rothko imitation.

The moonrise wasn’t until 12:46 a.m. this morning, which meant a late night last night. Didn’t leave Verkamp’s until 10 p.m.; drove to Yaki Point, near the South Kaibab trail head. I hadn’t seen this spot in the daytime, so I wasn’t sure what was beyond the blackness as I looked into the canyon.  Found a great-looking tree for a star trail photo. The moon is slowly waning towards a crescent, and I can tell that the sky is much darker after the moon rises. It still throws out a lot of light, but I have to use my specialized filter less.

This evening (Friday), I’m to give a talk about night sky photography as part of the evening programs the Grand Canyon offers. It’s in the Shrine of Ages auditorium. I’ve been frantically putting together a slide show, with previous night photos, some work photos to show people what I normally do, and some current pics from the Grand Canyon. Should be fun.

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