Grand Canyon, Arizona

At the end of May, I was fortunate to spend a week in Arizona and one of the experiences I enjoyed was a day at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. I knew that it was going to be quite the sight to be seen and I couldn't resist the opportunity to bring my camera and trusty tripod along for the trip.

HDR Panaroma of South Rim (click on photo for larger view)

It was my first trip to the Grand Canyon and we started out bright and early, just in time for the hot air balloons to start rising near Flagstaff, AZ. In my sleepy state that morning, there was something calming and peaceful about seeing the balloon slowly ascending into the clouds leaving the desert ground below. That experience mixed with some good music along the way put me in a good place for the hike ahead. 

The panorama above was the first sight I saw once we arrived. I wanted to get as close as I could but knew I needed to be careful once I looked down and saw how far of a fall it would have been if I slipped off one of the rocks near the edge.

In order to capture the massive canyon of dangerous beauty, I decided that HDR photography (aka High Dynamic Range photography) would provide the most accurate result of being there in the middle of the day. The process involves capturing at least three photos: one for mid tones (even exposure), one for highlights (under exposed) and one for shadows (overexposed). The combined exposures create a final photograph such as the ones I have posted here.

Grand Canyon along the South Rim (click on photo for larger view)

Rock Formations along the Bright Angel Trail (click on photo for larger view)

My day at the Grand Canyon flew by and the next time I can visit I hope to camp out and take more time to experience and process it in a way that just isn't possible in a few hours. Until then, these photographs will be a good reminder.