I mentioned in California Love that while I had been living in Stamford, CT since 2008, I had decided to make a change and move to Los Angeles, CA. I had planned out my cross-country drive from Connecticut to California. I chose a southern route that would take eights days. Life (God) has made me very fortunate to have friends and family in many places in the US and the route I chose for the journey made a point to see as many of those friends as possible.
The road trip started on November 12th, and ended on November 19th. The first day, I stopped in Baltimore, Maryland and Washington DC. The following two days I spent time in Knoxville, Tennessee, where I attended undergrad at the University of Tennessee. Knowing that I would be in Knoxville for a few nights, my friend, Monica, did something amazing. Monica and I studied Architecture together and she suggested that we try to get some of our old classmates together for one of the nights I was in town. She worked hard to gather everyone. I was happy with how many of our friends were able to meet up. We went to the Goose & Crown in the Old City. Over fish and chips, and with a few beers, I was catching up with old friends, filling in the gaps of the six years that had passed since our graduation. It was wonderful. I talked about plans for life in Los Angeles and I shared the details for my remaining stops for the road trip:
"I'll be in Nashville on Friday night, then I'll see my grandmother in Oklahoma City on Saturday. Sunday is Albuquerque, Monday is Flagstaff, Arizona and I'll get into LA on Tuesday."
My friend, Peter, was sitting to my right and after the mention of Flagstaff, AZ he suggested:
"Make sure you stop at the Grand Canyon."
Deep down, honestly, the thought had never entered my mind. I started to fumble some half committed, shoulder-shrugging response that suggested I was not going to stop there. But thankfully he cut through that by saying something I knew to be true, and that made great sense:
"Well since you're that close, and you don't know the next time you'll head that way..."
So simple, but I guess I needed to hear it out loud. The Grand Canyon was added to the itinerary.
I arrived in Flagstaff and did my logistics work and figured out the short route from my motel (1 hours and 17 minutes north on route 64) to the Canyon. I arrived at the Park, purchased a pass, parked the car, grabbed the cameras and began. I had envisioned, the entire time, that I wanted to get great sunset image of the Canyon, but interestingly enough I did not end up capturing the sun in the images but I was still really happy with the results. I learned a good lesson about my camera and about not giving up.
I was photographing the Canyon from a lookout named, Yavapai Point which was facing north, so the sun and the Canyon were not in the images at the same time (the sun sets in the west, obviously). I was disappointed at first. In the beginning, while the sun was still up, I was getting some nice, bright images of the Canyon and a few that were showing some cool shadows:
Then, I realized that the sun was officially going down:
At that point, I was worried that the day was over, that I wouldn’t be able to get any more good images. But, it turned out that I was able to get BETTER images after the sun went down. The indirect light of the sun was still illuminating the sky and it was wonderful. I stretched the ISO on the D700 and was able to capture the following images. It turned out to be a great lesson that I should have already known: never give up: