Thursday, April 10, 2014

Landscape Photography And The Best Laid Plans

Landscape photography by Nick Oman Photography.

The natural amphitheater is a bright white sandstone formation at the very top of Snow Canyon State Park just outside the town of St. George, Utah. To arrive at the amphitheater it's a short hike through a well marked trail on mostly flat packed desert sand. Easy right?

Well after doing a little research and I mean little, I arrived at the entrance of the park and preceded to find "the northernmost trail in the park." I parked the car and walked down the road to the last trail.. After hiking for a few minutes, a hard veer in the wrong direction made up my mind that the sign was in fact correct. NOT THE TRAIL TO THE AMPHITHEATER. Ok that wasn't on the sign but it might as well have been. I hiked back, jumped in the car, and drove to the next trail head down "Whiterocks." Here we go.  As I am getting out of the car I noticed that the sun is starting to get a little low. Better hurry. I grab my gear and start hiking with a little jump in my step. I keep looking towards what has to be the white rocks of my destination and they are getting further and further and further away. CRAP! Here we go again. Turn back, jump in the car, and... grab my phone and look up the trail info. OK the trail head is so far north, that it's not actually in the park. Argh. Better move quick. I fly out of the entrance, up the road, and come skidding to a stop at the trailhead parking. I start off now running along  the trail as I am now completely shaded from the sunlight. I arrive at the bottom of the amphitheater and I am nearly stopped in my tracks by the spectacular sight. Can't stop yet though, I scurry up the white rocks, gasping all the way. As I finally make it to the top I realize there's still just enough sunlight left to catch my breath and find the perfect spot.

Now that I can see I can see straight I  that the sunset isn't going to work out like I had planned. The clouds have moved on and the canyon wouldn't have any light by the time the sun sets. Mental note: remember to shoot Snow Canyon at sunrise. Switching gears, I turned to face those clouds that had moved on and are now picking up the fading sunlight with the cool textured white rock in the foreground. This will be perfect, if only the 20 to 30 mph winds could stop trying to blow me down the sandstone cliffs. I hunkered down took a few shots trying to time the wind and got what I wanted.

Now all I had to do was break out my trusty headlamp and somehow get down without rim rocking myself. Just another day in the life of a nature photographer.