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Exploring The Zion Narrows
  
 
ValerieMillett
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p.1 #1 · Exploring The Zion Narrows


I've been an avid solo hiker for a long time. Fortunate to live close to and hike/photograph often in some of the most beautiful southwest locations; Sedona, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley.

Just this past year, I've explored a bit around Southern Utah trying to hit every season. Having said that, nothing prepared me for the unbelievable beauty of Zion, especially the Narrows hike. 11 miles of hiking mostly upstream in the Virgin River. No trail, just water, sometimes waist high over large slippery boulders.

Early in the hike, on a cold dark morning as the canyon walls narrowed and the hike became almost completely dark, I wondered if I had perhaps taken on too much for a solo hike.

As the first rays of the sunrise finally peaked from directly overhead and bounced off the canyon walls I was motived to keep going by sheer excitement.

These are the moments I live for as a photographer. There is nothing more satisfying than researching and exploring a new destination, hopping in the SUV and being free for days to just wander and enjoy being overwhelmed with the wonders of our amazing landscapes.

I love the surge of adrenalin at the start of a LONG hike. I always ask myself as I take my first step...
"Can I do this?"

Hitting high water and being pushed down and tumbled by the river current. God grant me the serenity ...to be alone here for a few hours was all I asked. A prayer and a promised fulfilled.
I couldn't have asked for a better day. On a new hike, I keep my photographic expectations very very...low but I was so pleasantly surprised.

It's been on my mind ever since I left. To go back...and see Orderville Canyon

Can I do this?











Edited on Sep 02, 2013 at 02:49 PM · View previous versions



Sep 02, 2013 at 02:35 PM
harshaj1
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p.1 #2 · Exploring The Zion Narrows


I have done the first 3 miles of narrows few times but never had the guts to do the rest of it.
What an incredible experience. I get excited reading your commentary.
Great pictures .
Harsha



Sep 02, 2013 at 02:45 PM
jord217
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p.1 #3 · Exploring The Zion Narrows


Great set. I agree with you, the narrows are a very moving and spiritual experience.


Sep 02, 2013 at 02:58 PM
ValerieMillett
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p.1 #4 · Exploring The Zion Narrows


Thanks much. I'm new to this forum so I'm just getting a feel for how to post a topic and proper size for the
photos etc. (Eventually, I'll get the hang of it. )



Sep 02, 2013 at 03:03 PM
Klaus Priebe
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p.1 #5 · Exploring The Zion Narrows


Nice work Valerie and I am really enjoying the first image. Can't wait until the first week of November to do the Narrows again.


Sep 02, 2013 at 03:32 PM
Tim Brooks
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p.1 #6 · Exploring The Zion Narrows


I did the narrows as a 2-day backpack from Chamberlian's ranch a couple of decades ago. If you get the chance, the trip is amazing.
Have fun, Tim



Sep 02, 2013 at 03:47 PM
Butch Braniger
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p.1 #7 · Exploring The Zion Narrows


These are stunning! Thank you for sharing. You give great motivation. I am doing a solo camping/hiking trip in Nov and looking really forward to it.


Sep 02, 2013 at 04:43 PM
ValerieMillett
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p.1 #8 · Exploring The Zion Narrows


I want to try to get back and do Orderville before Fall. Then make a separate Fall trip and add the West Rim and the Narrows entrance.







Edited on Sep 02, 2013 at 05:32 PM · View previous versions



Sep 02, 2013 at 05:05 PM
naturesmoments
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p.1 #9 · Exploring The Zion Narrows


Beautiful work!!!! And a great commentary!!!!


Sep 02, 2013 at 05:23 PM
Todd Warnke
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p.1 #10 · Exploring The Zion Narrows


The compositions are superb, but I especially enjoy the realistic tones in the image - a place like Zion does not need PS, all it needs is a wise eye and a gentle hand on the processing. It appears you have both. Fantastic work!

Peace,

Todd



Sep 02, 2013 at 05:43 PM
 

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Ben Horne
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p.1 #11 · Exploring The Zion Narrows


I've been visiting Zion every year since 2009, and the Narrows is certainly one of my favorite locations. You've captured some beautiful scenes here, and I especially like the water in the first shot.

One thing I do notice about your images is that they don't have much rich dark tone. They have a bit of a HDR feel to them where much of the shadow tone has been wiped away. It's the rich dark tone that helps add a sense of mystery to a place like the narrows. Also, some of the highlight regions (the rocks) get to be a bit hot. I think if you were to overall darken down the photos, they would have more impact.



Sep 02, 2013 at 06:00 PM
Sunny Alan
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p.1 #12 · Exploring The Zion Narrows


Valerie,
Let me call you "Son of Canyon' respectfully.
You are a rare one out of 100000s living in that area who never be brave enough even to go down once !

And your shots.... those are rewards of your pain.

Great light and color, sharp too...

I am longing to be your disciple, to follow you...

Also I appreciate harshaj1's humble and sincere admittance that he never be bold enough to go deep into the alien burrows.
You are not alone, how many will risk to face the unknown....?



Sep 02, 2013 at 06:05 PM
AMaji
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p.1 #13 · Exploring The Zion Narrows


beautiful images. Must have been a great experience.


Sep 02, 2013 at 06:30 PM
Sunny Sra
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p.1 #14 · Exploring The Zion Narrows


The last one you added is awesome! i've never done the hike...but its on the list.


Sep 02, 2013 at 07:35 PM
ValerieMillett
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p.1 #15 · Exploring The Zion Narrows


Thanks again, kind remarks. I visited Zion about 5 times this past year and hope to go back and visit the Narrows often. Looking forward to the Fall.

Thanks for the feedback Ben on the post-processing. I guess it's a matter of personal taste and developing one's own style. What struck me so profoundly in my hike was the beautiful light, especially as it bounced off the canyon walls and the beautiful reflective colors. Early in the hike the canyon walls were dark and dreary but as the sun rose overhead this amazing flood of soft, indirect light was spectacular and something I hadn't expected from the Narrows.

So I hope in my images I've conveyed what I remembered so fondly. I'm also a professional watercolorist, (never shot HDR) and I'm aware that my images have a "painterly" feel to them because, I am a painter and
I'm "OK" with that ;-)

You have some very fine images of the Narrows yourself and I see that, yes, you have some wonderful darks. Personally and respectfully....for ME, too dark but they are beautiful nonetheless and I appreciate the feedback.

I'm a fairly new photographer, I know but I keep going back to something the wise Jack Dykinga told me. I was telling him how I had composed some shots and explaining to him how another "Professional photographer" had told me all the things I was doing wrong, so I was trying to keep note of the "do's and don'ts and should and shouldn'ts and he said.

"Just shoot like YOU do. If you shoot like everyone else, you photos will look like everyone else's"










Sep 02, 2013 at 08:04 PM
JimFox
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p.1 #16 · Exploring The Zion Narrows


Hey Valerie,

Welcome to FM Landscape! It's great to have you join us. These are some very cool shots. I like the way you worked the soft light here. it has a very natural feel to it. I will be up in Zion in Oct and so to see your shots are getting my tastebuds ready for more!

Nice work with your writing, it was a pleasure to read and to see a bit inside the adventure.

Jim



Sep 02, 2013 at 08:09 PM
ValerieMillett
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p.1 #17 · Exploring The Zion Narrows



Hi Jim

Thanks very much for the welcome and the kind words on the photos and writing. Looks like we're all going to Zion
in October :-)

See ya there!!



Sep 02, 2013 at 08:16 PM
Craig Yannuzzi
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p.1 #18 · Exploring The Zion Narrows


Very nice Valerie! Thanks for sharing the pics AND your story


Sep 02, 2013 at 08:25 PM
Kee Woo Rhee
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p.1 #19 · Exploring The Zion Narrows


Sheer Beauty, Valerie! Welcome here to FM.
No wonder why the pictures are so soft and sweet.
Watercolor photography!

Kee



Sep 02, 2013 at 08:28 PM
Phildan
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p.1 #20 · Exploring The Zion Narrows


When the commentary is as good as the pictures.....

Thnaks for sharing these unique moments with us, common mortals....

Phil.



Sep 02, 2013 at 11:19 PM
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