How the Art Happens - Mystical Canyon Light

March 11, 2020  •  1 Comment

Mystical Canyon Light

Mystical Canyon LightMystical Canyon LightThe warm glow of sunset fills the Grand Canyon as an early October storm moves out.

Several years ago I decided I needed to visit the North Rim of the Grand Canyon in search of that elusive snowy canyon photograph. The North Rim closes in early October but there had been promising storms moving through the area so I reserved a campsite and made my way to the Grand Canyon.

After three solid days of rain and spending most of my time in my camper reading, I decided to head to the visitor's center and have a real dinner instead of my usual dehydrated, boiled water, camping fare. They were full and not taking any more diners. The park would close for the season the next day. I had made only a handful of photos, none of which would ever see daylight. There had been no snow. Now there was going to be another disappointing dinner. But, after going out to the observation deck below the lodge, I discovered a sliver of blue sky on the horizon. Sunset was about 20 minutes away so I decided to wait and see if a photo might develop. (pun intended)

I found a seat and pulled out my book. Every few minutes I would look out the window and at my watch. It was still raining. The guy next to me questioned my confidence but I explained that if I wait, I might get the shot. But, If I leave, I definitely won't get the shot. He laughed. With a few minutes to go before sunset, I grabbed my gear and headed out to the deck. I was the only one out there. I set up the tripod, framed my shot, and waited. Just at the predicted time, the sun dropped below the clouds and lit-up the canyon with a rainbow far to the east and warm, sunset light filling the canyon. I made a few photos. Tourists charged the deck. It was over in about 2 minutes. But, I got the photo above, "Mystical Canyon Light". I caught the eye of the guy giving me grief earlier and just smiled. He asked how I knew that would happen and I just suggested that I had been chasing moments like this for a very long time. Sometimes I won, sometimes I lost.

I love the soft, warm glow of the light on the rocks in the canyon. The amber, sunset light contrasts nicely with the cool tones in the sky and helps provide some depth to the image since cool tones tend to recede and warm tones tend to advance psychologically, at least according to my art teachers.

On the way back to the campground my truck was having problems. It would only go about a half-mile before the engine would die and I would have to wait 10 minutes before it would restart. I limped back to the campground and had to convince the rangers to let me stay the night in the parking lot for fear of blocking all the rest of the guests in the campground. Cell phones don't really work on the North Rim so I went to the nearest payphone and called a towing service in Kanab, Utah. They were able to come first thing Sunday morning so I made myself comfortable for the night, boiled some water, and ate my disappointing, dehydrated dinner.

Getting TowedGetting Towed

At 7 am the next morning the flatbed tow truck from Ramsay's Towing showed up. He loaded my truck on the flatbed and we headed to Kanab for repairs. As the clouds started to lift, I noticed the canyon was filled with fresh snow and beautiful light. I was in a tow-truck. I spent the next three days enhancing the economy of Kanab, Utah while my truck got a new fuel pump and sending unit. My seven-day adventure netted one usable photo and cost about $2,000.

Sometimes you're the windshield. Sometimes you're the bug!

By the way, I highly recommend Ramsay Towing and service in Kanab, Utah. Their service was far over and beyond expectations and their rates were a bargain.




Loved the story, Dusty. I admire the way you see picture possibilities whether it’s waiting for the right lighting, changing of colors. . . That’s what makes you stand apart.
No comments posted.
Other Sites and Links

Crested Butte, Colorado photographer, Dusty Demerson creates fine art photography displayed as prints and canvases and provides private photo tours in and around western Colorado.

Studio Website

Facebook page

Artist Statement

Artist Resume

Contact Dusty Demerson

Be the first to see this blog, get a free eBook, see new images, and seasonal promotions by signing up here. Sign me up. I'll send just a few emails a month to keep you up to date on new blog posts and special promotions. I promise not to share your information or send you spam! You can unsubscribe at any time.