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Rafting the Grand Canyon

A Photographic Adventure

Along the Way

 

Little Colorado Log, Grand Canyon ‹ May, 2000

The Little Colorado River joins the Colorado at Mile 61. Its colour is the most exquisite shade of crystalline turquoise I've ever seen. We spent several hours here swimming, playing and ‹ of course ‹ doing photography. 

Whether due to the remembrance of a joyful morning playing and shooting by the river, or the inherent qualities of the photograph itself, this image summarizes for me the sense of isolation and tranquility that this voyage provided.

Photographed with a Canon EOS-1V and 28~70mm f/2.8L lens on Fuji Provia 100F

Travertine Falls, Grand Canyon ‹ May, 2000

On the last day of the trip, at Mile 230, one encounters Travertine Falls. We were fortunate to drift by just as a waning moon positioned itself above the cliff.

Photographed with a Canon EOS-1V and 100~400mm f/5.6L IS lens on Fuji Provia 100F

Moonlight at Saddle Canyon, May 2000

This one's fun.

The trip began with a full moon and each night we were woken up with what at first appeared to be a bright spotlight in our faces. (We were sleeping without tents.) 

On our second night, camped at Saddle Canyon, Steve Kossack and I got up at 2am and did a series of time exposures. This one was for 4 minutes @ f/4.0. It was the longest of the series but still slightly underexposed. Proper exposure would have likely been about 6-8 minutes.

This was my first experience doing long time exposures with the new Provia 100F and I was very pleased to see that reciprocity characteristics appeared good and colour shift was minor.

Photographed with a Canon EOS-1V and 24mm f/3.5L T/S lens on Fuji Provia 100F

Star Trails, Grand Canyon ‹ May, 2000

By the sixth night of the trip the moon wasn't going to rise until about 2am, so we set up to do star trails. This is a 4 hour exposure, at f/4.0. I terminated the exposure just as the moon was starting to rise and so it provided some illumination on the distant cliffs.

In a print, or looking at the original transparency, you can see that the light from the rising moon that is being cast on the central cliff is warm, due to passing through the thickness of a great deal of the earth's atmosphere, just as is sunlight at dawn.

Also, without the limitations of a web display one can also see the rafts moored by the edge of the river in the lower left hand corner. This part of the picture was illuminated solely by moonlight.

Photographed with a Canon EOS-1V and 24mm f/3.5L T/S lens on Fuji Provia 100F

Cactus Cliff, Grand Canyon ‹ May, 2000

Just one of many shots taken that week of rock and plants details. You really need to see a high resolution print to enjoy the forms and textures of this image. The web is good for some photographs, but simply can't do justice to ones, like this, where detail defines the image.

Photographed with a Canon EOS-1V and 28~70mm f/2.8L lens on Fuji Provia 100F

Redwall Cavern, Grand Canyon ‹ May, 2000

Redwall Canyon, at mile 33, is a huge amphitheater carved out of the canyon wall by massive floods of the river over countless millennium. Many hundreds of people could fit in this cave at one time.

I took few shots with the XPan on this trip, but here using the 30mm lens I was able to exploit its wide field of view. It's worth viewing the enlarged 10" version so you can see people's silhouettes in the lower left hand corner to add a sense of scale.

Photographed with a Hasselblad XPan and 30mm lens on Fuji Provia 100F

Sidelight Tree, Grand Canyon ‹ May, 2000

As we drifted and motored down the Colorado, in addition to the grand vistas there were countless opportunities to shoot detail along the riverbank. Frankly, much of this is mundane, but is a valued personal record of what I saw.

A few images stand out though. This one, of a tree sidelight by a shaft of sunlight streaming down a narrow side-canyon, was a common sight.

Photographed with a Canon EOS-1V and 100~400mm f/5.6L IS lens on Fuji Provia 100F

Clouds and Cliffs, Grand Canyon ‹ May, 2000

I have no recollection of where this was shot, or even of having taken it. Just one of the hundreds of passing images as the boat drifted down the river, day after day. I almost passed it by when reviewing my film, but there's something about the juxtaposition of the cliffs and clouds that I find haunting.

I also find myself staring at a print of this photograph for longer than many others from this trip. There must be something there.

Photographed with a Canon EOS-1V and 100~400mm f/5.6L IS lens on Fuji Provia 100F

Yellow Tufts, Grand Canyon ‹ May, 2000

Again, a detail taken from the raft as we floated past the riverbank. 

What made this trip so interesting was that the scenery came to us, rather than the other way round. Sitting on the raft looking though a stabilized 100~400mm lens provided a wealth of ever-changing subject matter. A few shots, such as most of the ones seen on this page, stand out in some way.

Photographed with a Canon EOS-1V and 100~400mm f/5.6L IS lens on Fuji Provia 100F

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Concepts: Moon, Camera, Colorado River, Lunar phase, Fujifilm, Provia, Velvia, Month

Entities: Canon, Saddle Canyon, Little Colorado River, Redwall Canyon, Michael Reichmann, Steve Kossack, swimming, Colorado

Tags: Canon EOS-1V, Provia, 100F, trip, images, This one, Just one, cliffs, time exposures, hand corner, raft, joyful morning playing, Little Colorado River, long time exposures, photograph, ever-changing subject matter, high resolution print, mile, canyon, Colorado, exquisite shade, inherent qualities, crystalline turquoise, Travertine Falls, distant cliffs, Saddle Canyon, Proper exposure, waning moon, bright spotlight, reciprocity characteristics, original transparency, colour shift, great deal, huge amphitheater, Many hundreds, central cliff, countless millennium, massive floods, new provia, plants details