Las Vegas 2011: Grand Canyon and Zion National Park

After driving through the Canadian Rockies, I thought I was prepared for the Grand Canyon. Not a chance. Standing on the lookout on the North Rim (the highest lookout in the Canyon) the mind recoils at the sheer size of it all. I was expecting guard rails and tourist funnels that would keep people away from the edge, but where I was at least, you could walk right up to the edge. It was so far down my usual fear of heights didn’t even kick in, I think my brain just wouldn’t accept exactly how far the fall would be. Unfortunately this was just a side trip, a 5 hour drive each way from Las Vegas, which is where I spent most of the vacation. I could have easily spent a week at either Zion or the Grand Canyon, maybe next time. Zion was surprisingly beautiful as well, and who knew, the best Crème Brûlée I’ve ever had was to be found in “middle of nowhere” Utah in a restaurant housed in an old Gas Station. If you ever drive through Zion, make sure to stop at the Whiptail Grill and try their Peanutbutter-Chocolate-Habinero Crème Brûlée, it’s to die for.

I went on this trip fully loaded, two Leica bodies and my Sony Nex, and just like my England trip, I ended up using the Sony exclusively. Could I have gotten better pics with my full Canon setup? Would it have been nice to have three bodies on me at all times for different films speeds and faster lens changing? Did I miss having a tripod? Sure… but the small size and weight of the Sony and 3-4 lenses made the trip far more enjoyable than lugging a full gear compliment in 115F weather and I’m happy enough with the shots I got. I probably could have gotten better, yes, but travelling with a group I had to balance social time and photography time. I wasn’t about to make people wait around for the perfect light or the perfect spot to setup a tripod, and I really enjoyed travelling with a group. You can see more of my Grand Canyon and Zion shots on Flickr. Stay tuned for shots from Vegas and the Hoover Dam.