Lens-Artists Photo Challenge – Waiting

Bryce Canyon, Utah.

It was still the “blue hour” when we arrived at the point where I planned to capture a sunrise. That time between first light and the sun making its morning appearance is called the blue hour simply because of the absence of the warmer colors that soon will explode into dawn. There were already several photographers waiting at Bryce Point, one of the many viewpoints in Bryce Canyon National Park. Each photographer was staking a claim to a section of the cliff’s edge from which he or she would hope to capture their portion of the glorious dawn that we all were anticipating.

While we waited for the sun to appear, some were busy in conversation, others like myself wandering around a bit and trying several compositions. It was only October and the day before had brought heavy rains to the area. Overnight, the rains lightened, then turned to snow creating a blanket of over 12 inches that rested on the hood, roof, and trunk of our car as it sat in front of the hotel. We had quite a drive to get to the park and we were concerned the roads might not be passable. That turned out to be a non-problem.

Eventually the sun peeked above the mountain range in the east and the clouds appeared to take on that fiery glow as the moment we waited for arrived. The waiting continued. As Bryce is known for its many hoodoos, rock formations that were worn by time into many spires of varying sizes, the culmination of the wait would be the golden sun tones illuminating the snow covered views below Bryce Point.

With the sun, the cloud patterns changed creating openings in the skies that added drama to the views from Bryce Point. I waited some more hoping the cloud ceiling would dissipate enough for the golden colors to illuminate the hoodoos below.

My patience was rewarded as the sun broke through the clouds and began to illuminate the lower terrain. Even though the clouds never completely disappeared, we were given ever larger glimpses of the sun bathed valley, as much as the clouds would allow anyway.

Our persistence was rewarded that morning with an opportunity to capture images that only photographers who can wait patiently have the opportunity to collect. Amy is the inspiration for this week’s challenge to share images focusing on those who wait. You can read her entire challenge post here.

John Steiner


  1. Ohhhh wowwww. Stunningly gorgeous. Reminds me of the old Arizona Highways magazines (even if it is Utah) that my dad used to get when I was a kid, which had drop-dead fantastic photos of the desert. Well done.

  2. Bryce in the snow is magical, the only visit I have made was in snow – March time when much of the park was still closed. Lovely photos John. I don’t think we ventured out so early!

    • As it turned out, our visit was quite short due to the snow. Only two viewpoints were open. We’d planned to spend the day and move on. They told us it would be unlikely the park would be open before late afternoon. We still need to visit the rest of the par. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Some of the photos almost don’t look real…amazing. I have loved snow since I was a kid and it could get me out of school for a day. Now, my “love” for snow is more theoretical than applied and we hope to move to a place with no snow in the very near future.

    Thanks for these amazing photos.

    • In a sense, they are “art”. I did use some photo manipulation to bring out the warm colors and sharpness in the detail.
      I concur about love for snow being “theoretical”. If I have to tolerate it, I better get some good pictures in return. >grin<

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