Behind the shot - The Grand Canyon

This is one of my favorite landscapes I've shot, not only because of the range of color that the Grand Canyon presented, but also because of what we had to do just to get here. While the South Rim of the Grand Canyon is one of the most popular spots in the National Park, and we shared this overlook with at least 150 other photographers, we had quite the night driving just to get there. 

We left Portland, OR around 10am on the start of what was supposed to be a climbing road trip down to Arizona, where we had a friend who had a crash pad we could borrow. As beginning climbers this sounded like all we needed for a great climbing trip (we were hopelessly unprepared) and so we set off. After driving for about an hour or two the question was asked how long it would take us to reach the Grand Canyon. Google Maps said 18 hours. Sunrise was in 19 hours. We thought why the hell not.

So driving in shifts we began the longest drive of our lives. We went through what I am still convinced was a haunted abandoned town in the middle of nowhere Utah, stopped to let a heard of deer pass us by, and arrived at the Grand Canyon with enough gas to get there but likely not enough to actually leave. 

Once we'd arrived I basically saw there being two shots I could shoot: the first being angled away from the rising sun so as to catch the color in the sky and the first light upon an interesting protruding feature within the canyon, and the second angle towards the rising sun down the other end of the canyon. I chose the latter as most of the photographers were shooting right at the sun and I always try and be #different. 

I shot this on my Canon 5D Mark II with a 16-35mm f/2.8 lens and with some help from a 3 stop grad ND to compensate for the sky.