Day 5: September 30, 2004 - Daily Commute

by Christian Williams

Night Falls on Mount Spry

Some people sit through 2 hours of traffic every day. Others, like us, have to make a daily commute through Zion National Park. Here we can see two lanes of traffic hurrying through the Pine Creek switchbacks, while Mount Spry looms above. Behind Mount Spry are the Towers of the Virgin and the Altar of Sacrafice.

Day 4: September 29, 2004 - 136 Kinds of Weather within 24 Hours

Mark Twain once commented, "In the Spring, I have counted 136 different kinds of weather inside of 24 hours." He could have been speaking of Zion National Park in the fall. I watched the weather quickly change from beautiful blue sky, to overcast, to flash flood levels within 1 hour.

by Christian Williams

The bright blue cloud sky and orange rock that is so often present in Zion can turn just about any photo into something special.

by Christian Williams

Bone White Rock

Within minutes the clouds started to roll in. The bright shining walls of Zion were covered in a cloudy haze. Dreary clouds often make for depressingly bad photographs, but for some reason I really like the stark white contrast of this image. It's as if the absence of blue sky and sunshine just sucked the life out of this photo.

by Christian Williams

A few moments later and the flood had begun. The eastern half of Zion was inundated with rain. It's amazing how quickly the weather can change in Zion, and even more interesting is how isolated the weather can be. The lower half of Zion was still experiencing blue sky and sunshine, while every rock wall, canyon, and dry river bed on the east rim was transformed into a raging river or waterfall.

Day 3: September 28, 2004 - Sun Beams in Pine Creek

by Christian Williams

Let There be Light

This photo was taken down by Pine Creek in the morning. The scene looked promising, but poorly lit, and I was struggling with the extreme range of light and dark. On a whim, I decided to increase the exposure by several stops and was surprised to see the dramatic rays of light illuminating the leaves of this Cottonwood tree from behind. It's interesting to see how the beams of light almost appear to be pushing back the darkness into shadows.

Day 2: September 27, 2004 - West Temple Smoky Sunrise

by Christian Williams

The fires of the previous day had subsided, but a smoky haze still lingered in the air the next morning. I drove along highway 89, looking for unpaved 4x4 trails that might provide an unfettered view of Zion. The above photograph is actually several images stitched together at 500mm with a telephoto lens.

by Christian Williams

Here is a wide shot from where I was standing in front of a barbed wire fence. The smoke filled sky gives the image a rather dark and ominous feel.

by Christian Williams

On the way back I stopped by Coral Pink Sand Dunes State park. While technically not part of Zion National Park, this area shares much of the same geology. It is a favorite place for 4-wheelers as you can tell from the tracks in the sand dunes.

Day 1: September 26, 2004 - Checkerboard Mesa Fiery Sunset

by Christian Williams

The iconic Checkerboard Mesa of Zion bathed in violet light from a smoke filled sunset.

The first of 365 days in Zion National Park. As luck would have it, the Park Service was doing a "controlled burn" on the East Rim, flooding the sky with smoke. As the day ended, the smoke scattered the rays of light, revealing a beautiful deep purple sunset.

by Christian Williams

It was a unique expierence like we have never seen before or since in Zion. We couldn't decide which Checker Board Mesa picture was better, the landscape or portrait.

by Karen Williams

Smoke Billows Skyward From the East Rim

The controlled burn seemed a bit uncontrolled, to our uneducated eyes, as we watched the smoke pour out from the East Rim. Perhaps the burn really was out of control as additional volunteer firefighters were called in later that evening.

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365 Days in Zion is a photo experience by Karen and Christian Williams. Together, we spent an entire year in Zion National Park amidst snow, rain, flash floods, brush fires, and the beautiful sunny blue skies that typify Southern Utah in the United States of America.

365 Days in Zion National Park

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