Day 308: July 30, 2005 - Hoodoos

by Christian Williams
The mountains in Zion are always interesting to study, with their many different faces. There are sheer walls, different colors of rock, mesas, and on this particular mountain there are the small hoodoo rock formations that pop up out of the mountain face.

Day 307: July 29, 2005 - Clear Creek Narrows

by Christian Williams
During the summer there are many narrow canyons without water in them. I hiked up the Clear Creek Narrows today, which in the winter would often have water running through it. This new area to explore was filled with textured rock walls with nooks and crannies at every turn.

Day 306: July 28, 2005 - Fading Light


by Christian Williams
I waited around for sunset. Often in Zion when there are clouds in the sky, there is the potential for bright spectacular colors at sunset. Today it wasn't so. But the purple hues on the red rock still make for a pretty view of Zion in the fading light.

Day 305: July 27, 2005 - Milky Way Checkboard Mesa

by Christian & Karen Williams
This photo was a group effort, with Karen behind the camera and Chris in front of the pine trees in the foreground "painting" the Checkboard Mesa with a large spotlight. The camera was on a tripod and set to a 30 second long exposure, which gave us enough time to shine the spotlight over the surface of the Mesa. The ISO was set to 3200 to boost the light absorption of the imaging sensor and allow the detail of the stars to show through. A high ISO adds quiet a lot of grain to the photo, but was necessary because too long of a shutter speed would cause the stars to "blur" as the earth rotates. If the camera were attached to a telescope, which could compensate for the rotation of the earth, we could have used a longer shutter speed, without the high ISO.

In this photograph, you can clearly see the various stars and nebula and gas clouds which are thousands of light years away. On a clear, late night in Zion, it's possible to see this section of the Milky Way with your visible eye. Living in the city, it's easy to forget how wondrous the heavens appear in the dark of night.

Day 304: July 26, 2005 - Watchman Sunset


by Christian Williams
Watchman is a beautiful landmark in Zion, but sometimes difficult to capture in a striking photograph. I returned there many times over the summer in an attempt to photograph it at sunset. Although this picture is after the sun has mostly set, it turned out nicely with the warm colors on the river and in the sky.

Day 303: July 25, 2005 - Posing Lizard


by Karen Williams
This lizard posed for me for awhile, giving me a chance to admire the patterns on his scaly skin and to capture his super model pose.

Day 302: July 24, 2005 - Vivid Colors


by Karen Williams
In east Zion there are long stretches of patterned rock. The red rock of the mountains looked especially vivid today with the bright blue sky and bold white clouds in the background.

Day 301: July 23, 2005 - Yellow Flowers


by Karen Williams
I look at this picture and think, "I like how the flower has multiple bright yellow blooms on it." Chris looked at this picture and said, "Wow, those look like alien spores from Star Trek or something."

Day 300: July 22, 2005 - Green Pine Cones


by Karen Williams
The late afternoon sun cast a warm glow on these bright green pinecones. I had never seen a green pinecone before, for some reason it never occured to me that they would start out green and only turn brown in the fall.

Day 299: July 21, 2005 - White Flowers


by Karen Williams
The white flowers appeared to glow in the dim light of early day, when contrasted with the sandy red rock beneath it.

Day 298: July 20, 2005 - Angel Trumpet Flower

by Karen Williams
It's easy to see where this beautiful, delicate desert flower gets its name Angel Trumpet. The scientific name is Datura wrightii or Sacred Datura and it is poisonous but the Native Americans sometimes used it as a hallucinogen (according to the guide on the bus in Zion).

Day 297: July 19, 2005 - Sunflowers


by Karen Williams
In the summer there are wild sunflowers growing all over southern Utah and I love them! They grow along the trails and roads of Zion which reminds me of a favorite passage I read as a kid in My Antonia by Willa Cather.



"Sometimes I followed the sunflower-bordered roads. Fuchs told me that the sunflowers were introduced into that country by the Mormons; that at the time of the persecution, when they left Missouri and struck out into the wilderness to find a place where they could worship God in their own way, the members of the first exploring party, crossing the plains to Utah, scattered sunflower seed as they went. The next summer, when the long trains of wagons came through with all the women and children, they had the sunflower trail to follow. I believe that botanists do not confirm Fuchs's story, but insist that the sunflower was native to those plains. Nevertheless, that legend has stuck in my mind, and sunflower-bordered roads always seem to me the roads to freedom."



I read this book before I had ever seen the sunflower lined roads in Utah, and it came to mind the first time I saw the roads in the summer with bright yellow flowers as far as the eye could see.

Day 296: July 18, 2005 - Afternoon Light

by Karen Williams
In the early afternoon, the sun was shinning strongly and there was a beautiful reflection on the rock. However, after spending some time in this area trying to capture the light, I was a bit disappointed when I came home and the pictures didn't look as spectacular as the real thing. The colors are still nice, but there are times in Zion where the rocks really glow, and I had hoped to capture that. It didn't work this time!

Day 295: July 17, 2005 - Moonlight Reflections in Zion


by Christian Williams
It was a marvelous night for a walk in the moonlight. This picture is interesting for a few reasons. First, the moon has such a bright aura, it looks like the afternoon sun, except it's clearly not bright enough to chase away the darkness of night. There's a nice analogy in there somewhere.

The next interesting thing is the reflection of the moon, complete with the shadow of the tree that appears in the lower left corner of the image. This results from the moon reflecting on the lens itself, and the reflection is picked up by the image-sensor in the camera. Notice how the details of the moon are exposed so you can see them in this reflection, but not in the moon itself. This is because some of the light gets lost as the image is reflected, which exposes the reflection properly, while the moon itself is overexposed with no details. An otherwise boring photo, made interesting to me by these two details.


by Christian Williams
The 500mm lens I used in this shot is about 2 feet long and almost gives me the illusion of being able to reach out and touch the details on the moon's surface.

Day 294: July 16, 2005 - Lonely Yucca


by Karen Williams
A solitary yucca plant grows in the middle of a rock wall. I love the way desert plants grow in the tiniest sand beds, or even straight out of a small crack in the rock.

Day 293: July 15, 2005 - Kolob Alcove


by Christian Williams
Today I went to Kolob to explore some new terrain. I found this alcove of red striped rock, and enjoyed a bit of cool shade before trekking off to explore some more. Kolob is a wonderful place to explore, with its vivid red rock mountains and expansive less visited terrain.

Day 292: July 14, 2010 - Moonrise over Watchman


by Christian Williams
We sat down by the river and watched the sun setting - which created a beautiful range of colors, from the warm light of day, to the cooler light of dusk.

Day 291: July 13, 2005 - Scorching Summer


by Christian Williams
When I see pictures of these desert mountains, I can remember the dry heat of the summer, with the scorching sun in the sky reflecting off the beautiful white cliffs. It is not the most pleasant hiking conditions, but the desert's unique beauty makes the heat worth it.

Day 290: July 12, 2005 - Morning in the Park


by Christian Williams
I went to Zion early this morning. As I hiked along the striped rock, the sun began to illuminate the mountain tops in the distance, causing the rock to glow with warm light.

Day 289: July 11, 2005 - Crack in the Wall


by Christian Williams
While hiking through the canyon, I came to an open space with the light shining down on the wall. The lighted red rock walls contrasted with this vertical crack splitting the wall.

Day 288: July 10, 2005 - Snakes and Tunnels


by Christian Williams
This little snake was fun to chase around and try to photograph. I like the way this photo turned out. I adjusted the aperature so I could capture the sharp gaze of the snake as he slithered across the sandstone.


by Christian Williams
As I hiked through the canyon, I came to this wall which looked like a vertical tunnel in the rock. The deep red rock looks beautiful on this uniquely shaped curved wall.

Day 287: July 9, 2005 - Daisy Bundle


by Karen Williams
In this rocky canyon I found a little bundle of daisies poking up from between two rocks. It seemed like an unusual place to find these little flowers that look like they belong in a green meadow.

Day 286: July 8, 2005 - Thistle


by Karen Williams
This beautiful pink thistle caught my attention while hiking in the wash. I love the beautiful soft bloom with the sharp green spikes surrounding it. And it totally looks like the place for me to plug in my Avatar ponytail so I can commune with Mother Earth.

Day 285: July 7, 2005 - Main Canyon View


by Karen Williams
While driving through main canyon I stopped to enjoy the towering mountains of different colors, striking and imposing against the deep blue sky.

Day 284: July 6, 2005 - Canyon in Shadow


by Christian Williams
This shadowy canyon has interesting curving walls and variations of color in the rock.

Day 283: July 5, 2005 - The Subway


by Christian Williams
The Subway is a very famous landmark in Zion, so named for its tunnel-like shape. Permits are required and only a few people are allowed in each day. The hike is pretty far, through a river, and very tiring, but the views are absolutely stunning. Zion is full of beautiful places, but this unique canyon is one of the most fantastic hikes I have ever been on.


by Christian Williams
The clear water was beautiful, glowing with colors of green, gold, and blue.


by Christian Williams
Yes, the water is snow melt, and it was incredibly cold. It was a hot summer day, but Karen had to go warm up in the sun after this little dip in the river.



by Christian Williams
This year had so much rainfall that the river was higher than normal, which made the hike a little tougher, with some spots where Karen actually had to swim across small pools of water. The cold water was quite refreshing on this hot summer day, but I wouldn't want to brave this hike in cold weather!


by Karen Williams
While the Subway itself was beautiful, I felt that the hike to get there was the best part. Large pools, small waterfalls, and vivid green plants made this hike seem like it belongs in a more tropical location than southern Utah.


by Christian Williams


by Christian Williams
There were waterfalls all around. It was a spectacular place to hike.


by Karen Williams
One of the reasons so few people are allowed into this hike is that there is no nice trail next to the river leading to the Subway. We had to hike in the river often, and up these delicate layered waterfalls. The impact on the landscape would be pretty severe if the trail was packed with hikers. Another benefit to the hiker limit, is that we rarely encountered anyone. This beautiful hike was enjoyed mostly in solitude - except when we luckily met a couple who told us we would have to scale a fallen tree to get to the upper part of the canyon where the Subway was located! Next time we will bring some rope to help with some minor climbing and repelling.

Day 282: July 4, 2005 - Mountains in the Warm Light


by Christian Williams
I went to Zion early this morning to capture some of the mountains in the warm early morning light. The rising sun always makes the red rocks a much more vibrant hue.

Day 281: July 3, 2005 - Muscle Tissue Rock


by Christian Williams
I hiked up the mountains in east Zion, and was struck by the lines in the rock. They look like the sculptures of muscle tissue I used to see in Biology class. It is amazing how intricate the lines in the rock are, creating beautiful patterns in every direction.

Day 280: July 2, 2005 - Jolley Gulch


by Karen Williams
When we were backpacking up on the East Rim Trail, we crossed over a waterfall that was in a canyon called Jolley Gulch. We decided to try and find it from down below so we could check out the waterfall. On the way up the canyon, I spotted this butterfly and loved the intricate patterns on its body and wings.


by Christian Williams
Here is the waterfall in Jolley Gulch. It required a bit of hiking, scrambling, and a whole lot of getting wet to get there, but the views in the canyon were well worth the effort.

Day 279: July 1, 2005 - Columbine


by Karen Williams
Columbine flowers look like they belong in Hawaii, not southern Utah. They are only found near springs in shady areas of Zion. I love their bright tropical colors, and unusual shape. And I love the areas where they grow - cool, wet oases in the middle of the hot, dry desert.

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365 IN ZION

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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