The national parks were still closed at this point due to the government shutdown, so we couldn't enter Bryce Canyon National Park. Not to worry thought; there is plenty of beautiful scenery outside the park, and we were going to take advantage of it. Red Canyon is located not far outside of Bryce, and that's where we were going to spend a lot of our time this morning and evening...and into the night.
Orange and reddish sandstone cliffs, walls, spires, and hoodoos abound in this area and just seem to glow when lit by the early morning sun. One of the more well-known hoodoos located inside the national park is referred to as Thor's Hammer. Since we were unable to go into the park, we decided to name our own hoodoo, as seen in the photo below, and affectionately referred to as "Larry's Hammer" by our group. With the morning sun just peeking around the rock and with the camera's aperture stopped way down, I was trying for the starburst effect that you see here.
We spent a good part of the morning here, hiking around, enjoying the scenery, and snapping a few shots along the way...
...then came back to see how the landscape changed as the sun was heading to the other horizon.
At the end of the day, after downloading our images and having dinner, a few of us went back out to try and grab some shots of the Milky Way and have some fun with light painting. The first image below shows the Milky Way with silhouetted trees in the foreground. I kind of like how the smaller tree in the middle is backlit by the "milky" light of the stars. The second image was made using a long shutter speed and some experimenting with light. My friend Spike was in the tunnel spinning a green light on a string while rotating his body. The result is a cool image with a glowing orb of light illuminating the walls of the tunnel with the Milky Way in the background. Very fun and something I've got to try some more!
What a fun, but long, day! It was a very enjoyable learning experience for me and a great opportunity to try some new photographic techniques. Enjoy!