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David J Grenier Fine Art Photography

Bryce Canyon National Park, November, 2012

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I visited Bryce Canyon at the end of October, 2012. I was astounded to see this magnificent site the first time I laid my eyes on the hoodoos that make up this unique canyon.

Bryce Canyon National Park is located in southwestern Utah about 50 miles (80 km) northeast of and 1,000 feet (300 m) higher than Zion National Park.  The rim at Bryce varies from 8,000 to 9,000 feet (2,400 to 2,700 m). The major feature of the park is Bryce Canyon, which despite its name, is not a canyon but a collection of giant natural amphitheaters. Bryce is distinctive due to geological structures called hoodoos, formed by frost weathering and stream erosion of the river and lake bed sedimentary rocks. The red, orange, and white colors of the rocks provide spectacular views for park visitors.

Bryce Canyon area was settled by Mormon pioneers in the 1850's and was named after Ebenezer Bryce, who homesteaded in the area in 1874. The area around Bryce Canyon became a National Monument in 1923 and was designated as a National Park in 1928. The park covers 35,835 acres (55.99 sq. miles; 145.02 sq. km) and receives relatively few visitors compared to Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon, largely due to its remote location.

What caught my eye at Bryce are the hundreds of bright colored hoodoos, which in sunny afternoon light appear to glow and have an iridescent quality to them. As the sun moves over the various amphitheaters from sunrise to sunset, the colors of the hoodoos change and create a never ending pallet of colors that are magnificent and simply delightful to watch.

The first image above was taken with my iPhone. Upon arrival in the afternoon, I walked to the canyon having made the decision that we did not need to take our camera gear with us, as we were 'just going up there to see Bryce for the first time and get oriented'. I never saw these same colors and iridescence again, but did capture the sunrise and the sunset images also shown above with my 'big boy' camera equipment.

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