Hoodoo Sunrise: Winter in Bryce Canyon

Hoodoo Sunrise

The great thing about Bryce Canyon National Park, in Utah, is that it takes on a different feel and flavor as the seasons change. During the summer months, it is hot and dry and sometimes quite stark looking, yet beautiful and awe-inspiring at the same time. During the winter months, the same scene takes on a softer, more serene feel.

The carpet of snow, to me, doesn’t feel like it is smothering Bryce Canyon’s hoodoos, but rather, wrapping them up for now, hiding their base, and saving the bottom of the canyon for Spring to unwrap. Still, I adored the contrast of the bright orange hoodoos as they poked out of their cocoon. The orange was especially prevalent this morning since the sunrise was full of pinks and reds.

I had set out to make a winter photograph of Bryce Canyon and spent weeks of planning, or longer, if you count the time I spent waiting for winter. I had watched the forecast carefully, and had planned my travels accordingly. It would be chilly, but such is the nature of winter, and really, you have to put up with cold temperatures now and then. I rose well before the sun, a not uncommon event for me, and headed off to my chosen point. Oddly, it was called Sunrise Point, but that was just sort of happenstance.

As I waited for the sun in the cold temperatures a wind came up. I don’t know how cold it was, but my fingers tell me it was exceptionally cold. They’re pretty good judges of such things. A cold morning, made colder. I was concerned, too, about the cloud cover, since it was almost complete over the sky, which is not the best for photography. Still, there was a very narrow gap where the sun could squeeze through.

I waited, none too patiently, and eventually the sun rolled out of bed and began its climb into the sky. This photograph was made exactly when the sun broke the horizon; a moment of beautiful colors which raced across the sky. Before I could even think about another photograph, however, the sun ducked behind the cloud bank. That was, alas, the last time I saw the sun on this trip, but as Hoodoo Sunrise will attest, that’s OK.

I can’t wait to see what the hoodoos hold me in the next season, but whatever it is, it is sure to be amazing and beyond beautiful.

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