What Are Your Favorite National Parks?
I’ve just started really developing a desire to see the National Parks in the last year or so. I went to California probably close to fifteen times before finally making it out to Yosemite this year. I think that in all honestly Zion has been my favorite so far. Maybe it was just the amazing weather and light that we enjoyed while we were there, compared to the terrible light and utter lack of clouds I experienced in Yosemite. Perhaps it would be reversed if I experienced amazing weather in Yosemite rather than Zion? Who knows. I also really enjoyed how (relatively) small Zion was compared to some of the other parks.
Where Should I Go Next?
My short list for upcoming National Parks would definitely include Redwoods NP north of San Francisco, Yellowstone NP, Grand Tetons NP, Glacier NP, Denali NP in Alaska and Acadia NP in Maine. Give me your suggestions if you’ve been to some cool ones yourself!
Clearing Storms in Zion National Park
I had no idea what to expect when I went to Zion National Park with
We drove into the park and about 10 minutes later it started just pouring down rain. This was expected of course, we chose to drive out to Zion because there were storms in the area (that’s what happens when you go travel with storm chasers :-)). Immediately all of our phones started going off with flash flood warnings for the park. Stones and boulders started falling from cliffs into the road, the Virgin river started raging and the roads started to flood as well. The next morning we drove over to the east side of the park (through the tunnel) and just drove around looking for places to pull off. We found one and we all split up to see what we could find.
I eventually found this huge rock off the side of the road and decided to climb over to the edge of it. When I reached the edge, this was my view looking back toward the road. I’m begging you….please view this image BIG! The thumbnail just won’t do it justice. A storm was clearing out int he background and there were just so many layers of white clouds, dark stormy clouds and just a little blue sky peaking through. And the cliffs in Zion provided a most excellent foreground, paired with the awesome roads that were made to blend in with the park. All together, I really like the way this shot came together. Woohoo!
I had to use some very careful blending techniques in Photoshop to make this image possible. Since the sun was behind the clouds, the foreground was backlit…meaning the clouds were much brighter than the cliffs and rocks of Zion. I had to create a very precise selection of the horizon line to separate it from the sky, and then used luminosity masking to bring out some of the details in the clouds and blend the sky in carefully with the foreground. I messed around with this image incrementally for about a week before finally making myself stop :-).