Adam Barker Review – Zion in the Fall
I recently had the opportunity to travel down to Zion National Park with fellow photog Kevin Winzeler to check out the fall foliage at its peak. The Box Elder and Cottonwood trees were going off, making for beautiful yellows, contrasting against the red rock. Unfortunately, an unusual cold spell had pretty much stripped the maples of their red leaves, leaving the color palette somewhat one-dimensional. I’m a bit embarrassed to say this was my first time down to Zion. It didn’t disappoint, but it did overwhelm to a certain degree. Much like any other iconic photo location, Zion presents a challenge in finding original identifiable images.
The one thought I had while shooting in Zion over a short 3-day period is that you really must put in your time not only to research the locations, but, more than anything, to hopefully luck out with some dramatic weather. We were stuck with clear skies whether we liked it or not, which made for good bounce light in the Narrows, but uninteresting sunrise and sunset shoots otherwise. You see so many shots from places like Zion, that you really must score unusual weather conditions if you hope to come away with something unique and memorable.
One of the shooting opportunities most unique to Zion is found in the Narrows. Carved over time by nothing more than rushing water, this deep slot canyon harbors a plethora of otherworldly images just waiting to be captured. It’s not too common to see direct sunlight in the Narrows, but high canyon walls serve as perfect natural reflectors, sending bounce light to and fro, creating colorful glows in unusual places. Should you decide to venture this way, be prepared to wade through ankle to thigh deep (and sometimes deeper) water the entirety of the canyon. Bring a sturdy tripod, and don’t forget your polarizing filter.
My pack of choice for the Zion trip was Clikelite’s Pro Elite. This is my workhorse pack, the one that carries pretty much everything but the kitchen sink. I’m the type of photographer that most often chooses to travel heavy rather than light, and the Pro Elite excels with loads of 25 lbs. or greater. I like to afford myself every opportunity to get the best possible shot, which means taking all the gear I think I may use. One of my favorite features of this pack are the dense foam shoulder straps–super comfy especially with heavier loads carried over longer distances.
If you have the opportunity, get yourself down to Zion National Park next fall–and don’t forget your Clikelite Pack!