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Arizona August 2004

The Grand Canyon

Everybody knows it is impossible to photograph the Grand Canyon. In the middle of the day, when shadows are short, even a panoramic view does not do it justice.

One can try putting something in the foreground to give it a sense of depth, but the background tends to get lost.

Putting somebody in the picture may provide some scale, but it is hard to convey the immensity of the place. It is hard to believe that the river, which you can barely see, 5000 feet below, is in fact a huge, powerful, raging torrent.

Sometimes, when the cloud shadows are just right, the picture may give you a small glimpse of the multiple planes that make up the canyon.

Maybe one should just concentrate on some details: an shapely dead tree, a steep cliff, or a few pine trees that, against all odds, seem to grow out of the rock itself.

It is not too hard to get a picture of a raven: they are always around begging for a scrap of food. And with a bit of luck you may be able to catch a young elk buck grazing by the side of the road in the evening light.

As the shadows grow longer you can take the classic sunset, when the valley slowly disappears into darkness.

No matter what, you have to be there to truly appreciate the grandeur of the Canyon.

The reason we went to the Grand Canyon this August was to celebrate Martha's 90th birthday. We had dinner at El Tovar, the old lodge at the edge of the South Rim. Then we went back to our rental house to open presents and eat cake.  Happy Birthday, Martha!

Next day: Climbing Humphreys Peak