Waterfall in the Narrows



As mentioned in my last post, I as going to start off with an image that did not make it into the top three – one of the surprises (in my mind). This picture got one vote. One vote out of 109! This is one of my favorites! OK, I’ll get over it. 🙂 This image was made while walking down the north fork of the Virgin River in Zion National Park, Utah. The section of river is referred to as “The Narrows”. And when I say walking down the river, it is more like walking in the river. If you take the Parks Service bus to the end of the road and then walk to the end of the “Riverside Walk” you will find one of the starting points to enter the narrows. From here many people, but certainly not all, continue on in the river rather than beside it. My friend Steve and I decided we would grab a couple of the discarded sticks by the river bank that can double as a walking staff and head on up stream – in our hiking boots. As you start out it is a broad, pebbly, section of the river and the water is barely over your ankles. My camera was not in a waterproof bag, but I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to explore this canyon. And a canyon it was. The sides reached up vertically on both sides of the river for hundreds of feet. There was the odd spot were it sloped away, but it was largely vertical. This is why there is so much caution and discussion about flash floods in this area – there is nowhere to go if the water comes down in a big hurry.

Steve and I wandered on upstream, sometimes up to our waists in water, but always in awe of this beautiful place. We had a time limit to work to as the rest of our party had decided not to come up with us. We had to turn around at a given time and return to meet up with them. As we were wading back down the river, I looked over to my left and saw this water running down the rock. It was just after noon and the direct sun was able to penetrate the canyon. The light and abstract shape caught my eye. I remember just standing there, taking it all it. Totally relaxed by, and absorbed into, this beautiful place. And so, while standing in thigh deep water, and no tripod, I made this image.

My camera was fitted with a Sigma 50-150 mm f/2.8 lens pulled to its full focal length – a 35 mm equivalent of 225 mm. Exposure was 1/1000 of a second at f/4.0. ISO 160. I was also using a -2/3 stop exposure bias. It was shot as a jpeg rather than in raw. There was a reason for that, but that’s a topic for another posting.

Why does it work? As the person who voted for it said – “there is so much texture; if you touched it gold would come off on your hand”. I think the abstract nature of water running seemingly diagonally down the rock adds additional interest. I would like to see this as a very large print in a house with contemporary furnishing.

Why doesn’t it work? I think that is mainly to do with what it was displayed with. The majority of the other prints were very tangible “things” that people could quickly relate to. In many ways, this image did not fit.

Please let me know your thoughts.