Smoke on the Canyon. I was going to go with Smoke on the Water (Deep Purple reference for those over 40), but honestly, there isn’t any in the picture. In fact, the hazy bits on the stars are from a distinct lack of water in the entire West last June. Fires were raging in multiple locations throughout Utah, Arizona, and even places like Califonia and Oregon. A thin haze hung over the entire area of Canyonlands National Park.

You can see the stars are slightly fuzzy and there are a few clouds, mostly by the Milky Way core that were drifting to the right. Earlier it had been a bit cloudy. The oddest part of the evening (which I was alone at last) was the smell. You could almost taste it in the air, a scent of fall leaves burning but yet quite faint.

The White Rim road lies below this perch, and you can make it out quite well in the image. It looks almost gentle and well maintained from this height. Driving it will tell you an entirely different story, however.

The solitude was visceral. Waiting here for the first shot of the night it had been mesmerizing as the sun set. Clouds were flitting about with fantastic colors. The almost ethereal look of the bluish haze played tricks on the mind as the light receded.

A shot like this is tough even in broad daylight. I love canyons I do, but they are so hard to process. At night standing on the edge of a drop of hundreds of feet it just seems so surreal. Like there is nothing there at all, just inky blackness. As if some earth-bound black hole had opened in the space before you. Thoughts flit through your mind; “I could just jump there is nothing there!”

If you have never done it, I can not recommend standing on the edge of a massive cliff highly enough. Especially at night, alone without anyone for miles.

Technical: Canon 6D 55mm f1.6 ISO 8000

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