Now some of you know, who have been following me for awhile that I have two places in the Southwest that I really enjoy going. Places that are pretty magical and pretty remote. Number one is White Pocket Arizona and the other is Toroweap sometimes called Tuweap. Now I think that both of these places are really swell and I always enjoy going to see them. As a matter of fact, if you haven’t been to either one of these, they need to go on the bucket list and you need to get a high road clearance 4×4 and get out there. Totally worth it.
I had been hanging out a couple of days in Kanab, Utah when I heard Colleen from Ravens Heart Gallery say that the river was running blue. The times I’d been before it had been more muddy colored. So I loaded up Jimy and we headed out on a fine June day. The journey was pretty uneventful and I even made it with an hour or so to spare. I tried to catch some shuteye at the campground without any luck and then headed down to the end of the road to get ready. June is my favorite month to image. Pretty much right after astronomical dark you can setup to capture the Milky Way and foregrounds.
I knew I was only going to get this one shot and was fine with that
Setting up this close to a 3,000-foot drop (I actually shot this again even closer to make sure I got the bottom) is nerve-wracking. It’s really hard to get an iPhone to focus in the dark with a headlamp by the way.
I had to drop down about 5-6 feet from a ledge above this to get the shot I wanted. I had about 3 feet to play with from the edge to the wall behind me. It was a perfect night, probably in the mid 70s, with just a very light breeze. The sky was crystal clear, the stars steady and without “winking” which is a great sign, the images should be impressive. I leaned back against the wall behind me as it is disorienting to stand in the dark this close to a massive drop. I leaned back then put my hands back on the rock to steady me and watched the camera gear do its thing. It was excessively quiet. I couldn’t even hear the water running swiftly below me. As I watched and waited suddenly I felt something large crawling on my hand.
Now I know the last thing you can do is panic on the edge of a cliff. So I flicked my hand and popped on my headlamp to quickly look what it was. It was a large fat Scorpion which was now stunned and a couple feet away from me. Prioritizing the situation I turned and paused the panorama and then turned my attention back to the scorpion. He was crawling back into a crevasse and I was in no mood to try to battle him and risk falling so I turned off my headlamp restarted the panorama and hoped for the best. This time I stood swaying a bit for the remaining 10 minutes of the shot. Sweet dreams are not made of these moments.
I was really fortunate I got this shot because a few days later a huge fire broke out north of here and the whole area had a haze of smoke. As soon as this shot finished I got my gear and went up top to take the Milky Way images. I think I just shuddered remembering the encounter.
Pretty much normal pano specs for me, 42 images. I thought the airglow here was wild until I ran into a couple of nights in Yellowstone. Enjoy everyone!!