Entering the Narrows

Entering the Narrows
Light reflected in the water of the Virgin River as it emerges from a narrow section of the canyon.

Entering the Narrows. © Copyright 2021 G Dan Mitchell – all rights reserved.

Light reflected in the water of the Virgin River as it emerges from a narrow section of the canyon.

We visited this popular area of Zion Canyon twice on this particular day. The first was very early in the morning after we caught almost the first shuttle bus into the valley and arrived during blue hour light. We walked slowly up to just about to the actual beginning of the narrows and back again, taking lots of photographic detours along the way. This trail is a bit of an odd one on which to photograph. Early in the morning there is a nearly unbroken procession of people heading to the narrows. But step off the trail a bit and you can be almost entirely alone. As we walked, I made mental notes about spots that might be interesting to photograph much later in the day.

Indeed, we went back late in the day, knowing that the sun would now come from the opposite direction, light the upper canyon walls, and reflect warm-colored and soft light down into the bottom of the canyon. We were not disappointed. The effect of that reddish reflected light shining softly on sandstone walls is spectacular in a quiet sort of way, and there was a lot of photography to be done! This photograph looks up the canyon toward one of the sunlit walls, and the reflection colors the surface of the Virgin River as it passes between the trees.


G Dan Mitchell is a California photographer and visual opportunist. His book, “California’s Fall Color: A Photographer’s Guide to Autumn in the Sierra” is available from Heyday Books, Amazon, and directly from G Dan Mitchell.

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Entering the Narrows