on landscape The online magazine for landscape photographers

Canyon Lands

Simon visits the Colorado Plateau where he finds canyons, hoodoos and a bridge full of photographers

Simon Harrison

Imaging satellite engineer with a penchant for travel and landscape


On the outer fringes of Zion canyon, in one of America’s most spectacular National Parks, I was out for a stroll. There was a quiet chill in the evening air; a reminder of the approaching winter. As I walked along the path my right ear filled with the sound of running water: the Virgin River, flowing in parallel close by, noisily chattering over rocks and roots out of sight behind the scrub. On my left a field of soft grasses was decorated with sinewy limbs of silvery sun-baked deadwood. A group of mule deer stood a little way off, chewing the desiccated vegetation and watching me nonchalantly. Behind them a line of majestic cottonwood trees were illuminated by the setting sun, golden in their autumnal splendour and highlighted against a backdrop of the diminishing outermost walls of this canyon which were deep in shade. Turning the other way I followed a narrow path through the undergrowth - probably made by both deer and people, neither of which are ever very far away in this lush place on the Colorado Plateau - and soon arrived at the sandy banks of the river. Smooth red boulders punctuated the soft sand, and atop one of them shortly ahead, I spotted a blue heron standing statuesque. Through the trees on the far bank I could see the eastern sandstone cliffs were ablaze in the setting sun, their rich orange colour reflected in the rushing waters, mixing the colours of sandstone with the blue of the desert sky.



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