Closed Trails, Weeping rocks, Rush Hour in Nature

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (16mm, f/2.8, 1/240 sec, ISO12800)

When we arrived at the parking lot of the shuttle bus it was still so dark that we had to use our mobile phones as torch lamps.

The plan was to start early morning to avoid the heat. We wanted to climb to Angel’s landing only to find out that the trail was closed. Not only the trail to Angel’s landing but also practically all the other exposed trails because they have been destroyed by a thunderstorm. No Angel’s landing! I think I have to cry: Weeping rock! Time to get out the XF 10-24 OIS.

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (10mm, f/8, 1/40 sec, ISO2000)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (10mm, f/8, 1/40 sec, ISO400)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (38.8mm, f/8, 1/210 sec, ISO200)

Now it really payed that we stood up so early. The low sun resulted in some dramatic lighting conditions. But Zion is not easy to photograph when you are down in the Valley. And because all the higher trails were closed we didn’t get the chance to see the park for high above.

We tried to make the best of the situation and there is still plenty to see even if you can’t go up.

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (16mm, f/9, 1/140 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (55mm, f/2.8, 1/100 sec, ISO400)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (24mm, f/4, 1/100 sec, ISO640)

Here down in the Valley the XF 10-24 OIS was by far the best option to cover the scenery. The 10-24 can be a tricky lens. It is not easy to fill the frame especially at 10mm but here this lens just works and sometimes I even wanted a wider lens.

A super wide angle lets you put everything into one frame. From the little pond on the Valley floor to the top of the rocks.

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (10mm, f/5.6, 1/50 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (10mm, f/9, 1/140 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (15.1mm, f/10, 1/450 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (10mm, f/10, 1/140 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (10mm, f/9, 1/300 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (16mm, f/8, 1/200 sec, ISO250)

When you look at the EXIF data you can see that the majority of the shots were taken with the lens on its wide end. There is no way that you could take those images with a smart phone or a normal compact camera.

But to have a real wide lens is not enough. You also need to have a camera with a larger sensor that can handle the wide dynamic range in between the bright lit rocks and the parts of the scenery that are into the deep shade. My X-Pro2 has a very good dynamic range. Maybe not quite at the level of a Sony A7Rx but still good enough to cover the scene.

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (16mm, f/5.6, 1/480 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (22.7mm, f/5.6, 1/680 sec, ISO200)
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (26.6mm, f/9, 1/550 sec, ISO200)

Before we went back to Springdale we drove a couple of miles on the Zion – Mount Carmel Highway and experienced first hand why cars are no longer allowed inside Zion NP. It was like rush hour. I guess the same will happen to other parks soon if the visitor numbers will continue to grow. One of the candidates that comes to my mind is the Arches NP.

After the hikes and the stop an go traffic in the park I got really hungry. Luckily that is not a big problem here.

FUJIFILM X-Pro2 (16mm, f/2.8, 1/200 sec, ISO1600)