The Subway, #2 of 2014

141105_Subway_C1 v3_from PSB_getdpi“The Subway”
Arca Swiss Rm3di with Rodenstock 40mm HR-w lens, 8 seconds at f/11, iso 35 (2 shot stitch)

Most landscape photographers have a “bucket” list … locations they have seen images from and at some point in their lives want to visit to capture their own image. Some of the locations are rather generic in nature, and visiting them offers opportunities to explore and capture a variety of images. Other locations are referred to as “iconic”, a very specific place that offers such a compelling viewpoint it has been photographed in a similar fashion by thousands of photographers, often for many decades. Those wanting to photograph these iconic spots sometimes get some criticism when they ask questions about where they are or the best time of day or year to photograph them from other photographers, thoughts like not being original or finding their own locations. Of course those offering this sage advice have most likely already crossed the location off their own bucket list, and in fact learned about it from other photographers.

To me, some locations are just so incredible and completely unique they are worth visiting no matter how many others have done them before you.  I’ve also always felt while many of these locations are familiar to photographers, the vast majority are not that aware of what’s been done before and most may never have seen or really paid attention to images of some of these iconic locations.  So offering my image may allow at least some viewers to experience it for the first time, but to me the important point is I was able to experience it and I have my own image of it to enjoy.

Enough rambling … the point is this location known as the Subway in Zion National Park in southern Utah has been on my bucket list for a long time.  I’ve seen many amazing images of it over the years and a few years ago I started out only to be thwarted by heavy rains which had the stream flowing too high and fast to cross safely (which you must do many times as you hike up the canyon). The area is actually protected as wilderness, so there are no real trails or assistance, and you are required to have one of a limited number of permits to make the hike.  Overall it’s a fairly strenuous hike about 3.5 miles each way … with the last mile out requiring a steep winding ascent up the canyon side … usually in the dark. No canyoneering required, but it’s not a hike down a well traveled trail.

Probably not the wisest thing for a 61 year old out of shape photographer to tackle, but I decided at my age it might be now or never, and I was at least smart enough to bring a strong backed son in law to schlep the camera bag, ( and he even had to carry my small bag with my Sony and some trail mix  the last mile up that steep face).  I couldn’t walk for a couple of days, something about an inflamed LT band in my knee, but that cleared up easier than I thought it would … no long term harm.

It was worth it … what an incredible place.  As I mentioned in the first image from this series which was taken during this same hike, if  (or should I say when) I do it again, I will do some things differently. But I love this image and with all the effort it took, it probably should have been my number 1 choice.  However, I have one more image which is one of my personal favorites from all my work because of the colors, detail and mood … stay tuned for the final image in a few days.

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