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Old Dec 11, 2010, 4:46 PM   #1
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Default Zion National Park, Utah

I have just returned from a week-long training session in emergency response to radiological incidents, held at the Nevada Test Site. I flew out early, rented a car, and spent a day and a half hiking and exploring Zion National Park. What an amazing place! I really can't put into words the stunning beauty of this place, and my photos don't do the place justice either.


Since I knew it was unlikely that I'd get out there again any time soon, I rented the Pentax 10-17 DA fisheye lens. I discovered that I don't know much about using a fisheye, and it definitely has a learning curve. Despite my ineptitude using the lens, I was glad I had it with me, and I think I got a few passable shots using the fisheye. By the way, the only place I could find that rents lenses for Pentax cameras was cameralensrentals.com. They were great to deal with. Just as they were preparing to send the lens, my credit union had a computer problem which caused my credit card to be declined. The folks at the rental company almost did backflips trying to accommodate me while my credit card was out of commission. They were very helpful, both over the phone and by e-mail. Just for the record, I have no affiliation with cameralensrentals.com, other than being a very satisfied customer. (If my mentioning this company violates Steve's terms of service, please accept my apologies. Just let me know, and I will edit this post.)


I tried to hike up to Angels landing, which is a spectacular hike. The last half mile involves walking along a knife-edge ridge which in some places is no wider than a city sidewalk, and it has a sheer vertical drop of over 1000 feet on either side. Unfortunately, the trail had several icy spots, and there would have been very little chance of recovering from a fall before tumbling over the edge. I decided to turn around just a few hundred yards from the top of Angels Landing. I hated to turn around, but many hikers have fallen to their deaths along this final ridge, and conditions were simply too dangerous to be worth the risk.


These first photos show some of the views I was treated to on the hike that went almost all the way up to Angels Landing. All photos were taken with the K20D; some with the DA 16-45, some with the rented 10-17 lens.
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Old Dec 11, 2010, 4:51 PM   #2
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While I was hiking back along the Angels Landing Trail, two large hawks flew overhead. Unfortunately I had the fisheye lens on the camera, and the hawks were nothing more than tiny dots in the sky. I did not have time to switch lenses. However, I was very fortunate to encounter other wildlife in the park. These animals were obviously accustomed to seeing people, as I was clearly visible to them and they barely paid me any notice at all. These shots were all taken with the Sigma 70-300 APO DG.
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Old Dec 11, 2010, 4:55 PM   #3
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Here are a few other photos taken along other trails or at various scenic pull-offs along the roads. Zion national Park is an awesome place, and while I was thrilled to have the opportunity to visit, I was very sorry I only had a day and a half there. I also want to tank those of you on this forum who gave such excellent advice a few months ago when I asked if anyone was familiar with Zion. I certainly hope I'll have the chance to return some time soon, with my entire family.
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Old Dec 11, 2010, 5:42 PM   #4
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Wow...your images brought back memories of my visit there last year! Too bad that the conditions for the last 0.5 miles of Angel Landing were not suitable for hiking. One definitely needs to exercise caution. In good weather it is a precarious walk--you did the right thing in not making the last leg of the trip. The images of the narrow path with the chains (#'s 3 & 4) still makes my palms sweat! You've captured very well the scale and depth of Zion--wonderful pictures...all of them!

I am envious that you got to see the mountain goats. I had heard that they are much more visible in the Winter months. I saw a few mule deer and some wild turkeys.

Zion is truly a heavenly place...glad you had wonderful visit!

I have plans to return in October 2011!

Jehan

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Old Dec 11, 2010, 5:44 PM   #5
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beautiful spot there and looks liek you had great conditions too with first snow lying in places - the first deer and goat thing are slightly out of focus sadly but the rest are fantastic captures

probably a wise choice not continuing up the trail no photo is worth dying over - sure you'll get back sometime and can get up there again when coniditons are better
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Old Dec 11, 2010, 6:40 PM   #6
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Oh, you've given me reason to go back to Zion in the spring or fall - what outstanding pictures. After seeing them I'd really like to do the Angels Landing hike - awesome views! the last time we were there I saw a number of mule deer - they just watch the tourists vaguely as they munch on grass or wander about, totally unconcerned (that December there was more snow than in your pictures - the trail to weeping rock wasn't passible due to snow and ice, at least not with my hiking boots on. I'd love to see the sheep - that's something I've never seen in the wild. Thanks for posting these!
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Old Dec 12, 2010, 5:07 AM   #7
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Wow, great shots and a great place to take them, thanks for posting these.
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Old Dec 12, 2010, 8:24 AM   #8
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Ohhhhhhhhh what beautiful views and so nicely captured. You took me to vistas I would never see on my own as I am bothered by heights.

I have found in my travel that the many wild animals in the national parks are quite approachable because the park rules are set up to protect them.

I hope your wish to go back with there with your family comes true for you.

Lou
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Old Dec 12, 2010, 3:23 PM   #9
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Really outstanding, Ted!
I can't believe you didn't ask me to go along... I'm really hurt.
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Old Dec 12, 2010, 3:25 PM   #10
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Really lovely series here... thanks so much for sharing these
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