When looking to take a trip to a new area I often look up popular pictures from the area to get an idea of what and where to photograph. Many photographers try to capture the essence of a place and looking at their work can give great insight into an area. I would say this is generally true except for the Grand Canyon. Many photographers are trying to capture the rich colors that are illuminated by sunrise and sunsets. All the parking lots fill up at sunrise and sunset. They look for rainbows and other weather related events that give scale to the vast size of the Canyon.
After several trip to the Grand Canyon and also trying to capture this same beauty I found myself frustrated; the same frustration that comes from trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. These added elements of weather and light are truly beautiful but the Canyon itself is not. When looking at the Canyon I do not see the work the Divine hand of creation. I do not find beauty, but the scene of unprecedented cataclysmic destruction. I find the remnants of floodwaters of desolation now baking in the sun soaked cliffs all majestic in its magnitude. Like true beauty, it brings me to stillness and wonder but it lacks the goodness of the Creator that must undergird true beauty.
With this new perspective of looking at the Canyon, the frustration fled away and the Canyon opened up to all kinds of possibilities for photography. Morning, afternoon and evening were filled with countless opportunities to capture what is continually exuding from the Canyon. So these photos are not beautiful in its truest sense but I believe they, however ineloquently, capture the truth of what the Grand Canyon is.