Saturday, April 11, 2009

It's Not the Travel Channel

As we travel from observation point to observation point at Bryce Canyon NP, we have on more than one occasion thought about the Travel Channel's segments on destinations such as Bryce.

The travelogue scenes, such as these from Paria View (left), are beautiful, but before a person can respond to another's urgent "Look, look" cry, the image is gone from the screen. And therein lies the difference between a glimpse offered by a traveler's film and a lingering, detailed survey conducted by an observer of the wonders before him/her.

For example, the scene in the first photo is overwhelming and takes a bit of time to absorb.

Then begins a slower, point-by-point survey of the entire landscape. Taking a few steps to the left, our eyes settle on the portion of the rock formation (above) just out of range on the right side of the first photo.

Taking a few more steps to the left reveals (with the aid of a telephoto lens) the detail of the formation in the lower right corner behind the shrub on the second photo. The small pillars (above) produce even more wonder because of their delicate balance on the top of this cliff. (Double click on the photo to enlarge it to see the detail more clearly.)

The following images are further examples of scenes that attract one's attention, depending on the weather conditions, time of day, and viewer observation points.

The scene captured in this photo (right) was interesting because of the reflection of the sunlight from the formation in forefront onto the one behind it.

It is not unusual to even miss some interesting details as one focuses on other points in a scene.

In this photo, the white boulder-like formations caught our eye because they were so different from the red hoodoos. As a result, we missed the limestone formation, only partially visible at the top of the photo above.

Taking a closer look reveals the structure of the formation not merely the difference in color.

We were constantly re-setting our orientation to each scene at each viewpoint in the Canyon.

Moving to Bryce Point presented us wth the same opportunity. Survey the whole scene, wondering (in this case) just how many miles I can see from this point in the Canyon.

Then supplement the feeling of awe resulting from the entire scene with the smaller surprises found in the details.

One such detail is shown here. The grottos are the result of erosion of softer pockets of the upper White Member of the Claron Formation.

Seeing the third dimension of a scene of your own preference at your own pace--therein lies all the difference.

Travelogues arouse curiosity, observation satisfies it.

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