Grand Canyon Winter Sunrise, USA by Michael Perea

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Picture Story

The first winter storm in Arizona was on Christmas Day, and I got to the Grand Canyon South rim just as it was wrapping up. I was there originally for sunset, but the clouds kept the sun light from making it into the canyon. I came back in the morning and the conditions were much better. There were a few high altitude clouds, and on the horizon to the south was a layer of mid altitude clouds that looked like would let the sunrise light into the canyon. I hiked out to a vantage point that I could see back to the southeast as much as possible, to make sure I could capture the first light making its way down. I started at blue hour, and made sure I had 4-5 different possibilities for compositions.

I shot this particular one at blue hour, and really liked it, but once I saw the golden light hitting the snowy edge in front me, I had to return and fire off a few more frames with the new light. It paid off, as I much prefer the golden tones and light, compared to the softer blue hour shot. The clouds reflecting the golden light into the canyon completely changed the colors in the canyon from magenta and blue to reddish orange.

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