American Southwest Trip, 2018: Panorama and HDR

This is a collection of panorama and HDR photos from Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, and Zion national parks, as well as Cedar Breaks National Monument. The vast majority of these were not originally shot as panorama or HDR, but were converted from separate photos that I felt looked better merged together. The two that were actually shot as HDR/panorama are captioned as “True Panorama” or “True HDR.”

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American Southwest Trip, 2018: Cedar Breaks National Monument

Cedar Breaks National Monument was my second stop on the way to Zion from Bryce Canyon (after previously stopping for a brief hike in Red Canyon). The drive involved a pleasant detour along a scenic country road in which I was frequently the only car on the highway. I didn’t have time to do a big hike here but I walked around the rim for a bit. It has a similar feel to Bryce Canyon (in fact, a couple of times while I was sorting photos from the trip I accidentally put Cedar Breaks shots in with the Bryce pics).

Overall, I wouldn’t say it’s a must-see if you’ve been to Bryce, but if you have the time, it’s a nice diversion with beautiful views along the rim at nearly two miles above sea level (so even in warm months you may need a light jacket).

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Canada Trip, 2016: The Ovens and Lunenberg

In the middle of our long drive from Halifax to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, we stopped at The Ovens, a beautiful coastal national park featuring a hiking trail along a series of sea caves. We then had a nice early dinner at a little German restaurant on the side of the road before heading into the cute seaside town of Lunenburg for a walk. Lunenburg is another of those towns that made me fall in love with the Canadian Maritimes and fantasize about moving there.

Fans of Locke and Key may recognize both The Ovens and Lunenberg as filming locations for the series, though our visit was long before the show aired. I seem to have a habit of visiting places before a TV show begins filming there–years ago I visited both Split and Dubrovnik in Croatia before Game of Thrones had begun filming in those cities.

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Glacier National Park, 2019: Panoramas

This is a collection of panoramas from my visit to Glacier National Park. For the most part I didn’t take any deliberate panorama shots on this trip–these were all stitched together from separate photos that I later realized would make good panoramas. The exceptions are the two night shots, which were sort of deliberate in that I aimed the camera in the dark at different angles for long exposures and hoped for the best (the Lake McDonald one, in particular, turned out pretty well).

The first four photos below feature views from the hotels where I stayed in Apgar Village and Many Glacier; the next three were taken during my hikes of the Highline and Grinnell Glacier trails, and the final photo is a view that should be familiar to fans of The Shining or Big Sky.

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American Southwest Trip, 2018: Bryce Canyon – Thor’s Hammer and Rim Trail

This final batch of photos from my visit to Bryce Canyon National Park consists of shots from the other leg of the Navajo Loop Trail, where I partially descended for a view of the famous Thor’s Hammer rock formation before climbing back up and starting my full descent into the canyon down the Wall Street leg. Additionally, there are photos from my walk along the Rim Trail between Sunrise and Sunset points.

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American Southwest Trip, 2018: Bryce Canyon – Queen’s Garden Trail

These photos are from my ascent up the Queen’s Garden leg of my 3-mile hike down into and back out of the canyon. As I’ve mentioned before, a stroll through Bryce Canyon National Park is like a visit to another world, and there are definitely some otherworldly looking photos in this batch.

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American Southwest Trip, 2018: Bryce Point and Paria View

These photos are from two scenic lookouts, taken shortly after a massive rainstorm finally subsided. I had thought the entire day was going to be a washout and considered giving up, but I stuck it out and was rewarded with some beautiful scenery. The first few pics, shot at Paria View, feature multiple rainbows shooting down from the clouds, though one rainbow is most prominent.

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Canada Trip, 2016: Franey Mountain

The centerpiece of our stay in Cape Breton was our hike of Franey Mountain, an 1,100-foot ascent that took us between 3 and 4 total hours up and down. It could have been done more quickly but we took our time, soaking in and photographing the beautiful scenery of the Cape Breton Highlands along the way (as well as a pretty bird that I believe was a ruffed grouse).

There are two trails that lead to the top. The one we chose for the climb turned out to be the better one in terms of the views–we chose the other trail for the hike back down, which was much less challenging but also much less interesting from a scenery perspective. I don’t remember which was which, but if you’re looking at a map, the straighter looking trail is probably the less interesting one. Either way, you are likely to take both: one on the way up and the other on the way down.

Overall, it’s a beautiful hike. Climbers who reach the peak are rewarded with spectacular views of lush green mountains along a picturesque coast, as well as the opportunity to sign the hiker’s guest book attached to an Adirondack chair at the top. If you find yourself in Cape Breton, Franey Mountain is definitely worth a visit.

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Upstate New York Trip, 2015: Watkins Glen State Park

The photos below are from my hike through Watkins Glen State Park, a hidden gem located right on the main street running through the town of Watkins Glen. It’s hard to imagine that such a serene and gorgeous oasis of nature could be located so close to a bustling town (it was really bustling when I was there thanks to a car parade), but this park is such a place. It does not take long as you venture into the park for civilization to completely fall away to the point where you feel like you’re hiking through sublime wilderness.

The park has frequently been likened to Rivendell (of Lord of the Rings fame)—and with its myriad waterfalls, cascades, and stone bridges, it’s easy to see why. It is well worth the visit, and if you pair it with a visit to Letchworth (as we did), you will see two of the most beautiful state parks this country has to offer.

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American Southwest Trip, 2018: Bryce Canyon Navajo Loop

These photos are from my descent down the Wall Street portion of the Navajo Loop trail. The Wall Street name apparently comes from the high walls and narrow passageways (known as a slot canyon) characteristic of this part of the trail. A lot of these shots have that “alien planet” feel. Some of the more interesting pics depict tall trees rising up through the canyon walls to find the sun.

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