Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

More crowding

with 13 comments

(The title of today’s post was meant as a follow-up to the post called “A subspecies” that should have gotten e-mailed to subscribers early yesterday morning. A WordPress glitch prevented that, so if you didn’t see the post, you can check it out now.)


The main part of Zion National Park in southwestern Utah was just as much a zoo when we visited on October 22nd as the Grand Canyon had been a few days earlier. Adding to the crowding at Zion was the fact that all the schoolchildren in Utah had no classes that week. Lucky us.

Nevertheless, we overlooked (literally and figuratively) the swarms of people and managed to see some great sights. The ones shown here are the first two I photographed that morning as we drove into the park from the southeast.


© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

December 1, 2016 at 5:04 AM

13 Responses

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  1. Ah, the Checkerboard Mesa – nice to see it in its full glory, we saw it covered in snow! I thought after Sedona, Grand Canyon and Bryce there would be nothing else to surprise me. I was wrong. Zion is incredibly beautiful.


    December 1, 2016 at 6:51 AM

    • I’d expect to see your last three sentences as a blurb on a travel guide to Zion. I’d never been to Zion or even seen pictures of it that I can recall, so I was happily surprised as well. What I didn’t expect was swarms of tourists so late in the calendar year. I hope the snow didn’t impede your getting around while you were there.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 1, 2016 at 7:56 AM

      • We were impressed that the roads are kept so clear, though of course much of the park roads were closed at that time of year, but the benefit was hardly any tourists around (apart from us and a few other hardy folk).


        December 1, 2016 at 10:54 AM

        • Good for you for being hardy. If we ever return we’ll try to go later in the autumn or early enough in the spring that the hordes aren’t there yet.

          Steve Schwartzman

          December 1, 2016 at 11:02 AM

  2. Steve, Zion is one of my favorite natural wonders. I spent many visits there in the 70s and 80s. Fortunately, the park was never crowded in those days. People seemed to visit in slow streams, which suited our memories and visits. It is a place of breathtaking experiences.


    December 1, 2016 at 7:51 AM

    • After our visit, I can see why Zion is one of your favorite natural wonders. You’re fortunate indeed to have visited long enough ago that throngs of tourists hadn’t yet taken over the place. I hope you’ll get to go back at least once more—in the off-season, so as not to vitiate your memories.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 1, 2016 at 8:03 AM

  3. I’m very sorry to have to admit that I’ve never visited Zion or Bryce–or even Yosemite, for that matter. I really hope to rectify this some day, especially since I’ve been a long-range disciple of Ansel Adams since shortly after a fellow student in Berlin showed me how to make a black & white print in a darkroom in 1969.


    December 1, 2016 at 8:54 AM

    • On a trip two decades ago we set out to remedy a similar deficiency. We flew to Salt Lake City and rented a car. The primary objective was Yellowstone, and along with it we saw varying amounts of four of the five national parks in Utah. The recent trip was meant to fill in the fifth, Zion. I do hope you won’t wait long before heading out to that part of the country, which is enchanting.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 1, 2016 at 9:02 AM

  4. the geology/history in that first image would keep me there studying /marvelling/wondering until someone nudged me along the path!

    Playamart - Zeebra Designs

    December 1, 2016 at 9:11 AM

    • Fortunately there are plenty of places there where you could stand and not be in anyone’s way. Not that you need more inspiration for your art, but Zion would provide huge doses.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 1, 2016 at 9:21 AM

  5. It’s funny that you made reference to a zoo. The creases in the rock in the top photo remind me of elephant skin.

    In the second photo, are those cliffs covered with small bits of vegetation from top to bottom? It looks as though seeds have fallen from the top (or perhaps have been deposited by birds) and have taken root all along the cliff face. Instead of a waterfall, you captured a plant-fall, with a great splash of green at the bottom.


    December 1, 2016 at 9:42 PM

    • I used the word zoo without any thought of animals (other than human ones), in its slang sense of ‘a place or situation marked by confusion or disorder,’ but now that you mention it, there is a pachydermal quality to the rock formation in the first photograph.

      In the second picture, each green speck on the cliffs is indeed a plant, probably a young evergreen, that has taken hold.

      Steve Schwartzman

      December 1, 2016 at 9:57 PM

      • I see from the Online Etymology Dictionary that the slang sense of zoo is attested only as far back as 1935.

        Steve Schwartzman

        December 1, 2016 at 10:12 PM

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