Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Two views of the Grand Canyon

with 31 comments

Here are two pictures of the Grand Canyon, one for each of the years since our visit on this date in 2016.

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 19, 2018 at 5:15 PM

31 Responses

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  1. wow


    October 19, 2018 at 7:16 PM

  2. The first image is quite striking, the bowl really pops from the color change in strata.


    October 20, 2018 at 7:04 AM

  3. These images remind me of vintage postcards. Even when unused, their colors always seemed a little muted. When I’d come across them in antique shops, I always assumed the colors had faded with age.

    Now I’m wondering if they might have been more realistic than I realized. In this age of smartphone cameras being designed to (over)saturate colors, and of people trying to match that effect in post-processing, realistic colors can seem a little bland. It’s an issue with photos of autumn color, too. Red, orange, and yellow trees are pretty enough as they are, but some clearly have been “enhanced.”

    The variety of colors here is astonishing. It always surprises me to see the lavenders and purples lurking around.


    October 20, 2018 at 9:12 AM

    • I remember the kind of vintage postcards you mean, and my guess is that the technology didn’t allow (at least not cheaply) for the more-saturated colors the producers of the cards would probably have preferred.

      The question of saturation is one that concerns many photographers these days. Sometimes when I look back at certain old posts of mine I think the colors did get overly saturated. In a few cases I’ve reprocessed the image and substituted a more-natural version into the post, even though almost no one will ever likely see the change.

      As we’ve discussed before, so many factors contribute to how someone sees an online photograph. Some of them are: the way the camera records what it sees; how the photographer processes that recorded information; the monitor on which someone views the processed image; the rods and cones in the eyes of the viewer, along with the neurons mediating what those eyes see. Further complicating the situation is that the same viewer can see a given image differently at different times.

      (In writing photographer I accidentally typed protographer, which strikes me now as a good portmanteau for professional photographer.)

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 20, 2018 at 9:28 AM

      • And sometimes the same issues arise in printed material. When the Fall 2017 NPSoT News arrived, I almost asked you about its front and back covers. They didn’t look natural to me, and I pondered a good bit over whether it was the printing, my eyes, my expectations, or my faulty memory that made them seem unnatural. I just pulled out the magazine, and had the same response. It’s an interesting issue (the topic, not that particular magazine) and one I try to pay attention to.


        October 20, 2018 at 9:46 AM

        • Certainly. With printed images some of the factors are obviously the same, while others are particular to printing, like the kinds of inks and the kind of paper, and how the inks and paper change over time. There’s also the lighting under which someone views a printed image.

          Steve Schwartzman

          October 20, 2018 at 10:03 AM

  4. Nice to see other angles than the usual ones – great shots.


    October 20, 2018 at 12:45 PM

    • I took all my pictures of the Grand Canyon from its south rim, which was swarming with tourists taking pictures too (though often of themselves). If I can claim any credit, it’s in finding good and perhaps atypical compositions.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 20, 2018 at 1:40 PM

  5. The grandeur of nature – at its best.

    Pairodox Farm

    October 20, 2018 at 4:28 PM

  6. Awe inspiring


    October 20, 2018 at 5:41 PM

  7. This is such a striking image of the passing of time.


    October 20, 2018 at 5:43 PM

    • It is, even if we can’t really conceive of the aeons it took for the canyon to form.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 20, 2018 at 9:15 PM

      • It’s part of the power of the canyon and of your photograph. This is why previously I spent time painting birds. As living dinosaurs, for me, they are icons of deep time which we can barely grasp.


        October 21, 2018 at 2:26 AM

        • At the same time—oh, that play on words—we readily grasp the passage of time in our own bodies and minds.

          Steve Schwartzman

          October 21, 2018 at 6:13 AM

  8. Yet apparently time as we experience it is an illusion, in physics


    October 21, 2018 at 6:17 AM

  9. One can, never, ever, take too many looks at, and photos of, this grandiose canyon.


    October 21, 2018 at 6:14 PM

    • Grand and grander. I was sorry not to be able to see the canyon from its north rim, which was closed.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 21, 2018 at 10:06 PM

      • We saw it from the North Rim during our first visit, almost 30 years ago, but we did not have enough time to explore. I would love to return there and spend a few days camping and hiking.


        October 22, 2018 at 3:30 PM

  10. We visited the Grand Canyon in December for two days a few years ago and had our own “two views of the Grand Canyon”. The first day the weather was lovely and we had blue skies. Overnight a snowstorm rolled in (we were camping here by the way) and we woke up to a thick layer of snow outside. It was a pretty cool to view the Grand Canyon with and without some snow.


    October 22, 2018 at 8:59 AM

    • You sound like hardier souls than we are, at least when it comes to camping out in the cold. No question, though, that snow was a literally cool way to see the Grand Canyon.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 22, 2018 at 4:23 PM

  11. Stunning Steve … one day I’ll get there!


    October 26, 2018 at 3:20 PM

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