Desert Sunrise at Horseshoe Bend

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The Colorado River shows off its masterful sculpting skills here at Horseshoe Bend, Arizona, at sunrise.

I could not help photographing Horseshoe Bend on my drive across the country. Even though I am typically drawn to lesser-known places, I’ve always wanted to photograph this one. It is quite simply one of the most awesome places on the continent. When I arrived, well before sunrise, my first goal was to acquaint myself with the landscape as quickly as possible, and discover which emotions I wanted to take away in my camera. Not surprisingly, the overwhelming sensation is one of vertigo. I spent considerable time looking for a composition which best suited this feeling (while not putting my life in danger – don’t worry, mom). I found this surprisingly-seldom-photographed vantage from which it feels like you are about to fall right into the canyon. From there, all I had to do was wait. It seemed like the cloud cover would remain, and my one chance at sunrise here would to be a dud. But as the sun rose in the sky, it became just strong enough to pierce through the sandy clouds and cast an eerily even red glow over the entire canyon as well as the Colorado River itself. It was a truly inspiring sight.

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Purchase “Desert Sunrise over Horseshoe Bend” Fine Art Print: