Change of Plans

(© Joseph Rossbach) Two years ago I found myself in Zion National Park in the spring. I had a couple of days to kill before having to be over in Page, Arizona to begin a photo workshop, and in the meantime I had big plans to shoot images in Zion I had pre visualized and researched while waiting out the winter back home in my office. On the first evening of my trip, I hiked out to a location up on Checkerboard Mesa to a set of hoodoos I scouted the previous fall. The conditions looked very promising with some nice clouds and a clear sky to the west. So I sat down on the slick rock and had a late lunch while watching the sky and waiting for sunset. About an hour in the clouds totally blew out to the east leaving me with a very uninspiring situation. I was bummed and half tempted to pack it in for the day and head back to camp for a good rest after a long day of flying and driving.

As I walked back down to the car I noticed those clouds still hanging off to the east. There was literally nothing to shoot between where I was and Coral Pink Sand Dunes, a 30  minute drive away. I weighed the possibilities in my mind. Ok, I thought to myself, I can haul ass over to Coral Pink and huff and puff it out across the dunes with maybe enough time to find a composition before the light is gone, or I could drive back into Springdale, get dinner with more than enough time to settle down for a long and much needed nights sleep. Who needs rest when the potential of a great shots hangs in the balance, right? Right!

So with that in mind I drove over to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park. On the way I managed to get pulled over by a cop that looked like he was no more than 18 years old, talked my way out of a ticket while cursing my luck and the fact that my traffic infraction will probably cost me any chances I might have had of getting the “shot”. At any rate I made, and just in time. I hiked out across the dune field with just enough time to literally pull of two shots before the sun dropped below the cliffs to the west and the light show was over. I guess the lesson here is to not settle for easy but rather work hard and you might just be rewarded with the image you didn’t realize you were even chasing in the first place.