Winter at Grand Canyon: a breathtaking thick layer of snow.
“Flexible Under Pressure.” What? Snow at the Grand Canyon has hidden the view? Now what? Bend in a new direction! It’s time to adapt.
“There’s just something beautiful about walking on snow nobody else has walked on. It makes you believe you’re special.”–Carol Ricks Brunt
“White-out.” We aren’t talking about the “White-Out” we used when typing…remember that stuff? This white-out meant all I could see out of my lens was nothingness. I tried to find something to show the canyon in snow. Was I disappointed? Well, momentarily, yes. But there is something to discover in the beauty of the thick layers of snow at the Grand Canyon. Time to explore! Photo by Bill Marson.
Exploring winter at the Grand Canyon.
But is it a complete disappointment if you can’t see the canyon?
On a clear day, it still is a struggle to see the historic suspension bridge that crosses the Colorado River. But a long zoom lens helps. I took this shot the day before the storm hit. What a contrast! The next day, there was nothing to see but white fog and clouds.
Like your stories served with goosebumps?
What does winter at the Grand Canyon look like?
A big change: snow at Grand Canyon.
What does it look like at the rim with snow falling? There’s little visibility, as you can witness in this video short. I was mesmerized by how the wind carried the snowflakes deep into the canyon below. It seemed as though there was a magnet drawing them downward. If you bundle up, a visit during winter at the Grand Canyon gives you a different perspective that is stunning in its simplicity.
“Kaibab Trail.” If you’ve hiked the Grand Canyon, there’s a good chance you’ve been on the Kaibab Trail. You can see the trail on the lower right side of this photo and how it winds through the canyon walls. What a different vantage during winter at Grand Canyon.
“The Squall Approaches.” The rim looked like a Christmas postcard, but that storm cloud was moving in and swallowing what we could see of the North Rim and the depths of the Grand Canyon.
“Twisted.” When I’m in a situation where what I expected to shoot isn’t working well, I try to think of another way to portray the scene. With the sky white, I isolated some gnarly trees hanging onto life at the rim’s edge, making a fun abstract impressionistic photo.
Could we wait out a winter storm at the Grand Canyon?
Would the clouds break up enough to light up the depths of the canyon?
“Get What You Can.” Winter at the Grand Canyon means you may have to run if you want to capture the shot. Weather moves fast, and visibility changes in an instant. This photo of Bill is from a few minutes before he took the photo of me looking out into a monochrome white scene. That’s when we made the decision to head into the forest away from the rim.
Would the storm pass for us?
Time for flexibility and a change of plans.
“To appreciate the beauty of a snowflake, it is necessary to stand out in the cold.”–Aristotle
“Art in Motion.” Taking my impressionistic image of the forest covered in a thick quilt of snow, I added the feeling of snow falling softly along with a relaxing, gentle acoustic accompaniment.
Witnessing the storm’s start.
A study of snowfall in three seconds.
Beauty at the Grand Canyon extends out beyond the rim.
Especially with snow at the Grand Canyon.
Did I have expectations from a trip two years prior?
Abstract winter landscapes.
The forest in winter is not as asleep as it appears.
Photo by Bill Marson.
What a deep peace there is in accepting what is.
Like the simplicity of firstborn snow.
Make room for art.
“White-Tailed Ptarmigan.” The Internet says there’s only one bird on our planet that turns from brown to white in the winter. And when I created this photo with intentional motion, the feeling of white feathers was my first reaction. Besides, my mom always wanted to see a ptarmigan, and maybe from where she’s at, she’s smiling.
“Unfilled.” I am attracted to this setting in winter because of what it represents. Liminal space is described as a space between what is and what will happen next. We recognize dramatically the transition from summer to winter here, from a full amphitheater to unfilled rows of seats; symbolically, this scene can represent shifts in thinking or transitions.
“Undaunted.” This minimalistic black-and-white image is another of my intentional camera motion shots. I wanted to show how these Ponderosa pines stand and take it. The wind in the night was relentless, smacking the tree trunks with blowing snow. And yet, they take it undaunted.
“Twisted.” Old gnarly trees are like mythical legends. As I admired these trees living on a rocky ledge, I slowly moved my camera. The ghost-like limbs gave the sense of wind gusts. There was color in the trunk, from the greens of lichen growing on the dark sienna bark to the golden red of raw wood. Using a pointillism effect in post-processing gives the feeling that Seurat himself had been to the canyon in winter.
“Slow Motion.” Deep in the forest, with this thick accumulation of snow in the pine boughs, I felt like I’d stepped into a fairy tale. Snow was clinging to the trunks of trees, pulling the branches down, and piling up in drifts. The result of a slight movement of my camera increased the intensity of that snowy dream world.
“Intricate.” It is an intricate job to pull the car over safely to the side of the road while it is snowing. But I saw this Gambel oak with the most amazing network of branches outlined in snow. And it had to be done. Interestingly, this was the day the snow started, and going back to look at this tree after a night of intense snowfall, it had lost much of the definition of the branches due to the load of snow it was shouldering. If you see it, take the shot!
Which room is your favorite?
Let me know in the comments below. It’s fun to see what resonates with you. And I appreciate you wanting to see what I saw. Thank you!
Ann Newman is a photographer, writer, and creator of Annstracts who brings readers inspiration through her abstract photos. As a former, professionally-trained salesperson, Ann understands that people want to solve problems or accelerate growth for a better future. Exploring the little moments in life with gratitudes gives her art a positive spin. You might find Ann near her home in Phoenix, bent down looking at the tiniest details of a bug, patting any nearby dog, or asking “why” an awful lot.