Early and Late Photography at Zion - A shuttle Question

Discussion in 'Travel' started by charles_clark|1, Apr 7, 2012.

  1. I am heading to Zion the first week of May. Unfortunately, the mandatory shuttle buses will be running by then. My question is what others do to shoot early (before the buses run) and shoot late (after dark). I have thought I would park at the visitor's center and hike for the pre-shuttle shots.
  2. SCL


    I believe you can get an early/late special pass....check in advance though as if they offer them, they may be in limited supply.
  3. My experience is with early - for sunrise shots a couple of years ago, I was allowed to drive up the canyon in my truck and park at a convenient location. It is my understanding that the shuttle runs well into the evening, in the range of 1030 to 1100 PM.
  4. The place will get crowded, so busses are for benefit of all.
    You can shoot all day long there, with sun light changing directions.
    Make sure you have wide angle lenses.
  5. david_henderson

    david_henderson www.photography001.com

    It's a few years since I was at Zion, but it was after the shuttles started. There's a main road that runs through the Park- route 9- which crosses the Virgin River a little to the north of the visitor centre, and the relatively minor road that follows the river north leaves the main road near the bridge. Its that small road that is subject to traffic restriction and served by the bus. This means that the views from the back of the old centre, the views west from the switchbacks along the road leading up to the Mesa area, the sunset view from the bridge south to the Watchman, and indeed the Mesa area itself are unaffected by shuttles. Unless you want to do some strenuous walking in the dark, I'm not sure there's much to be gained by getting into the shuttle-bus area for daybreak. The valley is narrow and it takes the sun a while to get far enough into the canyon to create a decent picture.
  6. Addendum to last post: my wife and I were in Zion last weekend. The shuttles system was not running yet, probably due to budget limits. Spring break way under way in neighboring states, and the park was jammed. Heavy road traffic, no parking anywhere. It really showed the value of the shuttles.
    Still, the shuttle system doesn't run early enough for being in position for sunrise shots, but runs late enough to accommodate sunset shots.
  7. All,
    Thanks for the info. I have written the park rangers to get their input. I'll let you know what I hear back from them.
  8. I was in Zion last May and found no problems with getting where I needed to be for the early morning shots. I parked at the visitor center just outside the park - from there it is a short and easy 5 minute walk to get into position for the Towers of the Virgins at dawn. I went there first and then down to Court of the Patriarhcs - I believe I used the shuttle for this but may have walked.
    I was very skeptical last year about the shuttle system but actually found it to be a great benefit not having to drive from location to location and try to park.
    I'm not sure if you've photographed in Zion before, but I would HIGHLY recommend a graduated neutral density filter, as the contrast between peaks and valley is striking. last year I did not have one and did not do a good job of bracketing my images, so most did not turn out especially good. I am actually heading to that area again this year for a short time and hope to do a better job of capturing the beauty there!

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