Location: Bryce Canyon (Winter)

Inspiration Point at Sunset, Bryce Canyon National Park


After exhausting our options in the Grand Canyon, my friend, Beck, and I decided to head up to Bryce Canyon. I have been wanting to get back to Bryce since I had a micro short stay almost two years ago. Winter in Bryce creates a great contrast between the snow and red rock hoodoos, but it can come at a price. I thought the Grand Canyon was cold, but I had no idea how cold it could get in Bryce. At one point my iPhone weather app said -13 degrees F! Not much you can do before your mind and body become lethargic and wonder why the crap you’re standing on the edge of a cliff in this insanely cold weather. Sometimes I got so enthralled in the photo taking that I forgot I should probably put my gloves back on or risk frost bite. The reality sets in after I’ve gotten back in the warm car and the feeling in my fingers and toes comes back with a vengeance. Bryce in the winter really is unbelievably beautiful. If you can fight the cold it is well worth a visit.
Sunrise at Sunset Point, Bryce Canyon National Park
First light on Bryce Canyon’s hoodoos in winter at Sunset Point.
Sunrise at Sunset Point, Bryce Canyon National Park
Swamp Canyon just after Sunset, Bryce Canyon National Park
Inspiration Point sunset panorama, Bryce Canyon National Park


Some tips for shooting in cold weather:
  1. Batteries are the first thing to go when it’s cold. Have a spare or two and keep them in a pocket with a hand warmer wrapped around it. I’ve even seen some photographers place a hand warmer on the outside of the camera and attach it with a rubber band.
  2. Keep your hands warm. I struggle with this myself, mostly because I don’t have the proper gear, but my hands are the first thing that get cold. I need my hands to work the small buttons on the camera, adjust the ball-head or focus the lens, but with thick gloves it can be awkward. Most of the time I just take a glove off to make a quick adjustment and fumble through the rest with my gloves on. A shutter release cable makes it easier to find the shutter button with gloves. Hand warmers are also good to keep in your pockets or stick inside the glove for that extra bit of warmth.
  3. Watch your breath. Condensation will build up on anything close to your airway and in freezing temperatures it will immediately turn to ice. Not so fun when your filters or front element of your lens gets covered in ice. I should also note that care should be taken when changing lenses in freezing temperature. I’m not always the best at keeping to this, but it’s something to consider.
  4. Bundle up and layer. Come prepared to face the elements with the proper gear. A light jacket and sneakers aren’t gonna cut it. And don’t forget a beanie.
  5. Last but not least, have fun! Shooting in freezing temperatures is challenging, but there is a certain satisfaction that comes from enduring these conditions and coming away with lasting imagery.

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