Bryce Canyon Landscape Photography: A Work of Art

Written by Robert Lowdon

Robert Lowdon is an internationally published commercial photographer based out of Toronto, Canada. He spends his time photographing architecture and industrial projects for the most part.

Published November 28, 2018

The sun sets across Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon National Park is a photographer’s paradise. The hoodoos, red rocks, and natural beauty create a landscape that is unrivaled in its uniqueness. As a result, many photographers flock to this iconic destination to capture its magic.

Bryce Canyon is probably one of the most amazing places you could ever see. Located in Southern Utah, the canyon is a sea of colors. This landscape photograph captures the amazing beauty of the region.

Some places in this world change you as a human being. They change your outlook on the world as it is, the purpose of this whole thing we call life. Bryce Canyon is one of those places. It stuns you with the beauty of the natural environment. It moves you. It makes you a better landscape photographer.

Bryce Canyon National Park

is an American national park located in southwestern Utah. The major feature of the park is Bryce Canyon, which despite its name, is not a canyon, but a collection of giant natural amphitheaters along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau.

Bryce Canyon was originally named after Ebenezer Bryce, who homesteaded in the area in 1874. The local Mormon settlers called it “Bryce’s Canyon” and later, simply “Bryce Canyon”. It became a national monument in 1923 and was redesignated as a national park on August 28, 1928.

The park covers 35 square miles (91 km2) and receives relatively few visitors compared to Zion National Park and the Grand Canyon, largely due to its remote location. However, Bryce Canyon receives more visitors than Capitol Reef National Park and Cedar Breaks National Monument.

Bryce Canyon is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Utah. It is located on the Colorado Plateau, which is part of the larger Intermountain West region. It is about 50 miles (80 km) southwest of Zion National Park and 80 miles (130 km) northeast of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

The plateau atop which Bryce Canyon is located is a geologic wonderland, with a rich and complex history. The rocks of the area are some of the oldest on Earth, dating back more than 150 million years. Bryce Canyon is unique in that it is not a canyon carved by water, but rather by wind and rain.

The erosional force of wind and rain has created one of the most amazing landscapes on Earth. The hoodoos, fins, and other rock formations of Bryce Canyon are world-renowned.

Bryce Canyon is also home to a variety of wildlife, including mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep, pronghorn antelope, and coyotes. The park is also home to many bird species, including the canyon wren, the American dipper, and the peregrine falcon.

Bryce Canyon National Park is open all year round, but the best time to visit is between April and October. The park receives an average of 1 million visitors each year.

Stars become visible over bryce canyon © robert lowdon
Stars become visible over bryce canyon © robert lowdon

As a photographer, I am really only searching for one image a lot of the times. Something that I feel shows my own unique take on the subject, the land, the sky, the rocks. That image for me is the first image at the top of the page.

In the photograph of Bryce Canyon directly above you can see the canyon at night. This was an exposure that lasted minutes but gives a unique view of the canyon that is not always seen as readily.

I strive to be different in my photographic work, and carry a different perspective into my images. Sometimes, it is not always understood by everyone, but that is just fine with me. In the photos below I am going to share some of my favorites from the park.

The sun washes across bryce canyon causing deep shadows. © robert lowdon
The sun washes across bryce canyon causing deep shadows. © robert lowdon

I don’t talk enough about the shear amount of effort that goes in to my work. The time planning, financing the trip and more culminating into a split second. Conversely, this series had to be taken in only day.

You see the day before I was in Kings Canyon National park. Some people might think wow a day of work that doesn’t sound too bad. Well, the thing is these trips take a year to plan. I have to research all the locations, plan the travel etc. A lot of it is constantly studying other photographers work, and seeing what I would do differently. I research, plan and execute.

The pressure is a lot, I have one day to pull this off that’s it. Then you add driving all night, sleeping in a tent, scouting all day and being in place for one shot at sunset that might not even work out. Then you are running to another location as fast as possible. You wrap it up at dark, and move on to the next place. Wake up for 3 am.

The unique rock formations of bryce canyon. © robert lowdon
The unique rock formations of bryce canyon. © robert lowdon

Thing is, is that photography is hard, but it can be fun and rewarding. It is a challenging profession. Everything is though, hard work is hard work. I love it most days. Who else could say that this is their office?

A view down the cliff. © robert lowdon
A view down the cliff. © robert lowdon

After sunset the rocks really start to glow with a pink, orange color that makes them so distinctive. The Utah landscape is like that. The state is so colorful in the southern half, that there just is anything like it anywhere else in the world.

After sunset in bryce canyon national park. © robert lowdon
After sunset in bryce canyon national park. © robert lowdon

I really wanted to capture the size of the canyon in some of the photographs of Bryce Canyon. It was easier to do a tight shot, but I didn’t really show how freaking big the thing is. It is funny, I think a lot of my work is really just about make things look big. I want the image to almost hit the viewer in some degree, maybe a little confrontational.

Hikers travel deep into bryce canyon © robert lowdon
Hikers travel deep into bryce canyon © robert lowdon

During the day, I took a bit of a hike down through the rock to the bottom of Bryce Canyon. Getting down was really easy, getting back up with 50 pounds of gear on my back not so much. Of course, this was nowhere near as tough as Carlsbad Caverns.

Two hikers walk through a narrowing cavern in bryce canyon national park. © robert lowdon
Two hikers walk through a narrowing cavern in bryce canyon national park. © robert lowdon

At Bryce, you just seem so much closer to the rock formations compared to other parks. This probably because they are right over your head at certain points.

Later in the evening as the stars become visible over bryce canyon. © robert lowdon
Later in the evening as the stars become visible over bryce canyon. © robert lowdon

Bryce Canyon National Park is wonderful. The hoodoos, red rocks, and natural beauty create a landscape that is unrivaled in its uniqueness. As a result, many photographers flock to this iconic destination to capture its magic. Some places in this world change you as a human being. They change your outlook on the world as it is, the purpose of this whole thing we call life. Bryce Canyon is one of those places. It stuns you with the beauty of the natural environment. It moves you. It makes you a better landscape photographer.

If you’re looking to capture some truly amazing and unique landscapes, Bryce Canyon National Park is the place for you. From the hoodoos to the orange rocks, there is no shortage of photographic opportunities. So get out there and start exploring!

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